Is Turkey The Real ISIS?

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By Brandon Turbeville

The Syrian crisis has just seen a drastic escalation in the potential for what could essentially turn into World War 3 with the Turkish military’s downing of a Russian jet over Syria under the guise of protecting Turkish airspace.

The Turks have argued that the Russian jet violated Turkish airspace, a claim which the Russians deny. While some evidence exists suggesting that the plane was indeed within Turkish airspace (only 9 seconds worth of traveling time if the coordinates are indeed correct), the Russian Defense Ministry has stated that “We are looking into the circumstances of the crash of the Russian jet. The Ministry of Defense would like to stress that the plane was over the Syrian territory throughout the flight.” At this point, the Russians are responding with cool and level heads. But, if the evidence available suggests that the jet was indeed safely within Syrian air space, it is unclear what repercussions face the Turks … but there will undoubtedly be repercussions.

Reports suggest that death squad fighters on the ground began firing at the soldiers on their way down, suggesting that the dead Russian soldier may have been killed before he ever reached the ground. The status of the other pilot is not yet confirmed but it is clear that the jihadists have either killed, captured, or are intent on doing both to him in the very near future.

Russian President Vladmir Putin has since labeled the downing of the jet as a “stab in the back by accomplices of terrorism” and that is exactly what it is.

Now, an emergency meeting of NATO has been called by Turkey. “The aim of this extraordinary NAC meeting is for Turkey to inform allies about the downing of a Russian airplane,” said Carmen Romero, NATO’s deputy spokesperson.

Turkey’s actions come as Russian and Syrian forces continue their march across Northern Syria and Aleppo and as terrorist targets in places like Raqqa are finally being destroyed from the air.

While the attack on the Russian jet shows, to some extent, the lengths to which NATO and particularly Turkey’s Erdogan will go to defend and support ISIS terrorists, we have now entered frightening new territory when NATO is willing to risk nuclear war over geopolitical interests and Neolithic savages in Syria.

Turkey’s Support For Terror

Turkey’s undying support for ISIS and other related terror organizations should also be given honorable mention in the discussion of the possibility of war between the Russian and NATO alliance since it was Turkey who has attempted to fire the first shot of World War 3. Turkey has long been known as one of the most fervent supporters of terror in Syria since the beginning of the crisis. It has consistently allowed its territory to be used as a staging ground for ISIS, Nusra, and others to enter Syria for the purpose of destroying the secular government of Bashar al-Assad.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed has recently summed up many (but certainly not all) of the Turks’ connection to ISIS in his recent article for Insurge Intelligence, “NATO Is Harbouring The Islamic State,” when he writes,

President Hollande wants European Union leaders to suspend the Schengen Agreement on open borders to allow dramatic restrictions on freedom of movement across Europe. He also demands the EU-wide adoption of the Passenger Name Records (PNR) system allowing intelligence services to meticulously track the travel patterns of Europeans, along with an extension of the state of emergency to at least three months.

Under the extension, French police can now block any website, put people under house arrest without trial, search homes without a warrant, and prevent suspects from meeting others deemed a threat.

Mass surveillance at home and endless military projection abroad are the twin sides of the same coin of national security, which must simply be maximized as much as possible.

Conspicuously missing from President Hollande’s decisive declaration of war however, was any mention of the biggest elephant in the room: state-sponsorship.

Syrian passports discovered near the bodies of two of the suspected Paris attackers, according to police sources, were fake, and likely forged in Turkey.

Earlier this year, the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported that “more than 100,000 fake Turkish passports” had been given to ISIS. Erdogan’s government, the newspaper added, “has been accused of supporting the terrorist organization by turning a blind eye to its militants crossing the border and even buying its oil… Based on a 2014 report, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said that ISIL terrorists fighting in Syria have also been claimed to have been treated in hospitals in Turkey.”

This barely scratches the surface. A senior Western official familiar with a large cache of intelligence obtained this summer told the Guardian that “direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIS members was now ‘undeniable.’”

The same official confirmed that Turkey, a longstanding member of NATO, is not just supporting ISIS, but also other jihadist groups, including Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. “The distinctions they draw [with other opposition groups] are thin indeed,” said the official. “There is no doubt at all that they militarily cooperate with both.”

In a rare insight into this brazen state-sponsorship of ISIS, a year ago Newsweek reported the testimony of a former ISIS communications technician, who had travelled to Syria to fight the regime of Bashir al-Assad.

The former ISIS fighter told Newsweek that Turkey was allowing ISIS trucks from Raqqa to cross the “border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February.” ISIS militants would freely travel “through Turkey in a convoy of trucks,” and stop “at safehouses along the way.”

The former ISIS communication technician also admitted that he would routinely “connect ISIS field captains and commanders from Syria with people in Turkey on innumerable occasions,” adding that “the people they talked to were Turkish officials… ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks.”

In January, authenticated official documents of the Turkish military were leaked online, showing that Turkey’s intelligence services had been caught in Adana by military officers transporting missiles, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition via truck “to the al-Qaeda terror organisation” in Syria.

There is no “self-sustaining economy” for ISIS, contrary to the fantasies of the Washington Post and Financial Times in their recent faux investigations, according to Martin Chulov of the Guardian. As a senior ISIS member recently revealed to him:

“They need the Turks. I know of a lot of cooperation and it scares me. I don’t see how Turkey can attack the organization too hard. There are shared interests.”

Meanwhile, NATO leaders feign outrage and learned liberal pundits continue to scratch their heads in bewilderment as to ISIS’ extraordinary resilience and inexorable expansion.

Some officials have spoken up about the paradox, but to no avail. Last year, Claudia Roth, deputy speaker of the German parliament, expressed shock that NATO is allowing Turkey to harbour an ISIS camp in Istanbul, facilitate weapons transfers to Islamist militants through its borders, and tacitly support IS oil sales.

Nothing happened.

Instead, Turkey has been amply rewarded for its alliance with the very same terror-state that wrought the Paris massacre on 13th November 2015. Just a month earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkeloffered to fast-track Turkey’s bid to join the EU, permitting visa-free travel to Europe for Turks.

In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in September 2014, General Martin Dempsey, then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked by Senator Lindsay Graham whether he knew of “any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL”?

General Dempsey replied:

“I know major Arab allies who fund them.

In other words, the most senior US military official at the time had confirmed that ISIS was being funded by the very same “major Arab allies” that had just joined the US-led anti-ISIS coalition.

These allies include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait in particular — which for the last four years at least have funneled billions of dollars largely to extremist rebels in Syria. No wonder that their anti-ISIS airstrikes, already miniscule, have now reduced almost to zero as they focus instead on bombing Shi’a Houthis in Yemen, which, incidentally, is paving the way for the rise of ISIS there.

ISIS, in other words, is state-sponsored — indeed, sponsored by purportedly Western-friendly regimes in the Muslim world, who are integral to the anti-ISIS coalition.

Which then begs the question as to why Hollande and other Western leaders expressing their determination to “destroy” ISIS using all means necessary, would prefer to avoid the most significant factor of all: the material infrastructure of ISIS’ emergence in the context of ongoing Gulf and Turkish state support for Islamist militancy in the region.

There are many explanations, but one perhaps stands out: the West’s abject dependence on terror-toting Muslim regimes, largely to maintain access to Middle East, Mediterranean and Central Asian oil and gas resources.

Tony Cartalucci has also written extensively about Turkish connections to ISIS such as in his article “Implausible Deniability: West’s ISIS Terror Hordes In Iraq,”

Beginning in 2011 – and actually even as early as 2007 – the United States has been arming, funding, and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and a myriad of armed terrorist organizations to overthrow the government of Syria, fight Hezbollah in Lebanon, and undermine the power and influence of Iran, which of course includes any other government or group in the MENA region friendly toward Tehran.

Billions in cash have been funneled into the hands of terrorist groups including Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and what is now being called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” or ISIS. One can see clearly by any map of ISIS held territory that it butts up directly against Turkey’s borders with defined corridors ISIS uses to invade southward – this is because it is precisely from NATO territory this terrorist scourge originated.

ISIS was harbored on NATO territory, armed and funded by US CIA agents with cash and weapons brought in from the Saudis, Qataris, and NATO members themselves. The “non-lethal aid” the US and British sent including the vehicles we now see ISIS driving around in.

Cartalucci states in a separate article, “NATO’s Terror Hordes In Iraq A Pretext For Syria Invasion,”

In actuality, ISIS is the product of a joint NATO-GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] conspiracy stretching back as far as 2007 where US-Saudi policymakers sought to ignite a region-wide sectarian war to purge the Middle East of Iran’s arch of influence stretching from its borders, across Syria and Iraq, and as far west as Lebanon and the coast of the Mediterranean. ISIS has been harbored, trained, armed, and extensively funded by a coalition of NATO and Persian Gulf states within Turkey’s (NATO territory) borders and has launched invasions into northern Syria with, at times, both Turkish artillery and air cover. The most recent example of this was the cross-border invasion by Al Qaeda into Kasab village, Latakia province in northwest Syria.

Cartalucci was referring to a cross-border invasion that was coordinated with NATO, Turkey, Israel, and the death squads where Israel acted as air force cover while Turkey facilitated the death squad invasion from inside its own borders.

Keep in mind also that, prior to the rapid appearance and seizure of territory by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, European media outlets like Der Spiegel reported that hundreds of fighters were being trained in Jordan by Western intelligence and military personnel for the purpose of deployment in Syria to fight against Assad. The numbers were said to be expected to reach about 10,000 fighters when the reports were issued in March, 2013. Although Western and European media outlets would try to spin the operation as the training of “moderate rebels,” subsequent reports revealed that these fighters were actually ISIS fighters. Those fighters were ultimately funneled into Syria via Turkey.

In addition, on October 2, 2014, Turkey’s parliament passed a resolution to allow the Turkish military to enter the sovereign territory of Iraq and Syria under the pretext of battling Western-backed IS militants.

The resolution also allowed foreign troops to use Turkish territory for the same purpose suggesting that the Incirlik air base may soon be used by the United States for its airstrikes against Syria. Only recently, it was reported by Turkish media that a formal agreement was reached between the United States and Turkey for the use of Incirlik in the faux American campaign against ISIS.

The vote on the resolution regarding foreign troops on Turkish soil (to be used in Syria) was 298 in favor of the motion and 98 opposed.

Turkey’s Real Enemy – The Assad Government

Despite its claims that the vote was centered around defeating ISIS on its borders, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, perhaps inadvertently, admitted that the real target of NATO aggression is the Syrian government.

As the BBC reports,

Speaking in parliament earlier on Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the West to find a long-term solution to the crises in Syria and Iraq, pointing out that dropping “tonnes of bombs” on IS militants would only provide a temporary respite.

While he said “an effective struggle” against IS would be a priority for Turkey, “the immediate removal of the administration in Damascus” would also continue to be its priority.

Erdogan also called for a “buffer zone” on the Turkey/Syria border – which would be enforced by a no-fly zone – to “ensure security.”

Turkey has also been front and center in the promotion of Uyghur terrorism in both Syria and Asia as well as other locations. Turkey has repeatedly violated Syrian territory and engaged in “limited” military action against the Syrian military in support of ISIS terrorists and jihadist connected to some of the hundreds of smaller groups and factions.

Turkey has long advocated for a “No-Fly Zone” over Syria. A buffer zone, of course, has been part of the NATO agenda against Syria since the beginning of the Western-controlled crisis in the country. Remember, it was under the guise of a humanitarian corridor or buffer zone in Libya, that NATO bombing took place which ultimately led to the destruction of the Libyan government, the murder of Ghaddaffi, and the subsequent expansion of chaos, anarchy, and genocide across the entire North African country.

Turkey, Brookings, and the “Safe Zone”

Indeed, public discussion of the implementation of a “buffer zone” began as far back as 2012 when the Brookings Institution, in their memo “Assessing Options For Regime Change” stated

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.

The Brookings Institution went further, however, describing a possible scenario that mirrors the one currently unfolding in Syria where Turkey, in coordination with Israel, could help overthrow Assad by establishing a “multi-front war” on Syria’s borders. Brookings writes,

In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.

As Tony Cartalucci commented in his own article “Turkey Preparing For Syria Occupation?

Of course, with US airstrikes carving out a vacuum soon to be filled with extremists uncontested by the Syrian Arab Army forced to back off in fear of provoking further Western aggression, the situation will undoubtedly “deteriorate.” Just as Turkey staged false flag operations along its border last year in attempts to trigger a war with Syria directly, and by supporting terrorists resulting in a predictable humanitarian catastrophe now spilling over into Turkey’ territory, the vacuum the US is intentionally creating is meant to be filled with terrorist mercenaries and NATO forces to protect them as the front is inched ever closer to Damascus in the form of a “buffer zone.”

Clearly, the Turkish agenda is not focused on combating ISIS. If it was, the Turks would have long ago sealed their borders with Syria as well as ceased their training and facilitation of terrorist groups flowing into Syria from Turkish territory.

The Turks do not need NATO Buffer Zones to end terrorism within their own country. They need to seal the borders with Syria, immediately cease funding, training, and facilitation of terrorists operating inside Turkish borders alongside a massive sting operation netting and eliminating these organizations. Turkey would also greatly benefit by backing away from Erdogan, his idiotic policies, and his equally idiotic Islamist government. Turkey must put aside “political Islam” and return to a culture of secular governance. Lastly, Turkey must pursue a reasonable and fair policy toward the Kurds in its Southeast.

Of course, Turkey has sent every signal possible to announce that they intend to stick with the NATO line of destroying the secular government of Bashar al-Assad and replacing it with a government or governments beholden and favorable to Washington and the Anglo-American oligarchy.

Obviously, a “buffer zone” and/or a “no-fly zone,” is tantamount to war and an open military assault against the sovereign secular government of Syria because the implementation of such a zone would require airstrikes against Assad’s air defense systems.

With the establishment of this “buffer zone,” a new staging ground will be opened that allows terrorists such as ISIS and others the ability to conduct attacks even deeper inside Syria.

The Context Of The Russian Jet Incident

Turkey’s most recent actions come as Russian and Syrian forces continue their march across Northern Syria and Aleppo and as terrorist targets in places like Raqqa are finally being destroyed from the air. The SAA is currently poised to cut off a major supply route of ISIS near Kassab in the form of the M4 Highway. According to sources close to some reports, “the access of Turkish military and terrorists to Latakia province is now 100% dependent on the M4 [highway] and from there to minor roads. Should the terrorist defenses collapse on all positions north of M4, which is not very far from happening, then the Syrian Army will have artillery control over M4 and the terrorist rebel rats inside Latakia province will be doomed.”

If NATO does not respond soon, it will be the end for the geopolitical plans of the Anglo-Americans and the end for their trained terrorist monkeys who have raped and beheaded their way across the Middle East.

Thus, NATO is indeed responding by attempting to call Russia’s bluff, an incredibly dangerous and stupid move, and either bully the Russians out of Syria or risk a direct confrontation with them in the process.

While Russia does not appear willing to rush headlong into World War 3 just yet, the question remains how far NATO will escalate the situation before Russia has no alternative.

Image Credit

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST atUCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

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The West fights ISIS? Have a “SWIFT” Look!

November 29, 2015

by Stefan Heue

“Master! The pain is great. / I called the ghosts / I will now not get rid of.”
(J.W. von Goethe: “The wizard’s trainee”, 1827)

The West claims it was seeking to finally destroy ISIS, to “fight terrorism”, as the NATO-propaganda (over here called “free press”) is constantly feeding us. Proven by facts, nothing is more false than this.

Obviously the West aims to achieve full control over their assets, their puppets – the group which in the west is known as “ISIS” while in the arab world the group is called by the name “DAESH”. The West’s goal seems to be the containment of ISIS in the east of Syria and west of Iraq. Obviously, containing ISIS is not exactly the same as destroying ISIS, this should be pretty clear. Why does the West want to contain and not destroy ISIS? Short answer: the West is not that stupid to exterminate its assets.

Considered under the pretext of “fighting terrorism”, the results of the US-led coalition’s “fight against ISIS” are disastrous – for Syria: By bombing schools, hospitals, bridges, factories, power plants, water-pumping stations, densely populated residential areas while ‘accidentially’ dropping tons of weapons to ISIS, the terror-gang was not defeated but grew, instead, fed by the USA, EU, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But what sank into rubble was the infrastructure of Syria and Iraq, and civilians had been killed (and are continously being killed) by those who claim to want an end to the war they have started.

Zezon Thermo-Power StationZezon Thermo-Power Station

Destroying Syrian infrastructue weakens the ability of the Syrian state to fullfil its tasks. Killing civilians increases the despair and fear of the people and eventually weakens their ability to lead normal lives, so that many of them leave Syria to find security elsewhere – this is the planned “brain drain” which sees Europe’s big companies as its profiteers.

In the end the US and its allies bombed Syrians for ISIS and dropped weapons to ISIS, simultaneously. According to western propaganda, this was not intended, so a clear mind would ask why it has been done, then. Regarding the plot behind, it was and is no failiure at all. This situation is the very result that had to be acieved by the west to divide Syria from Iraq and to undermine Syrian-Iraqi and Iranian partnership and cooperation. The west simply wants to cut the fertile crescent into 2 parts with a fat, aggressive entity inbetween, driving a wedge between Syria and Iraq. This entity is ISIS / Daesh. Or the “Islamic State” (IS). We already thought we would not need any further evidence for the western, turkish, saudi and qatari conspiracy with ISIS when the head of the turkish secret service came up and advised us to accept ISIS as a non-defeatable reality and to stop Rusia from exterminating Daesh / ISIS / ISIL / IS…

So, why do the UK and France now head to bomb ISIS? And why is Germany signalling to join the western “coalition”, whilst it is ongoingly funding ISIS by buying the stolen syrian oil? The outcome, most presumably, will be the usual: far too many bombs, far too many civilian casualties (or “collateral damages” in NATO-Orwellian newspeak), far too much destruction, chaos and despair – but far too few results that would positively count.

If we assume that there was a western wish to only contain ISIS, which seems to be the most logical explanation for the western actions, this also means that there is infact no interest to end its existence.

In order to appropriatly accuse the west of using ISIS as a tool for neo-colonial aims, we have to give evidence to prove our accusations as being subtantial.

And there are tons of evidences of military support for ISIS. But one fact has not yet been that viral: the support of ISIS by allowing ISIS to use “SWIFT“.

image- SWIFT - LogoSWIFT Logo

What is SWIFT?

SWIFT describes itself as “the global provider of secure financial messaging service.

SWIFT about SWIFT: “SWIFT is a member-owned cooperative through which the financial world conducts its business operations with speed, certainty and confidence. More than 10,800 financial institutions and corporations in over 200 countries trust us every day to exchange millions of standardised financial messages. This activity involves the secure exchange of proprietary data while ensuring its confidentiality and integrity.

Our role is two-fold. We provide the proprietary communications platform, products and services that allow our customers to connect and exchange financial information securely and reliably. We also act as the catalyst that brings the financial community together to work collaboratively to shape market practice, define standards and consider solutions to issues of mutual interest.

SWIFT enables its customers to automate and standardise financial transactions, thereby lowering costs, reducing operational risk and eliminating inefficiencies from their operations. By using SWIFT customers can also create new business opportunities and revenue streams.”
(Source: https://www.swift.com/about_swift/company_information/company_information)

Just follow the money. If you look at the figures, you can see that SWIFT allocates the financial transaction messages of more than 200 nations and 11,075 live users, producing a total number of 526,683,026 messages in October 2015.
(Source: https://www.swift.com/assets/swift_com/documents/about_swift/SIF_201510.pdf)

Thanks to its well-organised oil-business with Turkey, Israel and the EU, ISIS is being said to make at around 1.5 million US-Dollars per day. At least. Cutting off ISIS from the supply of money therefor is one choice amongst others in the war against this brutal bunch of killers. Ending SWIFT serving as the “catalyst” (SWIFT about SWIFT) between ISIS and its funders will end ISIS. A simple way, a good way, easy, quick and definite. It will not cost the precious life of any Syrian soldier to achieve it. It won’t destroy infrastructure. So, if we regard cutting off ISIS from its funders as a chance to get rid of this pest, the question arises: Why no one seriouly did this yet? I think, you already know the answer.

The West is interested in keeping ISIS as a tool to further destabilise Syria – this is proven by the statement of US- intel from 2012 when they found out that all “opposition” in Syria is not at all moderate but dominated by brutal wahhabi groups and that these wahhabi groups can be used as proxies far better than the phantom-army of “FSA”. Since fall 2014, the US-led coalition bombs anything in Syria except ISIS, and ISIS even gained more ground more power in this time. The US-army did not take out ISIS, which had been the proclaimed aim of all the bombings. The US-airforce had not been allowed to bomb these thugs ad the US spy-satelites did not manage to detct them driving around in sparkling new Toyota trucks at bright daylight in plain desert.

How can we insinuate that the west would take off ISIS from SWIFT, taking in consideration the proven western support for ISIS and the west’s geopolitical and economical interests – which are to get rid of souvereign nations and leaders and take over control of ressources?

As long as SWIFT still is in service for ISIS, no Western nation nor their regional buddies can really claim to be engaged in fighting ISIS. They are in fact terrorist masters and sponsors.

If you want to know why there is still ISIS-terror in Syria, just go for the money-flow. Just trace the SWIFT-line, a rat-line indeed.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Terrorists Acknowledge Heavy Losses in Aleppo

Local Editor

The Syrian Army units thwarted terrorists infiltration attempts in many areas across the country and destroyed their gatherings and fortifies, inflicting heavy losses upon them in personnel and equipment.

Hama

The army units clashed with armed terrorist organizations which tried to infiltrate into Maan town, destroying an armored vehicle and killing and injuring a number of their members a military source told SANA Monday.

Idleb

In the Idleb countryside, field sources said that an army unit targeted a terrorist organizations convoy of vehicles loaded with ammunition and equipment, which was moving towards al-Dana city, 36 km north of Idleb city, destroying a number of the vehicles with all weapons and ammunition onboard.

Homs

The Syrian Air Force targeted the gatherings and fortified positions of ISIL to the southwest of al-Qariatin city and the farms surrounding it in the far southeast countryside of Homs.

ISIL’s sites and vehicles with all terrorists and weapons inside them were destroyed during the airstrikes.

Aleppo

The Syrian army air force destroyed the ISIL terrorist organization’s headquarters and machinegun-equipped vehicles in the villages of Akolah, Rasm al-Abed, Hemeima big and Hemeima small, 40 km east of Aleppo city, the military source said.

Meanwhile, the Takfiri terrorist organizations acknowledged on their social media websites the killing of a number of their members, among them what it called “storming leader of special forces in Bab Amre battalion” Ali al-Daloub al-Fa’ouri and Amer al- Omar of the so-called Jaish al-Sunna, Jumaa al-Omar of the so-called Islamic Union ofAjnad al-Sham, and commander of al-Sham legion nicknamed al-Zaher Baibars al- Salmouni.

The Army’s air force carried out sorties against ISIL terrorist organizations’ dens in Hazazeh village and Deir Hafer 52 kilometers to the east of Aleppo.

The Air strikes destroyed vehicles and headquarters of terrorists with all arms and munitions inside.

Source: Agencies

30-11-2015 – 21:59 Last updated 30-11-2015 – 21:59

 

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Russian Warplanes Flew over Golan: ’Israel’ Wary of Possible Clashes

Local Editor

WarplaneAfter the Russian warplanes flew over the occupied Golan Heights, ‘Israel’ expressed its fears of any possible clash between the Russian and the Zionist air forces over the Syrian territories.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon acknowledged “that a Russian jet had flown over the Golan Heights recently, and that it returned back after it was warned by the Zionist fighters.

This Zionist fear was augmented after Turkey downed the Russian warplane over Latakia, driving the two area to be on the edge of a large scale confrontation.

The Zionist analysts also expressed their worries as Russia deployed the S-400 rocketry system in the Syrian province of Latakia, considering that this development must be taken into consideration in any possible war against Syria or Hezbollah.

Amos Gilad, the director of the political-security division in the Israeli Defense Ministry said, “Russian air force pilots at times over the Golan Heights.”

Gilad noted that the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and the Russian president Vladimir Putin set the main rules of coordination between the two sides.

Tel Aviv informed Moscow that attacking the Zionist entity and transmitting sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah are considered “red lines” with respect to ‘Israel’, he added.

Source: Al Manar TV

30-11-2015 – 16:49 Last updated 30-11-2015 – 16:49


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Syria: What Is to Be Done?

Michael Jabara CARLEY | 30.11.2015

Since I published an article on the crisis in Syria little less than two weeks ago, events have unfolded with breath-taking rapidity. On November 17 the Russian government announced that its Airbus 321 was destroyed over Egypt by a terrorist bomb. President Putin pleaded for the creation of a broad coalition to destroy the Islamic State (IS). He seemed to gain a little traction in the West, especially after the terrorist attack in Paris.

Western media published favourable comments. Politicians, especially in France, supported Putin’s appeal, none more important than French President François Hollande. Until now, Hollande has acted more like a nervous vassal of the United States than the leader of a proud, independent people. Is the French president trying to break free from his US suzerain?

The question was soon put to the test because on Tuesday, 24 November, Hollande flew to Washington to discuss the Middle East crisis with his boss President Barack Obama. On that same day two Turkish F-16 fighter planes came up behind a Russian SU-24 fighter bomber on a mission in northern Syria and shot it down. The Turkish government claimed the Russian fighter had flown over Turkish territory for 17 seconds and that Turkish pilots had warned their Russian counterparts ten times before firing. The Turkish claim unravelled almost as quickly as it was made.

In Moscow, that same day during a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Putin expressed cold outrage at Turkish action. It’s a «stab in the back», Putin said, «by terrorists’ accomplices». While Putin spoke in Moscow, a drama was playing out in northern Syria. The Russian pilots of the Su-24 had time to bail out of their burning plane. «Turkmen» Jihadis, who were operating in Syria near the Turkish border, shot dead one of the pilots, Lt. Colonel Oleg A. Peshkov, as he descended in his parachute. Let’s call the assassins Turks, for that is who they are or who they are working for. They are not Syrians. These Turkish Jihadis defiled the dead Russian’s corpse and showed it like a trophy to newsmen on the scene who seemed to be present as if by prior arrangement. «Allahu akbar», the brave Turks shouted to celebrate their killing. A photograph of the pilot’s body, redolent of the iconic photograph of Zoia Kosmodemianskaia, the young partisan girl, hanged by the Nazis in 1941, must have enraged Russians. Smug US officials and so-called journalists seemed to gloat over the Russian dead. In Washington Obama declared that Turkey «had the right to defend itself». How preposterous.

Meantime in northern Syria the Turks claimed to have killed the second pilot, though they did not show his corpse to the assembled journalists. Where was it? Putin surely knew whilst he was speaking to the press in Moscow that the second pilot had made it safely to the ground and taken cover in a contested area apparently between Syrian forces and the Turks. He was eventually rescued by Syrian special forces and brought to safety at the loss of a Russian marine.

Journalists interviewed the surviving pilot navigator at the Russian air base in Syria. We were never in Turkish territory, he declared, and there was no warning. We were ambushed from behind. We had no time to react before we were hit. The Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed the pilot’s story. The Turks bushwhacked the Russian plane over Syrian territory.

Putin later indicated that Russian defence authorities had informed their US counterparts of Russian flight plans so as to avoid any accidental confrontations. An American journalist, John Batchelor, then reported that he had heard from unnamed informed sources that the US government had forwarded the Russian information to Ankara, that the ambush was planned, and that US F-16s were in the air to back the Turks in case Russia sent up fighters against them. It has also since come to light that Turkey has repeatedly violated Syrian airspace to protect its Jihadi forces. When Putin declared that Russia had been «stabbed in the back», he was not talking only about Turkey, though he never mentioned Obama’s name.

The Turkish ambush on the Russian fighter jet was a premeditated act of war. Knowing this, of course, the Turks, like a bully’s chicken-hearted shill, ran to hide in the skirts of their NATO allies to discourage Russia from taking reprisals and risking world war. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan must have thought that by shooting down the Russian plane he could stop the talk by Hollande and others of an anti-IS alliance with Russia and prevent any reprisals from Moscow.

Has he succeeded? It does not seem so. Russia isimposing sweeping economic sanctions against Turkey. It has ordered a missile cruiser Moskva to move closer to the Syrian coast to provide air cover and it has demonstrably shipped S-400 missile anti-aircraft batteries to its airbase in northern Syria. These are the most advanced anti-aircraft missiles in the world. Keep away, the Russians have warned the Turks, or we will shoot you down. Russian fighter bombers have multiplied their air attacks on «Turkmen» targets in the area where Colonel Peshkov was killed. There will be no Russian pity for the Turks or for the Jihadis in northern Syria. Roads leading to and from Turkey are being bombed relentlessly to stop arms supplies into and oil shipments out of Syria. As if to send a message, Russian bombers hit targets two kilometres from the Turkish border. While Erdogan makes belligerentstatements and warns Russia against firing on Turkish jets in Syrian airspace, his generals have apparently ordered their F-16s to stay away from the Syrian border. The Russians, they must believe, are not just blowing smoke when they say they will shoot down any plane threatening their fighter jets in Syria. Erdogan seems to want to provoke a NATO-Russia war, prompting one retired US general to recomend that Turkey be kicked out of NATO.

Nor has Erdogan or Obama succeeded in stopping the momentum toward Franco-Russian cooperation. Much to US displeasure, Hollande went to Moscow two days after the Turkish ambush. Once out of Obama’s Washington spider web, Hollande appears to have manned up enough to agree with Putin on various measures to destroy the IS in Syria. Time will tell if Hollande means what he says. If he does, it will signal the end of French support for the Jihadist movement against the government of President Bashar al Assad, and an end also to French vassalage to the United States. It sounds too good to be true, but if a real Franco-Russian alliance develops, it may offer some hope for the future.

Success against IS obviously depends on much more than Franco-Russian cooperation. NATO is a big problem, amongst others. NATO is the bullwhip which the United States uses to keep Europe in line. Do Europeans want war with Russia, now the mainstay of the fight against IS in Syria, in order to support Turkey, a key IS ally? Do Europeans want to become IS allies in effect? Attacking Russia means weakening President Assad, now the main barrier against the IS in the Middle East. If IS takes Damascus, does anyone doubt that Lebanon or Jordan will not be the next to fall? And that would only be the beginning of the cauchemar. Will Europe wake up before it’s too late? A retired American general recommended expelling Turkey from NATO, where are the Europeans who recommend expelling the United States?

What is one to say about the behaviour of the US government? Obama is trying to hinder Russian intervention against IS in Syria. When Hollande was in Washington, Obama strong-armed him to stick to a hostile anti-Russian line. The US president appears to have backed the Turkish ambush of the Russian Su-24. If it is true that there were US F-16s in the air on 24 November to back up the Turks against possible Russian retaliation, it means that Obama is ready to go to the brink of war with Russia. Has he taken leave of his senses? Is his masculinity so much in doubt that he needs a war against Russia to prove he is a real man?

The United States is a de facto ally of the Jihadi movement in Syria, its year-long anti-IS bombing campaign to the contrary notwithstanding. Until the Russian intervention, the US bombing raids were a joke. American pilots apparently even now drop pamphlets to their Jihadi friends. Before the Russian intervention, the US never bombed the long lines of trucks carrying IS oil to Turkey, and never bombed the long columns of trucks crossing the open desert to attack Palmyra, still in IS hands. Will the American people ever wake up and understand what their government is doing in their name?

«Those who apply double standards when dealing with terrorists, using them to achieve their own political aims and engaging in unlawful business with them, are playing with fire», President Putin said on 26 November: «History shows that sooner or later such actions will backfire against those who abet criminals». President Assad likens them to scorpions who eventually sting the hands of their minders. In American parlance, it’s called «blowback».

Just how deep into evil’s pit is Obama willing to descend? Only the Europeans can discourage the apparent US will to war against Russia. They need to find the courage to say to Obama: «Mr President, you are out of your mind. Regain your sanity before it’s too late. IS is the enemy; Russia is our ally».

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian 

  

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Sayyed Nasrallah Phones Palestinian Martyr Qatanani’s Father: Zionists Outraged

Local Editor

QatananiHezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah phoned the Palestinian martyr Ashraqat al-Qatanani’s father to congratulate him on the martyrdom of his young daughter, what outraged the Zionist occupation authorities.

Qatanani, 16, was killed on November 22 when a Zionist settler rammed his car into her before a group of Israeli soldiers shot her dead at a checkpoint in northern West Bank.

The martyr’s father told Al-Manar that he was surprised by Sayyed Nasrallah’s phone call, adding that it outraged the Zionist authorities.

“Why did Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah call you? Here, we are Sunnites, not Shiites,” Ashrakat Qatanani’s father quoted the Israeli officer as Saying.

It is worth noting that despite her young age, martyr Qatanani used to express lofty views on the issues of freedom and resistance, specializing a great deal of her posts to reveal her love to Sayyed Nasrallah.

“I adore you; May Holy God keep you.”

“I am Hadi (Sayyed Nasrallah’s martyr son).”

Source: Al-Manar Website

30-11-2015 – 20:57 Last updated 30-11-2015 – 21:14 


 ‘She reminds me of my son’: Thus Nasralla tells father of Palestinian Martyr Ashraqat
 Nasrallah told the Martyr’s father that his daughter reminded the Lebanese Resisting leader of his son, Hadi, who was martyred in battle with IDF soldiers in Lebanon in 1997.

At the end of their phone call, Nasrallah asked if there was anything he could do for the family.

The father responded that he would be pleased if Nasrallah mentioned his daughter’s name during his next speech. 

The Hezbollah leader agreed to do so. 

 Yesterday, 22 November, soldiers shot and killed Ashraqat Qatnani, a 16-year-old Palestinian from Nablus, after she attempted to stab settlers at a hitchhiking post in the northern West Bank, close to Huwara checkpoint. According to media reports of the incident, Gershon Mesika, the former head of the Shomron Regional Council was in the vicinity and ran his car into Qatnani, after which she was shot to death by soldiers. Mesika told the council’s spokesperson in a video account (Hebrew only): 

 “I didn’t stop to think, I hit the gas and rammed into her, she fell down and then the soldiers came and continued shooting and neutralized her completely”. Mesika’s account clearly indicates that the soldiers shot Qatnani after she had already been hit by the car and was lying on the ground, posing no danger to anyone.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

israel is the main recipient of oil from the ISIS terrorists via Turkey

Raqqa’s Rockefellers: How Islamic State oil flows to Israel

Oil produced by the Islamic State group finances its bloodlust. But how is it extracted, transported and sold? Who is buying it, and how does it reach Israel? Oil produced from fields under the control of the Islamic State group is at the heart of a new investigation by al-Araby al-Jadeed. The black gold is extracted, transported and sold, providing the armed group with a vital financial lifeline.

But who buys it? Who finances the murderous brutality that has taken over swathes of Iraq and Syria? How does it get from the ground to the petrol tank, and who profits along the way?The Islamic State group uses millions of dollars in oil revenues to expand and manage vast areas under its control, home to around five million civilians.IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby’s investigation.The Islamic State group has told al-Araby that it did not intentionally sell oil to Israel, blaming agents along the route to international markets.Oil fieldsAll around IS-controlled oil fields in northern Iraq and eastern Syria, there are signs that read: “Photography is strictly forbidden – violators risk their safety.” They have been signed in the name of the IS group –

These oil fields are in production between seven and nine hours a day, from sunset to sunrise, while production is mostly supervised by the Iraqi workers and engineers who had previously been running operations, kept on in their jobs by IS after it captured the territory.

IS is heavily dependent on its oil revenues. Its other income, such as from donations and kidnap ransoms has slowly dwindled. Workers in IS oil fields and their families are well looked after, because they are very important to the group’s financial survival.

IS oil extraction capacity developed further in 2015 when it obtained hydraulic machines and electric pumps after taking control of the Allas and Ajeel oil fields near the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

The group also seized the equipment of a small Asian oil company that was developing an oil field close to the Iraqi city of Mosul before IS overran the area last June.

IS oil production in Syria is focused on the Conoco and al-Taim oil fields, west and northwest of Deir Ezzor, while in Iraq the group uses al-Najma and al-Qayara fields near Mosul. A number of smaller fields in both Iraq and Syria are used by the group for local energy needs.

According to estimates based on the number of oil tankers that leave Iraq, in addition to al-Araby‘s sources in the Turkish town of Sirnak on the border with Iraq, through which smuggled oil transits, IS is producing an average of 30,000 barrels a day from the Iraqi and Syrian oil fields it controls.

The export trek

Al-Araby
has obtained information about how IS smuggles oil from a colonel in the Iraqi Intelligence Services who we are keeping anonymous for his security.

The information was verified by Kurdish security officials, employees at the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, and an official at one of three oil companies that deal in IS-smuggled oil.

The Iraqi colonel, who along with US investigators is working on a way to stop terrorist finance streams, told al-Araby about the stages that the smuggled oil goes through from the points of extraction in Iraqi oil fields to its destination – notably including the port of Ashdod, Israel.

“After the oil is extracted and loaded, the oil tankers leave Nineveh province and head north to the city of Zakho, 88km north of Mosul,” the colonel said. Zakho is a Kurdish city in Iraqi Kurdistan, right on the border with Turkey.

“After IS oil lorries arrive in Zakho – normally 70 to 100 of them at a time – they are met by oil smuggling mafias, a mix of Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, in addition to some Turks and Iranians,” the colonel continued.

“The person in charge of the oil shipment sells the oil to the highest bidder,” the colonel added. Competition between organised gangs has reached fever pitch, and the assassination of mafia leaders has become commonplace.

The highest bidder pays between 10 and 25 percent of the oil’s value in cash – US dollars – and the remainder is paid later, according to the colonel.

The drivers hand over their vehicles to other drivers who carry permits and papers to cross the border into Turkey with the shipment, the Iraqi intelligence officer said. The original drivers are given empty lorries to drive back to IS-controlled areas.

According to the colonel, these transactions usually take place in a variety of locations on the outskirts of Zakho. The locations are agreed by phone.

Before crossing any borders, the mafias transfer the crude oil to privately owned rudimentary refineries, where the oil is heated and again loaded onto lorries to transfer them across the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing into Turkey.

The rudimentary refining, according to the colonel, is performed because Turkish authorities do not allow crude oil to cross the border if it is not licensed by the Iraqi government.

The initial refining stage is conducted to obtain documents that would pass the oil off as oil by-products, which are allowed through the border.

According to the intelligence officer, border officials receive large bribes from local Iraqi smuggling gangs and privately owned refineries.

Once in Turkey, the lorries continue to the town of Silopi, where the oil is delivered to a person who goes by the aliases of Dr Farid, Hajji Farid and Uncle Farid.

Uncle Farid is an Israeli-Greek dual national in his fifties. He is usually accompanied by two strong-built men in a black Jeep Cherokee. Because of the risk involved in taking a photo of Uncle Farid, a representative drawing was made of him.

An artists’ impression of Dr Farid (Uncle Farid), the Israeli-Greek oil broker

Once inside Turkey, IS oil is indistinguishable from oil sold by the Kurdistan Regional Government, as both are sold as “illegal”, “source unknown” or “unlicensed” oil.

The companies that buy the KRG oil also buy IS-smuggled oil, according to the colonel.

The route to Israel

After paying drivers, middlemen and bribes, IS’ profit is $15 to $18 a barrel. The group currently makes $19 million on average each month, according to the intelligence officer.

Uncle Farid owns a licensed import-export business that he uses to broker deals between the smuggling mafias that buy IS oil and the three oil companies that export the oil to Israel.

Al-Araby has the names of these companies and details of their illegal trades. One of these companies is also supported by a very high-profile Western official.

The companies compete to buy the smuggled oil and then transfer it to Israel through the Turkish ports of Mersin, Dortyol and Ceyhan, according to the colonel.

Al-Araby has discovered several brokers who work in the same business as Uncle Farid – but he remains the most influential and effective broker when it comes to marketing smuggled oil.

A paper written by marine engineers George Kioukstsolou and Dr Alec D Coutroubis at the University of Greenwich tracked the oil trade through Ceyhan port, and found some correlation between IS military successes and spikes in the oil output at the port.

In August, the Financial Times reported that Israel obtained up to 75 percent of its oil supplies from Iraqi Kurdistan. More than a third of such exports go through the port of Ceyhan.

Kioukstsolou told al-Araby al-Jadeed that this suggests corruption by middlemen and those at the lower end of the trade hierarchy – rather than institutional abuse by multinational businesses or governments.

According to a European official at an international oil company who met with al-Araby in a Gulf capital, Israel refines the oil only “once or twice” because it does not have advanced refineries. It exports the oil to Mediterranean countries – where the oil “gains a semi-legitimate status” – for $30 to $35 a barrel.

“The oil is sold within a day or two to a number of private companies, while the majority goes to an Italian refinery owned by one of the largest shareholders in an Italian football club [name removed] where the oil is refined and used locally,” added the European oil official.

“Israel has in one way or another become the main marketer of IS oil. Without them, most IS-produced oil would have remained going between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Even the three companies would not receive the oil if they did not have a buyer in Israel,” said the industry official.

According to him, most countries avoid dealing in this type of smuggled oil, despite its alluring price, due to legal implications and the war against the Islamic State group.

Delivery and payment

Al-Araby
has discovered that IS uses a variety of ways to receive payments for its smuggled oil – in a manner similar to other international criminal networks.

First, IS receives a cash payment worth 10 to 25 percent of the oil’s value upon sale to the criminal gangs operating around the Turkish border.

Second, payments from oil trading companies are deposited in a private Turkish bank account belonging to an anonymous Iraqi person, through someone such as Uncle Farid, and then transferred to Mosul and Raqqa, laundered through a number of currency exchange companies.

Third, oil payments are used to buy cars that are exported to Iraq, where they are sold by IS operatives in Baghdad and southern cities, and the funds transferred internally to the IS treasury.

IS responds

Hours before this investigation report was concluded, al-Araby was able to talk via Skype to someone close to IS in the self-acclaimed capital of the “caliphate,” Raqqa, in Syria.

“To be fair, the [IS] organisation sells oil from caliphate territories but does not aim to sell it to Israel or any other country,” he said. “It produces and sells it via mediators, then companies, who decide whom to sell it to.”

to.” Editor’s note: An earlier published version of this article included an incorrect reference to Financial Times reporters describing the port of Ceyhan as a “potential gateway for IS-smuggled crude”. Al-Araby al-Jadeed recognises this was reported in error and apologises for any confusion.

 

 

Boko Haram appears to have a “diplomatic” presence with the Saudi headchoppers

Boko Haram’s International Connections

Author(s): Jacob Zenn

Since carrying out its first attack under Abubakar Shekau’s leadership in September 2010, Boko Haram has unleashed a wave of violence in northern Nigeria, mostly targeted against government personnel and security officers, Muslim politicians and traditional Muslim religious leaders, and Christians.[1] Although the insurgency began as a local movement in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State, since August 2011 there have been increasing signs of international collaboration between Boko Haram and militants outside Nigerian territory, such as in Borno State’s border region, northern Mali, the Sahel, Somalia and other countries in the Muslim world. As a result of these international connections, Boko Haram, which in 2009 was known as a “machete-wielding mob,” has now matched—and even exceeded—the capabilities of some al-Qa`ida affiliates, while also incorporating al-Qa`ida ideology into the locally driven motives for the insurgency in northern Nigeria.

This article examines Boko Haram’s international connections and their impact on the insurgency in northern Nigeria.

Boko Haram in Mali
In November 2012, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO)[2] and al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) captured Menaka in Mali’s Gao region from the secular Tuareg-led militia, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). An MNLA spokesman said that MUJAO, AQIM and Boko Haram prevented the local population from leaving the city so that they could be used as human shields.[3] Several sources corroborate the spokesman’s claim that Boko Haram fighters are present in Mali.

First, news reports from Mali said that 100 Boko Haram militants reinforced MUJAO’s positions in the battle for Gao and that Boko Haram helped MUJAO raid the Algerian consulate in Gao and kidnap the vice-consul, who was executed by MUJAO on September 2, 2012, and that Boko Haram supported MUJAO, AQIM and Ansar Eddine in their January 8, 2013, attack on Kona, central Mopti region.[4] Second, displaced persons from Gao, including a former parliamentarian, said that Boko Haram is training at MUJAO-run camps.[5] Third, military officials from Niger said that Boko Haram militants are transiting Niger en route to Mali on a daily basis.[6] Fourth, a MUJAO commander said in an interview with a Beninese journalist for Radio France Internationale that Boko Haram members were arriving in Gao en masse.[7] Fifth, U.S. Africa Command General Carter Ham, who in January 2012 said Boko Haram has links to AQIM and al-Shabab, said in November that Boko Haram militants train in camps in northern Mali and most likely receive financing and explosives from AQIM.[8] In addition, the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Nigerian minister of foreign affairs, Nigerien foreign minister, Malian foreign minister and Algerian minister for Maghreb and African affairs report that Boko Haram and AQIM are coordinating operations in northern Mali.[9]

A Boko Haram video released on November 29, 2012, suggested that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau may be one of the Boko Haram militants in northern Mali. The video emerged only one month after a Nigerian media source reported that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan discussed Shekau coordinating attacks in northern Nigeria from northern Mali during the president’s October 17 visit to Niamey and October 19 visit to Bamako.[10] In contrast to Shekau’s first five video statements of 2012, the November 29 video is the first to show Shekau not seated in a room wearing traditional Islamic dress, but wearing green camouflaged military fatigues and training in a desert with heavily armed and veiled militants. He did not speak in Hausa, the predominant language of northern Nigeria, but spoke entirely in Arabic, and he praised the “brothers and shaykhs in the Islamic Maghreb” and “soldiers of the Islamic State of Mali.”[11] The video was also not disseminated via YouTube like the previous five videos, but posted on a jihadist online forum. In the video, Shekau appealed to al-Qa`ida by paying homage to “martyred” leaders such as Usama bin Ladin, Abu Yahya al-Libi and Abu Mus`ab al-Zarqawi. He recited five of the ten suras in the Qur’an that are most commonly quoted by al-Qa`ida, and he called the United States, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Israel “crusaders” and warned them that “jihad has begun.”[12]

Even if Shekau is not in Mali, it is unlikely that he is still in Nigeria. In contrast to Mali’s and Niger’s vast desert regions, where AQIM has hosted training camps since the mid-2000s that Boko Haram members have attended, northeastern Nigeria’s desert is not known to have terrorist training camps and is not particularly remote or uninhabited.[13] Shekau and the other militants would have also placed themselves at unprecedented risk to train in broad daylight, as seen on the video, in Nigeria only days after Abuja announced a $320,000 reward for information leading to Shekau’s capture and lesser rewards for 18 Boko Haram Shura Committee members.[14]

Boko Haram militants could have joined the insurgency in northern Mali in alliance with MUJAO and AQIM, and Abubakar Shekau and his commanders may have found refuge in northern Mali or Niger to escape the Nigerian security forces crackdown on Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. The crackdown led to the capture or killing of more than 10 commanders since September 2012, as well as Shekau’s spokesman, one of his wives and his daughter.[15] Shekau and other commanders are likely coming into greater contact with AQIM and therefore attempting to steer Boko Haram’s ideology closer to al-Qa`ida.

Borno’s Border Region
While some Boko Haram members have come from the parts of Niger, Chad and Cameroon that border Borno State and where the three main languages of Borno—Hausa, Kanuri and Arabic—are spoken, few members are reported to have come from outside of those three countries or Nigeria.[16] According to one of Boko Haram founder Muhammad Yusuf’s relatives, 40% of Boko Haram’s funding comes from outside of Nigeria, and as many as one-third of its members fled Nigeria following major clashes with the government in July 2009.[17]

The architect of those clashes was a Nigerien, Abubakar Kilakam. While Kilakam was arrested and deported to Niger, several other Nigerien Boko Haram leaders are still in Nigeria, including Ali Jalingo, who masterminded bombings in Borno State and escaped an attempt to capture him in Benue State on January 7, 2013.[18] Other Boko Haram leaders are reportedly still hiding in Diffa, Niger, and Boko Haram cells were uncovered in Zinder, Niger in September 2012 and Diffa in December 2011 and February 2012.[19] Similarly, in 2012, Boko Haram members have been reported in several primarily Baggara Arabic-speaking cities of Far North Province, Cameroon, including Fotokol, Kousseri, Mora and the border town of Banki-Amchide, where on December 19, 2012, Cameroonian security forces arrested 31 suspected Boko Haram members, including two Nigeriens, and confirmed that a Boko Haram logistics network facilitates “trans-border operations” and that Boko Haram uses the border area to “regroup after attacks in Nigeria, preparing for the next attacks.”[20] Cameroon’s similar characteristics to Nigeria, such as a relatively poor majority Muslim north, which has seen trade reduced because of Boko Haram attacks on border markets and stricter border monitoring, and a wealthier majority Christian south, also make it an ideal recruiting ground for the group.[21]

In terms of geography, Niger’s vast desert provides an ideal training ground and refuge for Boko Haram, while the Mandara Mountains along the Nigeria-Cameroon border, where state authority is weak and smuggling is pervasive, provides an ideal supply route, hideout and staging ground. The recent upsurge in Boko Haram attacks in rural towns at the foothills of the Mandara Mountains in Adamawa State, where in 2004 Muhammad Yusuf’s followers had their first major battles with the Nigerian security forces, support the claims made by high-level Nigerian and Cameroonian officials that Boko Haram is operating from bases in Cameroon.[22] Some of these attacks include: a December 13, 2012, burning of a police station in Madagali, five miles from the border; a December 28 night raid on a prison, customs office, education administration complex and Divisional Police Headquarters in Maiha, three miles from the border, which killed 21 people, and a separate attack on Fufore, five miles from the border; a December 31 attack on the Divisional Police Headquarters in Hong, 25 miles from the border; and a January 3, 2013, attack involving rocket-propelled grenades fired at government buildings and a police station in Song, 20 miles from the border.[23]

Boko Haram takes advantage of Niger, Chad and Cameroon for refuge, training, transit, attack planning and recruitment. Boko Haram does not, however, carry out attacks in those countries, possibly to prevent those governments from cracking down on the group and because Boko Haram’s grievances are rooted in Nigeria. The porosity of the border region is one reason why the first Boko Haram base called “Afghanistan” in 2003 was situated only two miles from Nigeria’s border with Niger. As reports of Boko Haram in Niger and Cameroon have shown, the border region still serves similar purposes for Boko Haram as it did in 2003.

Boko Haram Diplomacy in Saudi Arabia and Senegal
Boko Haram appears to have a “diplomatic” presence in Saudi Arabia, in addition to other militant connections. In August 2012, a Boko Haram faction led by Abu Muhammed negotiated in Mecca with a Nigerian government team led by National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki and advised by General Muhammed Shuwa. President Jonathan has rejected new talks with this faction, however, on the grounds that “there can be no dialogue” with Boko Haram because it is “faceless.”[24] Abu Muhammed’s proposed negotiating team included, among others, the Cameroonian Mamman Nur, who lost a power struggle with Shekau to lead what became the main Boko Haram faction after Muhammad Yusuf’s death in July 2009.[25] Therefore, Abu Muhammed’s claim to represent Shekau’s faction is likely false, and Shekau’s spokesman called Abu Muhammed a “fake” in August 2012.[26]

Boko Haram also has a deeper history of involvement in Saudi Arabia: Muhammad Yusuf found refuge in Saudi Arabia to escape a Nigerian security forces crackdown in 2004; Boko Haram has reportedly received funding with the help of AQIM from organizations in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia; and Boko Haram’s spokesman claimed that Boko Haram leaders met with al-Qa`ida in Saudi Arabia during the lesser hajj (umra) in August 2011.[27] More recently, the leader of a Boko Haram cell that was responsible for the November 25, 2012, attack on a church inside a military barracks in Jaji, Kaduna, was in Saudi Arabia during the months prior to the attack.[28]

Boko Haram may also have had dialogue with the Nigerian government in Senegal, where in August 2012 the imam of the Grand Mosque in Bignona, southern Senegal, claimed that Boko Haram was recruiting local youths.[29] In December 2012, Nigerian media reported that President Jonathan’s adviser and minister of Niger Delta affairs, Godsday Orubebe, held secret negotiations with Boko Haram commanders in Senegal arranged by the Malian and Senegalese secret services.[30] Based on Orubebe’s credentials as the “author” of the government’s arms-for-amnesty peace program with Niger Delta militants in 2009, he may have discussed the release of Boko Haram members from prison and “compensation” for the destruction of mosques and Boko Haram members’ homes, which are demands shared by all Boko Haram factions.[31]

Impact on Northern Nigeria
Emulating the Taliban
Boko Haram has long drawn inspiration from the Taliban and was called the “Nigerian Taliban” by outsiders from 2003 until 2009. Some Boko Haram members have reportedly trained in Afghanistan, and in northern Nigeria Boko Haram appears to have adopted tactics similar to the Taliban.[32] For example, in the second half of 2012, Boko Haram systematically destroyed hundreds of telecom towers, causing millions of dollars of damages and preventing the security forces from tracking down its members; used text messages to coerce government officials against obstructing Boko Haram operations and warned civilians against cooperating with the government; extorted “taxes” from merchants with the threat of death to the family members of anyone who does not pay; and employed complex Haqqani-style attacks with multiple suicide bombers. President Jonathan said suicide bombings were “completely alien” to Nigeria after Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate explosives in his undergarments on a Detroit-bound airliner on behalf of al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in 2009. On June 16, 2011, however, one day after Boko Haram warned that its members arrived from Somalia “where they received real training on warfare,” Boko Haram carried out its first suicide car bombing at the Federal Police Headquarters in Abuja, and then in August 2011 the Somali-trained Mamman Nur masterminded another suicide car bombing at the UN Headquarters in Abuja.[33] After more than 30 Boko Haram suicide attacks in 2012, it is now fathomable that Boko Haram could employ female suicide bombers, a tactic which the Taliban have employed in Afghanistan since June 2010.[34]

As a sign of Boko Haram’s desire to hold territory, the group has also planted flags with its logo in its desired future capital of Damatru, Yobe State, and mobilized 500 supporters in the streets of Damatru in December 2011 as a show of force after the commissioner of police said there were no Boko Haram members in the state.[35]

Weapons Procurement
Boko Haram has procured weapons from abroad, which was described as a “worrisome development” by the Nigerian chief superintendent of police in August 2012.[36] Such weapons include rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) with a 900 meter range for attacking hardened targets from long distances and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for ambushing military and police convoys.[37] There is also concern that Boko Haram could use Libyan-made man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) to shoot down commercial airlines flying into Niger, Chad and Nigeria—a tactic employed in 2002 by an al-Qa`ida-linked Somali terrorist cell on a Mombasa-borne Israeli El Al airlines flight.[38] The threat of a Boko Haram attack on aviation prompted Nigeria to place all airports in the country on 24-hour security surveillance during the Christmas holiday in December 2012.[39] The weapons in Boko Haram’s “upgrade” often enter the country through illegal or unmanned border crossings and sometimes with the collaboration of immigration officials.[40] Boko Haram attacks on border posts, such as a 50-man attack at Gamboru-Ngala on the Nigerian side of the border with Cameroon on December 2, 2012, are often intended as a diversion to smuggle weapons through other border areas.[41]

Target Selection
Boko Haram’s target selection has also been influenced by its interaction with militants abroad. The Cameroonian Mamman Nur, who is wanted by Interpol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for masterminding the August 26, 2011, bombing of the UN Headquarters in Abuja, reportedly fled to Chad and then traveled to Somalia to receive explosives training from al-Shabab before returning to Nigeria in the weeks before the attack.[42] The UN attack remains the only time Boko Haram has targeted an international institution and was similar to al-Qa`ida’s attack on the UN building in Baghdad in 2003 and AQIM’s attack on the UN building in Algiers in 2007.

In 2012, the group also showed a new focus on foreigners. A British and Italian hostage were killed in Sokoto in March; a German hostage was killed in Kano in June; a French hostage was kidnapped in Katsina in December; and a number of Chinese and Indians were killed in Borno in late 2012.[43]

Transnational Ideology
As seen in Shekau’s November 29 video statement, interaction with Islamist militias has likely caused a shift in Shekau’s messaging, which now resembles al-Qa`ida’s. The Boko Haram faction Ansaru[44] has also embraced an ideology similar to MUJAO as well as the primary tactic of MUJAO and AQIM: kidnapping foreigners.[45] Ansaru was placed on the UK Proscribed Terror List on November 23, 2012, for kidnapping and killing a British and Italian hostage in March 2012 while operating under the name “al-Qa`ida in the Lands Beyond the Sahel.” On December 24, 2012, Ansaru also claimed the kidnapping of a French engineer in Katsina 30 miles from the Nigerien border and said it would continue attacking the French government and French citizens until France ends its ban on the Islamic veil and its “major role in the planned attack on the Islamic state in northern Mali,” which is virtually the same warning that MUJAO’s and AQIM’s leaders have issued to France.[46] According to the United Kingdom, Ansaru is “anti-Western” and “broadly aligned” to al-Qa`ida, while in its own words Ansaru says it wants to restore the “dignity of Usman dan Fodio.”[47] Similarly, MUJAO proclaimed at the time of its founding in December 2011 that it wants to spread jihad in West Africa and that its members are “ideological descendants” of Usman dan Fodio.[48] MUJAO and Boko Haram have also both threatened to attack the West when their capabilities enable them to do so.[49]

Conclusion
At a time when even al-Qa`ida is questioning its own brand, militant groups need not have formal affiliation with al-Qa`ida to have an international agenda.[50] Boko Haram’s connections to militants in northern Mali, the Sahel and elsewhere in the Muslim world enable it to receive and provide support to other Islamist militias. As a result, Boko Haram will be capable of surviving outside of its main base of operations in Borno State if the Nigerian security forces drive out key leaders from Nigeria such as Abubakar Shekau. Moreover, Boko Haram has been able to draw on al-Qa`ida’s ideology and take advantage of anti-government and anti-Western sentiment in northern Nigeria to justify its existence and recruit new members from Nigeria and Borno’s border region.[51]

As evidenced by the collapse of the Malian state when Tuareg fighters based in Libya returned to “Azawad” after the fall of the Mu`ammar Qadhafi regime, the transfer of Boko Haram fighters from Nigeria to other countries in the Sahel does not bode well for the region. It means Nigeria’s problem will become another country’s problem, such as Mali, Cameroon or Niger, or smaller countries like Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Like northern Nigeria, these countries have majority Muslim populations, artificial borders, ethnic conflicts, insufficient educational and career opportunities for youths and fragile democratic institutions, and they have all witnessed Islamist militant infiltration in their countries and their countrymen traveling to northern Mali to join the Islamist militias in 2012. Although the ethnic groups in some of these countries differ from northern Nigeria, Boko Haram and Ansaru have the potential to inspire other “Boko Harams” in West Africa with their ideologies that fault the secular government, democracy and the West for their troubles and hark back to a time when Usman dan Fodio and the Islamic caliphate brought “glory” and “dignity” to the Muslims of the region.

Jacob Zenn is an analyst of African and Eurasian Affairs for The Jamestown Foundation and author of the Occasional Report entitled “Northern Nigeria’s Boko Haram: The Prize in al-Qaeda’s Africa Strategy,” published by The Jamestown Foundation in November 2012. In 2012, he conducted field research in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon on the socioeconomic factors behind the Boko Haram insurgency. Mr. Zenn earned a J.D. from Georgetown Law, where he was a Global Law Scholar, and a graduate degree in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins SAIS Center for Chinese-American Studies in Nanjing, China. He has spoken at international conferences on Boko Haram and is frequently interviewed by international media.

[1] Boko Haram’s first attack with Abubakar Shekau as leader was on September 7, 2010, when approximately 50 fighters attacked Bauchi prison and freed more than 150 Boko Haram members after promising that they would not spend Eid al-Fitr behind bars. An additional 500 prisoners were also freed, some of whom are believed to have then joined Boko Haram. See Sani Muhd Sani, “Attack On Bauchi Prison – Boko Haram Frees 721 Inmates,” Leadership, September 8, 2010.

[2] MUJAO was formed as an offshoot of AQIM. MUJAO focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, but it is still led primarily by Malian Arabs.

[3] Jemal Oumar, “Touareg Rebels Vow Terror Crackdown,” Magharebia, November 22, 2012.

[4] “Dozens of Boko Haram Help Mali’s Rebel Seize Gao,” Vanguard, April 9, 2012; “Boko Haram en renfort des islamistes armés dans le nord du Mali,” Radio France Internationale, April 10, 2012; “Malian Extremists Execute Kidnapped Algerian Diplomat,” Agence France-Presse, September 2, 2012; “Africa Facing Sharp Rise in Islamic Extremism,” Agence France-Presse, July 6, 2012; Serge Daniel, “Bilal Hicham, rebelle du nord du Mali,” Radio France Internationale, August 4, 2012; “Niger Seeks Joint Southern Border Patrols to Bar Boko Haram,” Reuters, October 7, 2012; “Top US Commander in Africa Cautions Against Intervention in Mali Despite al-Qaida Threat,” Associated Press, December 3, 2012; “Mali Troops Fire Shots at Islamist Fighters,” News24, January 8, 2013.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Joe Brock, “U.S. Still on High Alert for Nigeria Attacks,” Reuters, November 22, 2012; “Boko Haram: Why Nigeria, ECOWAS Will Intervene in Mali – Minister,” The Nation, November 8, 2012; Laurent Prieur, “Boko Haram Got al Qaeda Bomb Training, Niger Says,” Reuters, January 24, 2012; Raby Ould Idoumo and Bakari Guèye “Faltering al-Qaeda Turns to Boko Haram,” Magharebia, January 27, 2012. The MNLA also claimed that “Islamist extremist groups including Ansar Dine, Boko Haram and al Qaeda have seized control of Timbuktu along with the towns of Gao and Kidal, and have killed top MNLA leaders there.” See “Mali Separatists Ready to Act over Destruction of Tombs,” CNN, July 1, 2012.

[10] “Uncovered: Boko Haram Base Traced to Mali – Intelligence Report Identifies Training, Operational Base,” The Sun, October 27, 2012.

[11] In addition to the November 29, 2012, video, Boko Haram released Abubakar Shekau’s video statements on January 10, January 26, April 12, August 4 and September 30, 2012.

[12] Abubakar Shekau, “Glad Tidings, O Soldiers of Allah,” November 29, 2012. Two days after appearing on popular jihadist websites, the video was posted to the Ana al-Muslim Network website. The 39-minute video featured Shekau reciting, among other common suras, at-Tawbah, Ali Imran. al-Ma’ida, al-Anfal, and al-Haj. See “How Islamist Extremists Quote the Qur’an,” Arizona State University Center for Strategic Communication, July 9, 2012.

[13] In September 2012, a long-time Boko Haram member and employee in Nigeria’s immigration service confessed to having trained in assassinations and special operations with 15 other militants, some of whom were Nigerian security officers. See “Nigerian Officials Held for ‘Boko Haram Links,’” al-Jazira, September 30, 2012.

[14] It is certain that the video, which was released on November 29, 2012, was shot after November 25 since the prologue of the video offered “many glad tidings on…the storming of the prison in the Nigerian capital, Abuja and freeing more than 150 mujahidin in response to Nigeria’s tyrants dedicating a sum of money to anyone who gives information about the shaykh or one of the commanders.” The “storming of the prison” refers to the November 25 raid on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Abuja, which was claimed by the Boko Haram faction Ansaru. The “giving information about the shaykh or one of the commanders” refers to the Joint Task Force’s November 24 declaration of “19 most wanted Boko Haram commanders.” See Yemi Akinsuyi, “Boko Haram Attacks SARS Police HQ, Abuja,” ThisDayLive, November 26, 2012; “JTF Declares 19 Boko Haram Commanders Wanted,” Leadership, November 24, 2012.

[15] After a November 18, 2012, battle with Nigerian security forces, in which 35 Boko Haram members were killed and one of Shekau’s wives and two children were “rescued,” Shekau was believed to have been shot and died, which the November 29 video has now disproved, or been placed “under deep cover abroad.” See “Boko Haram Looks to Mali,” Africa Confidential, November 30, 2012. Shekau was also reported to have fled to northern Cameroon after Boko Haram’s January 20, 2012, attacks in Kano, which killed 186 people. Other Boko Haram commanders are also believed to have sought refuge in Cameroon, including Kabiru Sokoto, who masterminded the Christmas Day 2011 bombings in Madalla, Niger State, which killed more than 30 people. He escaped from police custody with the help of Boko Haram supporters and government collaborators in January 2012, but was recaptured on February 10 in Mutum Mbiyu, Taraba State, which is 300 miles from where Shekau was then reported to be hiding in Ngaoundere, Cameroon, and 100 miles from the Nigeria-Cameroon border. See “Boko Haram Escapee Kabiru Sokoto Re-Arrested in Taraba,” Sahara Reporters, February 10, 2012; “Why We Did Not Kill Obasanjo” – Boko Haram Leader,” 247ureports.com, January 23, 2012.

[16] One of the lone reported cases of a non-Nigerian militant in Nigeria was a Mauritanian who used his shop in Kano as a base for an AQIM cell that kidnapped a German engineer in January 2012, but there is no evidence that the kidnappers or the Mauritanian were members of Boko Haram. See Habeeb I. Pindiga et al., “Kidnap of German – Maurita¬nian, Four Others Arrested in Kano,” Daily Trust, March 28, 2012. For more details on this incident, see Jacob Zenn, “Boko Haram’s Dangerous Expansion into Northwest Nigeria,” CTC Sentinel 5:10 (2012). On December 29, 2012, Radio Risala in Somalia reported that “Al-Shabab fighters have entered [Nigeria] to assist the Nigerian Islamist fighters,” but this report has not been corroborated elsewhere. See “Somalia’s Al-Shabab Fighters said Pouring into Nigeria,” Radio Risala, December 30, 2012.

[17] These militants fled after a four-day battle with Nigerian security forces in northeastern Nigeria in July 2009, in which more than 20 security officers and as many as 1,000 Boko Haram members were killed, including founder Muhammad Yusuf. See “Suspects Charged in Nigeria Bombing,” al-Jazira, December 25, 2011. Some of these fighters followed the sermons of Boko Haram founder Muhammad Yusuf or viewed Boko Haram propaganda CDs and DVDs, which were available in border markets until the Nigerien and Cameroonian authorities enforced a ban on them in early 2012. See “Two Boko Haram Suspects Arrested,” ThisDayLive, February 18, 2012.

[18] “Terror Suspect Escapes Arrest in Benue,” Leadership, January 7, 2013. Jalingo is the capital of Taraba State in Nigeria. Although it is not uncommon in northern Nigeria to assume one’s geographic origin as a surname, news reports and Nigerian analysts say that Ali Jalingo is Nigerien. Nigeria placed a $60,000 reward for information leading to Ali Jalingo’s capture in November 2012.

[19] “Niger Police Arrest 5 Suspected Boko Haram Members,” Vanguard, September 27, 2012; “Diffa Traders Hit by Border Closure,” IRIN, February 20, 2012.

[20] Eric Kouama, “The Unpredictable Terror of Boko Haram,” Radio Netherlands, March 21, 2012; Raoul Guivanda, “AMCHIDE: 31 membres de Boko Haram livrés au Nigeria,” Cameroon-info.net, December 27, 2012.

[21] “Boko Haram Threat Harms Cameroon-Nigeria Border Trade,” Cameroononline.org, December 27, 2012.

[22] Soloman Tembang Mforgham, “Boko Haram Infilitrates Cameroon,” Africanews, January 11, 2012; “Nigerian Troops and Islamic Militants Trade Gunfire in Mountains,” Agence France-Presse, September 25, 2004.

[23] “Yola Police Station Razed by Gunmen,” Nigeria World News, December 13, 2012; “Police Confirm Attack on Station in Hong,” Leadership, December 31, 2012; “7 Die in Another Day of Boko Haram Terror,” Premium Times, January 3, 2013; “Borno State Boils Again: 7 People Killed as JTF and Boko Haram Militants Clash,” Daily Post, January 4, 2013. Boko Haram also attacked towns along Borno’s border with Niger on December 1 and December 6, 2012, with the latter attack forcing more than 1,000 refugees to flee from Borno to Diffa, Niger, after villagers were killed when they could not recite specific verses of the Qur’an when ordered to by Boko Haram. See “1000 Nigerians Flee after Boko Haram Killings,” PM News, December 6, 2012.

[24] “Nigeria Not Talking to Boko Haram Islamists, President Says,” Agence France-Presse, November 18, 2012.

[25] Uduma Kalu, “How Nur, Shekau Run Boko Haram,” Vanguard, September 3, 2011; Ibrahim Garba, “Nigerian Government Enters Talks with Boko Haram,” Christian Science Monitor, August 21, 2012. The fact that Nur is believed to have masterminded the UN Headquarters bombing lends credibility to the idea that the attack was not carried out by Shekau’s faction, but may have been carried out by more internationally focused groups.

[26] “Statement By Boko Haram’s Spokesperson Debunking Reports Of Dialogue With The Nigerian Government,” Sahara Reporters, August 23, 2012; “Analyst says Boko Haram’s Ceasefire Conditions are Impossible,” Channels TV, November 2, 2012.

[27] Monica Mark, “Boko Haram Vows to Fight Until Nigeria Establishes Sharia Law,” Guardian, January 27, 2012. Abu Qaqa said, “Al-Qaida are our elder brothers. During the lesser Hajj [August 2011], our leader traveled to Saudi Arabia and met al-Qaida there. We enjoy financial and technical support from them.” In August 2011, Abu Qaqa reported that the spokesman before him, Abu Zaid, was “out of the country.” See Taiwo Adisa, “Boko Haram’s Funding Traced to UK, S/Arabia – Sect Planned to Turn Nigeria into Afghanistan – Arrested Kingpin Opens Up,” Nigerian Tribune, February 13, 2012. This article also said, “Sources confirmed that while the organisation relied on donations by its members in its earlier days, its links with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) opened it to fundings from groups in Saudi Arabia and the UK.”

[28] “Army Raids Bomb Factory, Arrests 12 In Niger,” Leadership, December 8, 2012.

[29] “Fansou Bodian imam ratib de Bignona: ‘La secte Boko Haram est présente au Sénégal,’” SeneNews.com, August 22, 2012.

[30] “I Won’t Change My Stance on Amnesty – Orubebe,” Leadership, July 20, 2011.

[31] Success Nwogu, “Sagay, NBA Back FG, Boko Haram Senegal Talks,” Punch NG, December 3, 2012; George Agba, “Of FG/Boko Haram-Dialogue and Double Standard,” Leadership, December 7, 2012.

[32] Before 2009, Muhammad Yusuf’s followers were often called the “Nigerian Taliban,” but they had no formal connection to the Taliban in Afghanistan. They did, however, admire the Taliban, Mullah Omar and Usama bin Ladin. See “Boko Haram ‘Trained in Algeria, Afghanistan,’” ThisDay, September 1, 2011; “Nigerian Trained in Afghanistan,” BBC, September 2, 2009. The Nigerian chief of defense staff also affirmed at a presentation at King’s College, London, on November 21, 2012, that some Boko Haram members have trained in Afghanistan.

[33] “Nigerian Islamists Vow ‘Fiercer’ Attacks,” Agence France-Presse, June 15, 2011.

[34] “Nigerian Police Step Up Security Around Telecom Towers After Boko Haram Attacks,” International Business Times, September 7, 2012; David Cook, “Boko Haram: A Prognosis,” Rice University, December 16, 2011. According to Cook, the significance of the advent of suicide attacks as part of complex operations is not indigenous to Nigeria and appear to be based on the tactics of Afghan and Haqqani networks. Also see “Suicide Bombing Alien To Nigeria – Jonathan,” The Tide, January 9, 2010; “Boko Haram Capable of Using Female Suicide Bombers, Chemical Weapons – Counter Terrorism Expert,” African Spotlight, December 8, 2012.

[35] “Nigerian Terrorists in Mass Importation of Rocket Launchers…Plan to Ditch IEDs in Favor Of RPGs – Trafficking Carried Out Across Porous Borders,” Beegeagle’s Blog, August 5, 2012; Kingsley Omonobi, “Army Blocks Move by Boko Haram to Hoist Flag in Damatru,” Vanguard, October 26, 2012; Osita Okolo, “Untold Secret of the Survival of Boko Haram Sect in Yobe,” Vanguard, February 11, 2012.

[36] In September 2011, the chief of army staff said, “Involvement of foreigners in Boko Haram’s terrorist activities in Nigeria is certain. It is definite that the group receives training and possibly funding from some foreign elements…This is evident from the type of weapons we have captured from them, from the type of communication equipment we have captured from them and from the expertise they have displayed in the preparation of improvised explosive devices. These are pointers to the fact that there is foreign involvement in the terrorism going on in Nigeria.” See Yusuf Alli and Gbade Ogunwale, “Boko Haram Gets Foreign Backing,” The Nation, September 28, 2011; Toyosi Ogunseye, “Terrorists in Mass Importation of Rocket Launchers,” Punch NG, August 5, 2012.

[37] “Boko Haram Upgrading Weapons from IEDs to RPGs, Police Says,” Punch NG, July 15, 2012.

[38] David Ignatius, “Libyan Missiles on the Loose,” Washington Post, May 8, 2012.

[39] “Boko Haram: FG Tightens up Security in Airports,” Daily Post, December 29, 2012.

[40] Olawale Rasheed, “Arms Inflow from Northern Borders Intensifies: The Gaddafi Mercenaries Connection, Boko Haram Members Relocate to Kano, Others,” Nigerian Tribune, October 3, 2011; “Army Arrests Immigration Officer, Others over Boko Haram Links,” ThisDayLive, September 29, 2012; Lydia Beshel, “Challenges of Nigeria’s Porous Borders,” Reporters 365, August 9, 2012; “Boko Haram Upgrading Weapons from IEDs to RPGs, Police Says,” Pilot Africa, August 4, 2012.

[41] “Gunmen ‘Burn Churches, Border Posts in Borno State,’” Vanguard, December 2, 2012.

[42] Yusuf Alli, “FBI, INTERPOL Join Manhunt for Bomb Suspect Nur,” The Nation, September 21, 2011.

[43] “Gunmen Kill Chinese Worker in Northern Nigeria,” Energy Daily, October 8, 2012. The article also noted that, “In July, suspected members of Boko Haram attacked a factory in Maiduguri, killing two Indian nationals and stealing about $600 in cash. Separately, the high-profile kidnappings and subsequent deaths of British, Italian and German nationals earlier this year was blamed on Islamist extremists.”

[44] Ansaru is the abbreviated name for Jama`at Ansar al-Muslimin fi Bilad al-Sudan, which means “Supporters of the Muslims in the Land of the Blacks.” Ansaru seeks a united front with Abubakar Shekau’s faction in confronting mutual enemies, such as Christians and the Nigerian government, but views the killing of Muslims by Shekau’s faction as “inexcusable.”

[45] Ansaru broke from Boko Haram after the January 20, 2012, attacks in Kano, which killed more than 150 innocent civilians, mostly Muslims. One of Ansaru’s leaders is believed to be Khalid al-Barnawy, who trained with AQIM in Algeria in the mid-2000s and participated in several kidnapping operations in Niger. Al-Barnawy was one of three Boko Haram members that the United States designated as a “foreign terrorist,” along with Abubakar Shekau and Adam Kambar, in July 2012. Kambar was killed by Nigerian security forces in Kano in November 2012, while Shekau and al-Barnawy remain at large.

[46] Ibrahim Shuaibu, “Islamic Group Claims Responsibility for Kidnapping French Citizen,” ThisDay, December 24, 2012; Tiemoko Diallo, “Mali Islamists Tell France They Will Open Doors of Hell,” Reuters, October 13, 2012.

[47] In the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio conquered Sokoto and most of northern Nigeria and influenced other jihads in the areas of West Africa where Boko Haram is present today, such as northern Cameroon, northern Nigeria, Niger, northern Mali and Senegal. See Philip D. Curtin, “Jihad in West Africa: Early Phases and Inter-Relations in Mauritania and Senegal,” Journal of African History 12:1 (1971): pp. 11-24.

[48] MUJAO emerged for the first time in December 2011, when it claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of three European aid workers from a Saharawi refugee camp in Algeria in October 2011. It cited as inspiration historical militant leaders in the region, including Usman dan Fodio and El Hajj Omar Tell.

[49] MUJAO military leader Oumar Ould Hamaha said in December 2012 that, “If they don’t come here, one day we will attack [the West]. If we cannot do this in our time, our sons and the next generation will attack the West.” Similarly, in May 2010, one of Boko Haram’s members said in an interview with Agence France-Presse, “We will carry out our operations anywhere in the world if we can have the chance. The United States is the number one target for its oppression and aggression against Muslim nations, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan and its blind support to Israel in its killings of our Palestinian brethren. We will launch fiercer attacks than Iraqi or Afghan mujahidin against our enemies throughout the world, particularly the United States, if the chance avails itself…but for now our attention is focused on Nigeria, which is our starting point.” See Sudarsan Raghavan and Edward Cody, “Mali Presents Risky Battleground for Neighbouring Nations and Western Allies,” Independent, December 9, 2012; Aminu Abubakar, “Nigerian Islamic Sect Threaten to Widen Attacks,” Agence France-Presse, March 29, 2010.

[50] “According to newly released documents, Osama bin Laden mulled renaming Al Qaeda amid worries that the terrorist group had become a tarnished brand,” in Whitney Eulich, “Renaming Al Qaeda to Tanthim al-Jihadi litahrir al-aksa wa-tawhid al-Umma?” Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2012.

[51] Anti-American sentiment in northern Nigeria has been bolstered by Islamist organizations, such as the Shi`a fundamentalist and pro-Iranian Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) led by Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, whose membership has increased with Iranian sponsorship in recent years. See “Thousands Protest over Anti-Islam Film in Kano Nigeria,” BBC, September 22, 2012.

How Uncle Sam Seeded Global Jihad and Cultivates It to This Day

How Uncle Sam Seeded Global Jihad and Cultivates It to This Day

From Afghanistan to Syria… They sow the cyclone and we reap the blowback

Originally appeared at Medium


“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” — Hosea 8:7

It may be surprising to hear, but it is a plain historical fact that modern international jihad originated as an instrument of US foreign policy. The “great menace of our era” was built up by the CIA to wage a proxy war against the Soviets.

A 1973 coup in Afghanistan installed a new secular government that, while not fully communist, was Soviet-leaning. That was a capital offense from the perspective of America’s Cold War national security state, at the time headed by Henry Kissinger.

Conveniently for Kissinger, the dirt poor country was sandwiched between two US client states: Pakistan to the east and Iran (then still ruled by the CIA-installed Shah) to the west. Immediately after the coup, the CIA and the clandestine security agencies of Pakistan (ISI) and Iran (SAVAK) began regime change operations in Afghanistan, orchestrating and sponsoring Islamic fundamentalist insurrections and coup attempts.

Due to these efforts, as well as the government’s own oppressiveness, a widespread rebellion broke out in Afghanistan in 1978. In July 1979, US President Jimmy Carter, on the advice of National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, officially authorized aid to the puritanical Mujahideen rebels, to be delivered through the CIA’s “Operation Cyclone.” This was on top of the unofficial aid that the CIA had already been funneling to Afghan Islamist insurgents for years through Pakistan and Iran.

In a 1998 interview, Brzezinski openly admitted that he and Carter thus “knowingly increased the probability” that the Soviets would militarily intervene. And indeed Russia did invade in December 1979, beginning the decade-long Soviet-Afghan War. In the same 1998 interview, Brzezinski boasted:

“The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.”

Shortly thereafter, the highest cleric of Saudi Arabia (another US client) endorsed a fatwa proclaiming jihad against the atheist Soviets in Afghanistan as an obligation for all Muslims throughout the world. It should be noted that the Saudis have a narrow definition of a true “Muslim,” as they follow Wahhabism, one of the most extreme and intolerant strands of Islam, highly similar to ISIS’s own. Throughout the 1980s, Saudi Arabia also provided the Afghan Jihad with hundreds of millions of petrodollars in aid and tens of thousands of madrassa-indoctrinated volunteer fighters.

The CIA also heavily participated in recruitment for the increasingly international jihad. And this is where Osama bin Laden enters the picture. As political scientist and terrorism expert Eqbal Ahmad said in a 1998 speech:

“Money started pouring in. CIA agents starting going all over the Muslim world recruiting people to fight in the great jihad. Bin Laden was one of the early prize recruits. He was not only an Arab. He was also a Saudi. He was not only a Saudi. He was also a multimillionaire, willing to put his own money into the matter. Bin Laden went around recruiting people for the jihad against communism.
I first met him in 1986. He was recommended to me by an American official of whom I do not know whether he was or was not an agent. I was talking to him and said, ‘Who are the Arabs here who would be very interesting?’ By here I meant in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said, ‘You must meet Osama.’ I went to see Osama. There he was, rich, bringing in recruits from Algeria, from Sudan, from Egypt, just like Sheikh Abdul Rahman.”

The US publicly lionized the anti-Soviet jihadis. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan, who continued Carter’s Afghan policy, met with Mujahideen leaders in the Oval Office for a photo op, and released a statement which said:

“To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom.”
The glorification even extended to popular culture. In the climactic battle scene of 1988’s Rambo III, the heroic John Rambo is about to be overrun by Soviet forces when he is saved by a Mujahideen cavalry charge. The movie closed with onscreen text that read, “THIS FILM IS DEDICATED TO THE BRAVE MUJAHIDEEN FIGHTERS OF AFGHANISTAN.” After the US went to war with the Mujahideen’s successors in 2001, the dedication was changed to, “THE GALLANT PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN.”
The film even has Rambo’s mentor echoing Brzezinski when he screams at his Russian captor, “We already had our Vietnam! Now you’re gonna have yours!”

After a decade of bloody war, the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in February 1989. Later that year, the Berlin Wall fell and Romania left the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The year after, Poland and East Germany followed. And in 1991, the Warsaw Pact and then the Soviet Union itself both dissolved completely.

Brzezinski arrogantly took credit for this, claiming that his strategy of giving the USSR “its own Vietnam” brought about the Soviet “collapse.”

But it was not really a collapse. The Soviet Empire did not descend into failed-state chaos, the way Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia recently have thanks to the American War on Terror. That is what a true “collapse” looks like.

In contrast, what happened throughout the Soviet Empire was not a violent collapse, but a relinquishing of power and a generally peaceful dissolution. Such an outcome rarely results from war. To the contrary, war is the health of the State, as Randolph Bourne taught. War tends not to loosen, but to tighten a regime’s grip on power. It is not war, but peace and detente that can lead to peaceful dissolution. It is when people no longer feel so besieged by enemies abroad that they feel secure enough to demand greater freedom (even to the extent of full secession) from their “protectors” and rulers.

It was the Reagan-Thatcher-Gorbachev thaw of Reagan’s second term that created the necessary climate for ending the proxy war in Afghanistan. And it was the subsequent combination of far-abroad detente and near-abroad peace that created the necessary climate for the Soviet dissolution.

Brzezinski’s jihad did not win the Cold War. It only sowed the seeds for the Terror War.

In 1990, the US seized the emerging post-Berlin “unipolar moment” of peerless preeminence by launching its first globocop “police action”: the Persian Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.

Desert Storm was preceded by Operation Desert Shield, in which the US built up a military presence in Saudi Arabia (troops, arms, and bases) for use in staging attacks on Iraq in the upcoming war.

Contrary to US promises, the military occupation of Saudi Arabia persisted after the war, as the bases were used to enforce a blockade on Iraq throughout the 90s (which starved over a half a million children). This had a twofold impact on Islamic radicalization.

As Lawrence Wright wrote in The New Yorker:

“The presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia was a shattering event in the country’s history, calling into question the ancient bargain between the royal family and the Wahhabi clerics, whose blessing allows the Saud family to rule. In 1992, a group of the country’s most prominent religious leaders issued the Memorandum of Advice, which implicitly threatened a clerical coup. The royal family, shaken by the threat to its rule, accommodated most of the clerics’ demands, giving them more control over Saudi society. One of their directives called for the creation of a Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which would be given offices in Saudi embassies and consulates. As the journalist Philip Shenon writes, citing John Lehman, the former Secretary of the Navy and a 9/11 commissioner, “it was well-known in intelligence circles that the Islamic affairs office functioned as the Saudis’ ‘fifth column’ in support of Muslim extremists.”

The occupation of the Arabian Peninsula also began Bin Laden’s vendetta against his former patrons. As Eqbal Ahmad told it:

“He turns at a particular moment. In 1990, the U.S. goes into Saudi Arabia with forces. Saudi Arabia is the holy place of Muslims, Mecca, and Medina. There had never been foreign troops there. In 1990, during the Gulf War, they went in, in the name of helping Saudi Arabia defeat Saddam Hussein. Osama Bin Laden remained quiet.
“Saddam was defeated, but the American troops stayed on in the land of the Ka’aba [the most sacred site of Islam, in Mecca], foreign troops. He wrote letter after letter saying, ‘Why are you here? Get out! You came to help but you have stayed on.’ Finally he started a jihad against the other occupiers. His mission is to get American troops out of Saudi Arabia. His earlier mission was to get Russian troops out of Afghanistan.”

Even after this turn, the western lionization of the the Soviet-Afghan War’s Mujahideen veterans, and of Bin Laden in particular, continued into the 90s. As late as December 1993, The Independent (a major British newspaper) even published a puff piece on Bin Laden, plastered with a huge photo of the smiling sheik, titled “Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace.” The article lauded Bin Laden as a humanitarian, gushing over how the “Saudi businessman who recruited mujahedin now uses them for large-scale building projects in Sudan.”

As it turned out, his largest-scale project was to build up the international militia that the CIA helped him recruit into Al Qaeda, which he would then lead in an anti-Western terror jihad throughout the 90s. With that wave of attacks in mind, Brzezinski’s 1998 interviewers asked if he had any regrets over blowback from Operation Cyclone. The statesman was totally dismissive.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
Brzezinski: Nonsense!

Later in 1998, mere months after Brzezinski’s interview, Eqbal Ahmad delivered the exact opposite assessment of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, warning his American audience:

“They’re going to go for you. They’re going to do a lot more. These are the chickens of the Afghanistan war coming home to roost.”

Three years later, Brzezinski was proven spectacularly wrong, and Ahmad tragically right, when the terror jihad of Bin Laden’s Mujahideen-descended band of “stirred-up Moslems” culminated in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

During the planning of those attacks, Bin Laden and his inner circle were hosted by the Taliban, yet another band of Mujahideen-descended “stirred-up Moslems,” then ruling Afghanistan.

As Ahmad foretold, the chickens of the CIA’s Afghan Jihad (and of the Gulf War) had indeed come home to roost.

True to their names, Operations Cyclone and Desert Storm sowed the wind. Years later, it was 3,000 American civilians who reaped the whirlwind.

Incredibly, that whirlwind harvest was then reseeded, ensuring that still more civilians would later reap an even bigger whirlwind. Apparently cultivating chaos is the only trade that empires know. The regime and its kept news media sowed the whirlwind by exploiting America’s post-9/11 fear and anger to garner acquiescence for even larger and more frequent foreign misadventures: for a globe-spanning Long War that continues to this day.

First came the Afghanistan War against the Taliban and in pursuit of Al Qaeda. Almost inexplicably, Bin Laden escaped into hiding in US-allied Pakistan after being pinned down in the caves of Tora Bora. It is somewhat less inexplicable in light of the fact that the neocon-led Bush administration was trying to fear-monger the public into countenancing another war in Iraq, and that this involved pushing bogus intelligence connecting Saddam Hussein with Al Qaeda. At least until the regime got its post-9/11 bonus war, it was convenient to still have Dread Pirate Osama at large to keep America’s war fever up.

Better dread than dead.

Similarly, in 2002, the Bush administration denied the military’s request for permission to kill another figurehead terrorist: Abu Musab al-Zaraqawi, who had in the 80s been yet another recruit for the CIA’s Afghan Jihad. That too was likely about the administration getting its war in Iraq. At the UN, Secretary of State Colin Powell falsely identified Zarqawi as a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda (he was allied with neither, and an enemy of the former), in order to paint the planned invasion of Iraq as a necessary front in the War on Terror.

As it turned out it was the Iraq War itself that unleashed Zarqawi in 2003, freeing him to emerge from autonomous Kurdistan, where he had been hiding from Saddam’s security forces under the protective aegis of an American no-fly zone. His formerly obscure terrorist gang rapidly ascended amid the chaos of the Iraq War, becoming Al Qaeda in Iraq or AQI (after Zarqawi swore allegiance to Bin Laden), and then the Islamic State in Iraq or ISI (after Zarqawi was finally killed).

After suffering severe setbacks in Iraq, in 2011 the Zarqawiites began infiltrating neighboring Syria to take part in the insurgency against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Thereafter renaming itself ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), the group, along with its offshoot the Al Nusra Front and other Mujahideen militias, came to dominate that insurgency.

US Senator John McCain with mujahideen from the Northern Storm Brigade.

The growth of ISIS and Nusra in Syria was fed by the United States (the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA) and its Western and regional allies (the UK, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, etc.). By at least 2012, these powers had launched a veritable Operation Cyclone 2.0: recruiting, training, financing, and arming Mujahideen fighters for the purpose of overthrowing the secular ruler Assad (who, like the post-1973 secular Afghan regime, is an ally of Russia). Just as in Afghanistan decades ago, young men, radicalized by the call to jihad and militarized by the promise of weapons and money, have poured in from countries throughout the Muslim world, and from Europe too. This has not only led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and the displacement of millions, but has turbo-boosted ISIS and Nusra in myriad ways.

The Syrian Jihad, like the Afghan Jihad, was preceded by less direct and lower grade subversion using militant Islamists. In the Afghan prelude, America’s dirty work was done by Pakistan and Iran. In the Syrian prelude, it was done by the Saudis and lesser Gulf Sheikdoms, who with US approval, began sponsoring anti-Assad Salafist militias in neighboring Lebanon as early as 2006.

There were voices even among the Saudis who, like Eqbal Ahmad, darkly forebode blowback from dealing with such devils. One former Saudi diplomat warned:

“Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them. They hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.”

Yet they were drowned out by voices who, like Brzezinski, shrugged off such concerns over “stirred-up Salafis.” A US government consultant related to the great journalist Seymour Hersh that:

“This time… Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that ‘they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at…”

“Thanks for paying for our jihad in the 80s. And sorry about your towers. But this time around it’ll be totally different, trust us. Sincerely, the Wahhabis”

Yet, regarding Syria, the American deep state has been just as much sinister as it has been gullible and hubristic, if not more. As a recently disclosed Pentagon intelligence report reveals, US planners knew full well that they were once again “sowing the cyclone,” and that others would soon “reap the blowback.” The report from 2012 predicted that supporting the Syrian insurgency would create “the ideal atmosphere” for ISIS “to return to its old pockets” in Sunni Iraq and also create “the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality” in the region.

And that is precisely what happened. In 2014, strengthened by the US-backed Syrian Jihad, ISIS burst back into “its old pockets” in Iraq, conquered the northwest of the country down to the gates of Baghdad, and declared a Caliphate (a Salafist Principality).

The wind sown by Operation Cyclone took two decades to fully germinate into the blowback that blew the Twin Towers down. Yet it only took two years for us to reap the whirlwind from the Syrian Jihad. Scott Horton proposes the term “backdraft” for blowback that is so prompt and predictable: like the firestorm that immediately erupts in your face upon opening the door of a burning hot room.

The US and its allies have opened the door to Hell in Syria. And the ensuing ISIS backdraft has lately spread far beyond Syria and Iraq, consuming 44 lives in the bombing of a Beirut marketplace, 224 lives with the bombing of a Russian airliner, and 130 lives with the recent attacks in Paris.

It took longer than it did in 1979, but America’s current proxy jihad has drawn in Russia once again. The chief difference is that this time, the US and its allies are not limiting themselves to covert ops, but are involving their air forces as well. This is ostensibly to “destroy” ISIS. However, the US-led coalition also wants the Assad regime gone, while the Russian-led coalition is trying to save it and to fight the US-supported non-ISIS Mujahideen as well (including Syrian Al Qaeda). So the countless warplanes buzzing over and bombing Syria are flying at cross purposes. This has turned the Levant into a nuclear powder keg.

And now, unthinkably, a US ally may have just lit a match. Just this morning Turkey shot down a Russian warplane. Two pilots were reportedly executed by anti-Assad insurgents in mid-air. A video has emerged on the internet of insurgents standing over one of the dead Russians saying “Allahu Akbar” and apparently calling themselves “Mujahideen.”

Remember, Turkey is a NATO member, who can draw the entire West into a thermonuclear war if it picks a big enough fight. The backdraft we reap from this latest American jihad may consume us all.

Even if we survive this near-term global existential crisis, our warlords have more in store for us. The Paris attacks especially have yielded yet another crop of fear and loathing in the West, which the tillers of terror are keen to plow right back into still more proxy warfare and mayhem.

But they cannot do so if we, their tax cattle, refuse to pull the plow or let them drive us like beasts of burden that are so easily spooked and prodded. We the people must convey that if they do not stop cultivating the storms of chaos, then we will cast off their yoke once and for all.

 

israel still violating Syrian airspace in support of terrorists

Israel Air Force strikes targets in Syria near Lebanese border

Israel has reportedly hit area in the past which has served as a major transit point for Hezbollah fighters, equipment.

The Israel Air Force attacked Syrian army and Hezbollah targets in the area around Qalamoun in Syria overnight Saturday, Israel Radio reported citing Syrian forces.

The Lebanese media outlet Almustaqbal reported that there were dead and wounded Hezbollah fighters in the attack which hit the area close to the Lebanese border.

Last week, Israel reportedly attacked targets in the same area of Syria.

In that attack, the sources claimed that 13 Syrian troops and Hezbollah fighters were killed and dozens were wounded, including four seriously.

Qalamoun has been a major transit point for Hezbollah fighters and other logistical equipment to and from Syria.

In October, Syrian media reported Israeli fighter jets attacked numerous Hezbollah targets in the South of Syria including a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah fighters.

Israel has reportedly struck Hezbollah in Syria several times over the past year, although the military regularly declines to comment on foreign media reports.

Playing with fire: Labour MPs who use Syria to undermine Jeremy Corbyn

Playing with fire: Labour MPs who use Syria to undermine Jeremy Corbyn

Is Labour really going to risk once again being tarred as a party of illegal and irrational war, as it was after Tony Blair’s war on Iraq?

Hilary Benn, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, told the BBC he thought David Cameron’s case for bombing Syria was ‘compelling’.


The issue of Syria is being used as the thin edge to stage a coup against Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s (overwhelmingly) elected leader.

This week Labour MPs are likely to have to cast what will be one of the most important parliamentary votes of their career when the Prime Minister brings his proposal for Britain to join the bombing of Syria to the Commons.

It will be vital for two reasons. The first and most important is that Labour once again risks being tarred as a party of illegal and irrational war.

The 2003 vote to invade Iraq has haunted Labour ever since – losing millions of votes that have yet to be regained and causing around half the party’s membership to resign. Nothing in Labour’s history has traumatised it quite so much perhaps.

Now again Labour is being asked to support a war that lacks clear United Nations sanction – or a coherent purpose.

The war the Tories are pushing will only add to civilian deaths in Syria, to the number of refugees fleeing the country. It will further feed the cycle of violence – terrorism/war/more terror/more war – that has brought so much suffering to the region and the world this century.

It has been argued that British missiles are now so sophisticated that they don’t cause many civilian casualties as “collateral damage”. What a sinister, cold, phrase that is – it is lawyer’s language for saying where hundreds of innocents would have been killed previously, now it is merely a few dozen.

The Prime Minister has hardly made a persuasive case for Britain attacking the very people who would have benefitted from the bombing he wanted in Syria just two years ago.

Already the most powerful air forces in the world are bombing the Islamic State. Even were it the right thing to do, the RAF could add little to their so-far ineffective efforts.

Everybody agrees that IS can only be defeated by a ground army which can secure some support from the people of the region itself. Not finding one, the premier has simply invented a mythical 70,000-strong opposition army – his own version of Tony Blair’s infamous “45 minute warning” over Iraq.

This has rightly drawn widespread disbelief – to the extent that this “army” exists at all, it is largely fighters aligned with either al-qaeda or the Turkish neo-fascist “Grey Wolves”, who are hardly “moderate” and anyway will never turn against IS.

The truth is that there needs to be a peace agreement between the Assad regime and its opponents leading to a transitional administration which could then take on IS. For years, the Prime Minister has worked against such an agreement.

Former Tory MP and respected journalist Matthew Parris agrees. He wrote in The Times: “Jeremy Corbyn is right. Joining the bombing in Syria will do nobody any good. And the funny thing is, I think that in its heart Britain knows that.”

The real reason for the bombing plan is more likely the view put by one general this week that it will secure Britain “a place at the table”. A sort of macho “me too” approach to war.

I am sure most British people, never mind Labour supporters, will not regard getting Phillip Hammond a “seat at the table” as worth a single Syrian or British life.

But there is a second reason why Labour MPs vote this week will be so significant – a lesser reason in the big scheme of things, but vital for the Party’s future.

It is because the issue of Syria is being used as the thin edge to stage a coup against Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s (overwhelmingly) elected leader.

He has been denounced for writing to MPs and party members making his views on Syria clear – as if his huge mandate, which included support for his long-standing anti-war record, had simply earned him the right to be seen but not heard.

Yet at the same time members of the Shadow Cabinet are making their own pro-bombing views plain, either publicly or in off-the-record briefings.

And backbench MPs are even calling on him to quit for having the temerity to maintain his values and principles, with one even comparing him disgracefully to a “fuhrer”. That is not open debate, it is abuse and should have no place in the party.

The thought that some Labour MPs might be prepared to play intra-party politics over an issue such as this will sicken all decent people.

And they are playing with fire. Any attempt to force Labour’s leader out through a Westminster Palace-coup will be resisted all the way by Unite and, I believe, most party members and affiliated unions.

I have made it clear that I think Jeremy Corbyn is still on a leadership learning-curve. I would like to see him lead with greater firmness and authority, not less. He has, goodness knows, the mandate to do so.

But Jeremy is where he is because, among other reasons, Labour people were sick of politics-as-usual: Politics that pander to the reactionary media, that backs wars with no regard to the national interest, and that shows contempt for the views and votes of ordinary people.

I do not know whether there will be a “free vote” on Syria or not. However, that is a decision for Jeremy to make.

But we cannot have a “free-for-all” party. If those Westminster bubble-dwellers who hanker back to the politics of the past cannot show the elected leader – and those who voted for him -more respect then they are writing their own political obituaries. So be it – but the price should not be paid in Syrian lives.

Len McCluskey is General Secretary of Unite the union

Source: HuffPost

France begins censoring “alternate views”

France Starts Shutting Down Alternative Media

Every time there’s a huge terrorist threat, the public gives up their freedoms for protection from the Government. And every time, our leaders use these new laws to destroy civil liberties.

What happened to ordinary French people (and their way of life) after the recent Paris attacks? All the mainstream media are concerned with 10 days after the event is making sure that public support for the increased war effort is high. We need more footage of ambulances, their sirens blaring and lights flashing. Put it on loop, 24 hours a day, with sad images of people crying and laying wreaths, then throw in some fear in the form of some ugly-looking jihadists, and the population will be cheering on another foreign mission in no time at all.

While all that’s going on, the Government invariably rush through tougher new laws against terrorism. And if history can teach us one thing, it’s that modern terrorism laws are actually anti-civil liberty laws in disguise. Today, with perfect timing, the French version of We Are Change was censored. This is a worrying and unprecedented crackdown on the alternative media in Europe, and one which French bloggers fear is the beginning of the end for freedom of speech.

‘Le Blog De Resistance‘ is a popular French-language alternative news source with over 10 million hits and thousands of regular subscribers. The author, who calls himself Z, has been in panic mode since a state of emergency was called after the Paris attacks. This high-level alert was extended for three months, along with a pro-war propaganda campaign and the media under strict orders to terrify the population like never before. While chaos continued outside, the French Government locked themselves away to discuss new legislation which would affect the alternative media in a very negative way. Today, Z’s greatest fear was realized, and he writes:

“And so it begins. How long will this blog remain open? The worst is that the French do not care, they are totally obsessed with more security at the expense of their freedoms. The world mocks the terrible secrets revealed by Snowden. Amazing – in France, the ‘land of liberty’. Today once again I repeat, I am very afraid for freedom of expression and the alternative media. I don’t know how much longer I can write and report freely. I fear for myself. Risk taking was already intense, made worse with the slew of laws passed since the beginning of the year (anti-terrorism law, intelligence …) now, it’s huge. It’s very hard for us to write under the state of emergency. Stress and tension are everywhere.”

The tone is clear. It’s fearful and worried. It’s eerie. It sounds like it was written in Nazi Germany in 1939, not France in 2015.

Les Moutons Enrages, Sputnik France and Fawkes are other popular alternative media sites which ‘Le Blog De La Resistance’ author Z references in his post. Most remain defiant, with the first promising to ‘open up in Russia if necessary’. Z points out that Francois Hollande has been promising to silence ‘conspiracy theorists’ since January this year. We Are Change’s crime was to post a video (below) with a few questions about the Paris attacks. They seriously pissed off the authorities, and it was enough to get the French version banned for ‘reasons of national security’. Z then quotes George Orwell, and laments the fact that telling the truth is now ‘an act of suicide’.

Here’s a question: when leaders keep telling us not to allow terrorists to change our way of life, why is crushing dissent the first thing they do when something horrific happens? Isn’t dissent part of living in a free world? Aren’t protests and asking tough questions of those in power just a couple of the liberties we are supposedly trying to ‘spread‘ around the world? Isn’t that part of what makes democracy so great?

Well, apparently not. We need tougher terrorism laws because the puppet media just told us that one of the evil guys came in from Greece pretending to be a refugee, and he even left a passport (later proven to be fake) outside the burning building he just escaped from. We need them because, despite the fact you or I could be arrested at home for an ‘offensive tweet’ within minutes of putting it out there, our intelligence agencies are supposedly too under-resourced to successfully track down a few ISIS Twitter accounts. They’re so crap, Anonymous had to step in and do their jobs for them. It’s strange how terrible the intelligence services are when it suits the agenda: Snowden has revealed how the government can control your mobile phone and listen in on your conversations even when it’s turned off, but somehow the real terrorists get to perfect their complicated and evil schemes without any detection at all. How very convenient.

Yep, the intelligence services are doing a terrible job. They have proven themselves incapable of predicting horrific attacks in advance, despite the fact that as soon as a terror attack occurs, a huge list of details is magically available to the media. How was it possible, for example, that alleged Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev‘s personal Amazon wishlist was being discussed well before the time it would take the authorities to even look at all the CCTV footage of the marathon? These perceived (ie fake) failings may lead many to support increased spying measures for the ever-growing sprawling network of global surveillance tentacles, but it’s worth asking whether these incompetencies are even real, because all terrorism laws tend to do is systematically dismantle what is left of our civil liberties.

We support our French independent media friends in their struggle against censorship. The following quote is falsely attributed to the French philosopher Voltaire, who was a great defender of freedom (and would no doubt be turning in his grave about France’s new gag laws). It turns out Voltaire didn’t say this, rather it was said about him- a friend’s description of the great man’s philosophy- which seems more relevant to his countrymen today than ever.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Note: The video that got ‘We are Change’ banned from the French internet can be seen below. The video above explains more about the censorship founder Luke Rudkowski is facing. Please share this story if you believe the independent media is vital in a democratic society to hold those in power to account, and let us know your thoughts below.

 

EU may give an open invitation to ISIS terrorists with a visa-free offer to Turkey

EU May Introduce Visa-Free Regime With Turkey in Autumn 2016

The European Union will introduce a visa-free regime with Turkey in autumn 2016, in case Ankara meets all outstanding requirements, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Sunday.

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – Earlier, President of the European Council Donald Tusk stated that the European Union and Turkey at a meeting in Brussels on Sunday approved a joint plan to boost negotiations on its membership in the bloc.

“If all conditions are met, I think that visa liberalization could take effect in the autumn of 2016,” Juncker told reporters after an EU-Turkey meeting in Brussels.

 

 

Britain to Vote on Bombing Syria: There Are Thousands of Reasons Not to

Britain to Vote on Bombing Syria: There Are Thousands of Reasons Not to

cameron

On Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron stood up in Parliament and told all the MPs how very important it was that the United Kingdom joined the orgy of bombing Syria. He is closely following Tony Blair’s path to Iraq, using fear of ‘terrorism’, exaggerating so-called ‘intelligence’ and wanting desperately to be seen as a tough leader. In a few days MPs will hold a vote on this and he’s sent them all home to ‘think it over’ during the weekend.

There are many reasons why Members of Parliament should not vote in favour of bombing Syria. The most obvious reason is that it would simply be immoral, if only because totally innocent civilians would be killed, injured, maimed, made homeless, parentless or childless. But ‘voting with your conscience’ often seems to include military might.

Those who favour military action will immediately talk about precision targeting, an impossibility where missiles and bombs are concerned. On a drone operator’s screen or in a smaller screen in a fighter jet way up in the air, you cannot guarantee that the building is empty of people, or that the ‘terrorist’ base only houses militants. Where people are, there will necessarily also be civilians, supposedly protected by international law.

And there is the temptation to use too much of the power at your disposal, like the Americans using a Cruise missile to ‘take out’ a Taliban leader travelling in a car through an Afghan market square. Just possibly the ‘intelligence’ was correct and the said Taliban leader was blown to bits. The other shredded people are just ‘collateral damage’. But – a whole Cruise missile to assassinate one man?

Another reason is that joining in the bombing crusade would make it more likely that Britain would suffer retaliatory attacks on its home soil. This is not something most MPs want to consider. They will go on denying that the West’s violent interference in the Middle East and other majority Muslim states has caused much of the terrorism they say bombing Syria will protect us from. But few politicians like to take responsibility for past actions.

And make no mistake, the word ‘crusade’ is an apt one for that is certainly, initiated by George W Bush, what the West is fighting. So too is IS/Daesh/ISIS/ISIL. When they first appeared on the horizon their stated aim was to reach back into the origins of Islam and create a grand caliphate. And why do you think one of their names is ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant? The Levant is what the medieval Crusaders called the Middle East.

Where are the MPs who are wise enough to bring an end to this silliness? But no, they’ll happily swallow David Cameron’s ‘intelligence’ that claims there are 70,000 ‘moderate’ rebels in Syria, a figure disputed by all those better informed about the region than Cameron. I suppose we should be glad he has not yet told us ISIS can reach us in 45 minutes.

He speaks of the ‘rebels’, but as almost all the fighters have come from other countries (the majority apparently from Europe), they really can’t be said to be rebelling against a government that is not theirs. Nor is it, as he claims, a ‘civil war’, the whole sorry mess having been engineered by William Roebuck from inside the US Embassy in Damascus back in 2006 because, according to Roebuck, President Assad was too popular, not just in Syria but in “the region”, all fully documented in the leaked cables between Damascus and Washington.

Then there are legal reasons why the UK should not bomb Syria. Cameron has repeatedly insisted that ‘Assad must be removed’. But President Assad is the democratically elected leader. Despite the difficulties an election was held last year and delegates from more than 30 countries said the election was “free, fair and transparent” (he had been voted in for a second term back in 2007).

International law has this to say about interfering in another state’s business or removing its leader:

1970 UN Declaration on Principles of International Law’ Point 6;

“No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements are in violation of international law.”

That is clear enough. The UK was illegal in Afghanistan, illegal in Iraq, illegal in Libya and now it wants to be illegal in Syria too. The US and France are illegally acting in Syria. ISIS and all the other ‘rebel’ fighters are there illegally. Apart from Syria’s own military forces, the only forces that have a legal presence there are the Russians and the Iranians – because President Assad invited them.

We also cannot wage ‘war’ on terrorists. Terrorism is not an act of war but a crime which, legally, the police should deal with, not armies. Cameron claims that bombing Syria (an act of war upon another state) will “keep our country safe”. But one state can only go to war with another state if that state has physically attacked the first. Syria has attacked no one, for which good and neighbourly policy it is being bombed out of existence.

Further, we would, according to him, be ‘defending our values’. Cameron’s big on British values. I presume that includes the ability to bomb other countries and their poor terrified civilians. That is a value I for one can do without.

Cameron is also relying heavily on the UN Resolution recently passed that “ urges UN member states to take all necessary measures to combat ISIL/Daesh in Iraq and Syria because of the unprecedented threat it represents to international peace and security.” However, ‘all necessary measures’ does not automatically authorise military force; that needs a Chapter VII Resolution. It would not make UK airstrikes legal. But this is not the first, sixth, or twentieth time that our leaders have demonstrated how little they care for law.

And when will ‘all necessary measures’ include such things as diplomacy rather than turkey-strut braggadacio? Why should bombing be the one and only option? What good has bombing ever done, except to cause damage and grief?

For there are hundreds, no, many thousands of reasons why MPs should vote against bombing Syria – the countless children in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria, damaged by the West’s ‘precision targeting’. You can see some of them here, illustrating a song called Somewhere in Baghdad.* and it will tear your heart out.

http://notinournamecd.co.uk/somewhere-in-baghdad-christmas-2015

Whatever else you do in the next few days, persuade your MPs, whatever their party, to watch this video. It will only take 4 precious minutes of their time, and if it doesn’t convince them that we must not bomb, then quite frankly, they are not fit to represent us.

* This song is part of a CD titled Not in Our Name, and it will be released on December 10. It came out of a ‘Project for Christmas’ organised by members of the Impeach Tony Blair Facebook Group. The writers, singers, musicians and everyone else who helped create this CD freely gave their time and talent and paid for the production of the album. All the proceeds will go to Blair’s victims in Iraq.

 

Nasser Kandil: Monthly Analysis on Turkish- Russian conflict on Syria

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The Dirty War on Syria

dirty
Global Research, November 27, 2015

The following text is the introductory chapter of  Professor Tim Anderson’s forthcoming book entitled The Dirty War on Syria

Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. The British-Australian journalist Philip Knightley pointed out that war propaganda typically involves ‘a depressingly predictable pattern’ of demonising the enemy leader, then demonising the enemy people through atrocity stories, real or imagined (Knightley 2001). Accordingly, a mild-mannered eye doctor called Bashar al Assad became the new evil in the world and, according to consistent western media reports, the Syrian Army did nothing but kill civilians for more than four years. To this day, many imagine the Syrian conflict is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or some sort of internal sectarian conflict. These myths are, in many respects, a substantial achievement for the big powers which have driven a series of ‘regime change’ operations in the Middle East region, all on false pretexts, over the past 15 years.

Dr. Tim Anderson

This book is a careful academic work, but also a strong defence of the right of the Syrian people to determine their own society and political system. That position is consistent with international law and human rights principles, but may irritate western sensibilities, accustomed as we are to an assumed prerogative to intervene. At times I have to be blunt, to cut through the double-speak. In Syria the big powers have sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies while demonising the Syrian Government and Army, accusing them of constant atrocities; then pretending to rescue the Syrian people from their own government. Far fewer western people opposed the war on Syria than opposed the invasion of Iraq, because they were deceived about its true nature.

In 2011 I had only a basic understanding of Syria and its history. However I was deeply suspicious when reading of the violence that erupted in the southern border town of Daraa. I knew that such violence (sniping at police and civilians, the use of semi-automatic weapons) does not spring spontaneously from street demonstrations. And I was deeply suspicious of the big powers. All my life I had been told lies about the pretexts for war. I decided to research the Syrian conflict, reading hundreds of books and articles, watching many videos and speaking to as many Syrians as I could. I wrote dozens of articles and visited Syria twice, during the conflict. This book is a result of that research.

Dirty wars are not new. Cuban national hero Jose Martí predicted to a friend that Washington would try to intervene in Cuba’s independence struggle against the Spanish. ‘They want to provoke a war’, he wrote in 1889 ‘to have a pretext to intervene and, with the authority of being mediator and guarantor, to seize the country … There is no more cowardly thing in the annals of free people; nor such cold blooded evil’ (Martí 1975: 53). Nine years later, during the third independence war, an explosion in Havana Harbour destroyed the USS Maine, killing 258 US sailors and serving as a pretext for a US invasion.

The subsequent ‘Spanish-American’ war snatched victory from the Cubans and allowed the US to take control of the remaining Spanish colonial territories. Cuba had territory annexed and a deeply compromised constitution was imposed. No evidence ever proved the Spanish were responsible for the bombing of the Maine and many Cubans believe the North Americans bombed their own ship. The monument in Havana, in memory of those sailors, still bears this inscription: ‘To the victims of the Maine who were sacrificed to imperialist voracity and the desire to gain control of the island of Cuba’ (Richter 1998).

The US launched dozens of interventions in Latin America over the subsequent century. A notable dirty war was led by CIA-backed, ‘freedom fighter’ mercenaries based in Honduras, who attacked the Sandinista Government and the people of Nicaragua in the 1980s. That conflict, in its modus operandi, was not so different to the war on Syria. In Nicaragua more than 30,000 people were killed. The International Court of Justice found the US guilty of a range of terrorist-style attacks on the little Central American country, and found that the US owed Nicaragua compensation (ICJ 1986). Washington ignored these rulings.

With the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 the big powers took advantage of a political foment by seizing the initiative to impose an ‘Islamist winter’, attacking the few remaining independent states of the region. Very quickly we saw the destruction of Libya, a small country with the highest standard of living in Africa. NATO bombing and a Special Forces campaign helped the al Qaeda groups on the ground. The basis for NATO’s intervention was lies told about actual and impending massacres, supposedly carried out or planned by the government of President Muammar Gaddafi. These claims led rapidly to a UN Security Council resolution said to protect civilians through a ‘no fly zone’. We know now that trust was betrayed, and that the NATO powers abused the limited UN authorisation to overthrow the Libyan Government (McKinney 2012).

Subsequently, no evidence emerged to prove that Gaddafi intended, carried out or threatened wholesale massacres, as was widely suggested (Forte 2012). Genevieve Garrigos of Amnesty International (France) admitted there was ‘no evidence’ to back her group’s earlier claims that Gaddafi had used ‘black mercenaries’ to commit massacres (Forte 2012; Edwards 2013).

Alan Kuperman, drawing mainly on North American sources, demonstrates the following points. First, Gaddafi’s crackdown on the mostly Islamist insurrection in eastern Libya was ‘much less lethal’ than had been suggested. Indeed there was evidence that he had had ‘refrained from indiscriminate violence’. The Islamists were themselves armed from the beginning. From later US estimates, of the almost one thousand casualties in the first seven weeks, about three percent were women and children (Kuperman 2015). Second, when government forces were about to regain the east of the country, NATO intervened, claiming this was to avert an impending massacre. Ten thousand people died after the NATO intervention, compared to one thousand before. Gaddafi had pledged no reprisals in Benghazi and ‘no evidence or reason’ came out to support the claim that he planned mass killings (Kuperman 2015). The damage was done. NATO handed over the country to squabbling groups of Islamists and western aligned ‘liberals’. A relatively independent state was overthrown, but Libya was destroyed. Four years on there is no functioning government and violence persists; and that war of aggression against Libya went unpunished.

Two days before NATO bombed Libya another armed Islamist insurrection broke out in Daraa, Syria’s southernmost city. Yet because this insurrection was linked to the demonstrations of a political reform movement, its nature was disguised. Many did not see that those who were providing the guns – Qatar and Saudi Arabia – were also running fake news stories in their respective media channels, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. There were other reasons for the durable myths of this war. Many western audiences, liberals and leftists as well as the more conservative, seemed to like the idea of their own role as the saviours of a foreign people, speaking out strongly about a country of which they knew little, but joining what seemed to be a ‘good fight’ against this new ‘dictator’. With a mission and their proud self-image western audiences apparently forgot the lies of previous wars, and of their own colonial legacies.

I would go so far as to say that, in the Dirty War on Syria, western culture in general abandoned its better traditions: of reason, the maintenance of ethical principle and the search for independent evidence at times of conflict; in favour of its worst traditions: the ‘imperial prerogative’ for intervention, backed by deep racial prejudice and poor reflection on the histories of their own cultures. That weakness was reinforced by a ferocious campaign of war propaganda. After the demonisation of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad began, a virtual information blockade was constructed against anything which might undermine the wartime storyline. Very few sensible western perspectives on Syria emerged after 2011, as critical voices were effectively blacklisted.

In that context I came to write this book. It is a defence of Syria, not primarily addressed to those who are immersed the western myths but to others who engage with them. This is therefore a resource book and a contribution to the history of the Syrian conflict. The western stories have become self-indulgent and I believe it is wasteful to indulge them too much. Best, I think, to speak of current events as they are, then address the smokescreens later. I do not ignore the western myths, in fact this book documents many of them. But I lead with the reality of the war.

Western mythology relies on the idea of imperial prerogatives, asking what must ‘we’ do about the problems of another people; an approach which has no basis in international law or human rights. The next steps involve a series of fabrications about the pretexts, character and events of the war. The first pretext over Syria was that the NATO states and the Gulf monarchies were supporting a secular and democratic revolution. When that seemed implausible the second story was that they were saving the oppressed majority ‘Sunni Muslim’ population from a sectarian ‘Alawite regime’. Then, when sectarian atrocities by anti-government forces attracted greater public attention, the pretext became a claim that there was a shadow war: ‘moderate rebels’ were said to be actually fighting the extremist groups. Western intervention was therefore needed to bolster these ‘moderate rebels’ against the ‘new’ extremist group that had mysteriously arisen and posed a threat to the world.

That was the ‘B’ story. No doubt Hollywood will make movies based on this meta-script, for years to come. However this book leads with the ‘A’ story. Proxy armies of Islamists, armed by US regional allies (mainly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey), infiltrate a political reform movement and snipe at police and civilians. They blame this on the government and spark an insurrection, seeking the overthrow of the Syrian government and its secular-pluralist state. This follows the openly declared ambition of the US to create a ‘New Middle East’, subordinating every country of the region, by reform, unilateral disarmament or direct overthrow. Syria was next in line, after Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. In Syria, the proxy armies would come from the combined forces of the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi fanatics. Despite occasional power struggles between these groups and their sponsors, they share much the same Salafist ideology, opposing secular or nationalist regimes and seeking the establishment of a religious state.

However in Syria Washington’s Islamists confronted a disciplined national army which did not disintegrate along religious lines, despite many provocations. The Syrian state also had strong allies in Russia and Iran. Syria was not to be Libya Take Two. In this prolonged war the violence, from the western side, was said to consist of the Syrian Army targeting and killing civilians. From the Syrian side people saw daily terrorist attacks on towns and cities, schools and hospitals and massacres of ordinary people by NATO’s ‘freedom fighters’, then the counter attacks by the Army. Foreign terrorists were recruited in dozens of countries by the Saudis and Qatar, bolstering the local mercenaries.

Though the terrorist groups were often called ‘opposition, ‘militants’ and ‘Sunni groups’ outside Syria, inside the country the actual political opposition abandoned the Islamists back in early 2011. Protest was driven off the streets by the violence, and most of the opposition (minus the Muslim Brotherhood and some exiles) sided with the state and the Army, if not with the ruling Ba’ath Party. The Syrian Army has been brutal with terrorists but, contrary to western propaganda, protective of civilians. The Islamists have been brutal with all, and openly so. Millions of internally displaced people have sought refuge with the Government and Army, while others fled the country.

In a hoped-for ‘end game’ the big powers sought overthrow of the Syrian state or, failing that, the creation of a dysfunctional state or dismembering into sectarian statelets, thus breaking the axis of independent regional states. That axis comprises Hezbollah in south Lebanon and the Palestinian resistance, alongside Syria and Iran, the only states in the region without US military bases. More recently Iraq – still traumatised from western invasion, massacres and occupation – has begun to align itself with this axis. Russia too has begun to play an important counter-weight role. Recent history and conduct demonstrate that neither Russia nor Iran harbour any imperial ambitions remotely approaching those of Washington and its allies, several of which (Britain, France and Turkey) were former colonial warlords in the region. From the point of view of the ‘Axis of Resistance’, defeat of the dirty war on Syria means that the region can begin closing ranks against the big powers. Syria’s successful resistance would mean the beginning of the end for Washington’s ‘New Middle East’.

That is basically the big picture. This book sets out to document the A story and expose the B story. It does so by rescuing some of the better western traditions: the use of reason, the maintenance of ethical principle and the search for independent evidence in case of conflict. I hope it might prove a useful resource. Here is a brief overview of the chapters.

Chapter 2, ‘Syria and Washington’s ‘New Middle East’’ puts Syria in context of the US plans for a ‘New Middle East’, the latest chapter in a longer history of US attempts to dominate the region.

Chapter 3, ‘Barrel Bombs, Partisan Sources and War Propaganda’ addresses the problem of reporting and reading the Syrian crisis. Media channels have shown a hyper-reliance on partisan sources, committed to the war and denigrating the Syrian Army. This is the key barrier to understanding the controversies around chemical weapons, civilian massacres and the levels of support for or opposition to President Assad.

Chapter 4, ‘Daraa 2011: Another Islamist Insurrection’ reconstructs, from a range of sources, the Saudi-backed Islamist insurrection in Daraa in March 2011. Those armed attacks were quite distinct from the political reform rallies, which the Islamists soon drove off the streets.

Chapter 5, ‘Bashar al Assad and Political Reform’ explains the political reform movement from the time Bashar assumed the presidency in the year 2000 to the beginning of the crisis in 2011. From this we can see that most opposition groups were committed to reform within a Syrian context, with virtually all opposing attacks on the Syrian state. The chapter then reviews the role of Bashar as a reformer, and the evidence on his popularity.

Chapter 6, ‘The Empire’s Jihadis’ looks at the collaboration between Salafist political Islam and the imperial powers in the Middle East. Distinct from the anti-imperial Islamic currents in Iran and south Lebanon, Salafist political Islam has become a sectarian force competing with Arab nationalism across Egypt, Palestine and Syria, and drawing on long standing collaborative relations with the big powers. This history provides important background to the character of Syria’s Islamist ‘revolution’, and its various slogans.

Chapter 7, ‘Embedded Media, Embedded Watchdogs’ identifies the propaganda techniques of media channels and the network of ‘human rights’ bodies (Human Rights Watch, Avaaz, etc) which function as megaphones and ‘moderators’ for the Washington agenda. Many have become fierce advocates for ‘humanitarian war’. A number of newer western NGOs (e.g. The Syria Campaign, The White Helmets) have been created by Wall Street agencies specifically for the dirty war on Syria. A number of their fabrications are documented here.

Chapter 8, ‘The Houla Massacre Revisited’ considers in detail the evidence from the first major massacre designed (following success of the technique over Libya) to influence UN Security Council consideration of military intervention. While the first UN inquiry group, actually in Syria, found contradictory evidence on this massacre, a second UN group outside Syria and co-chaired by a US diplomat, tried to blame the Syrian Government. Yet more than a dozen witnesses blamed Farouq FSA Islamists, who killed pro-government villagers and took over the area, holding it for some months. Several other ‘false flag’ massacres are noted.

Chapter 9, ‘Chemical Fabrications: the East Ghouta Incident’ details the second major ‘false flag’ incident of international significance. This incident in August 2013, which nearly sparked a major escalation involving US missile attacks on Syria, was used to accuse the Syrian Government of killing hundreds of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons. Within a fairly short time multiple sources of independent evidence (including North American evidence) disproved these accusations. Nevertheless, Syria’s opponents have repeated the false accusations, to this day, as though they were fact.

Chapter 10, ‘A Responsibility to Protect and the Double Game’ addresses a recent political doctrine, a subset of ‘humanitarian intervention’ popularised to add to the imperial toolkit. The application of this doctrine in Libya was disastrous for that little country. Fortunately the attempts to use it in Syria failed.

Chapter 11, ‘Health and Sanctions’ documents the NATO-backed Islamist attacks on Syria’s health system, linked to the impact of western economic sanctions. These twin currents have caused great damage to Syrian public health. Such attacks carry no plausible motive of seeking local popular support, so we must interpret them as part of an overall strategy to degrade the Syrian state, rendering it more vulnerable to outside intervention.

Chapter 12 ‘Washington, Terrorism and ISIS: the evidence’, documents the links between the big powers and the latest peak terrorist group they claim to be fighting. Only evidence can help develop informed opinion on this contentious matter, but the evidence is overwhelming. There is little ideological difference between the various Salafi-Islamist groups, and Washington and its allies have financed and armed every one of them.

Chapter 13, ‘Western Intervention and the Colonial Mind’ discusses the western cultural mindset that underlies persistent violations of the rights of other peoples.

Chapter 14 ‘Towards an Independent Middle East’, considers the end-game in the Syrian crisis, and its implications for the Middle East region. At tremendous cost the Syrian Arab Republic, its army and its people, have successfully resisted aggression from a variety of powerful enemies. Syria’s survival is due to its resilience and internal unity, bolstered by support from some strong allies. The introduction of Russian air power in late September 2015 was important. So too were the coordinated ground forces from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, in support of an independent Syria.

When the attacks on Syria abate the Middle East seems set to be transformed, with greater political will and military preparedness on the part of an expanded Axis of Resistance. That will signal the beginning of the end for Washington’s 15 year spree of bloodshed and ‘regime change’ across the entire region.

Notes:

Edwards, Dave (2013) ‘Limited But Persuasive’ Evidence – Syria, Sarin, Libya, Lies’, Media Lens, 13 June, online:http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/alerts-2013/735-limited-but-persuasive-evidence-syria-sarin-libya-lies.html

Forte, Maximilian (2012) Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa, Baraka Books, Quebec

ICJ (1986) Case concerning the military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America) Merits’, International Court of Justice, Judgement of 27 June 1986, online: http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/?sum=367&p1=3&p2=3&case=70&p3=5

Knightley, Phillip (2001) ‘The disinformation campaign’, The Guardian, 4 October, online:http://www.theguardian.com/education/2001/oct/04/socialsciences.highereducation

Kuperman, Alan J. (2015) Obama’s Libya Debacle’, Foreign Affairs, 16 April, online:https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/libya/2015-02-16/obamas-libya-debacle

Martí, Jose (1975) Obras Completas, Vol. 6, Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, La Habana

McKinney, Cynthia (Ed) (2012) The Illegal War on Libya, Clarity Press, Atlanta

Putin, Vladimir (2015) ‘Violence instead of democracy: Putin slams ‘policies of exceptionalism and impunity’ in UN speech’, RT, 28 September, online: https://www.rt.com/news/316804-putin-russia-unga-speech/

Richter, Larry (1998) ‘Havana Journal; Remember the Maine? Cubans See an American Plot Continuing to This Day’, New York Times, 14 February, online: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/14/world/havana-journal-remember-maine-cubans-see-american-plot-continuing-this-day.html

Dr Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He researches and writes on development, rights and self-determination in Latin America, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. He has published many dozens of chapters and articles in a range of academic books and journals. His last book was Land and Livelihoods in Papua New Guinea (Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2015).

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  

 

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Rogue State Britain

Britain’s Barbaric "Special Relationship" with Arab Dictators

Britain proves time and again it’s a loyal imperial partner, participating in all US wars of aggression overtly or covertly, rule of law principles be damned.
Washington wants the November 13 Paris false flag along with Brussels violence and lockdown used as a pretext for escalated bombing of Syrian targets, not ISIS and other terrorists. Britain’s David Cameron intends holding a parliamentary vote on greater UK involvement in Obama’s war on Assad – likely this week.
He lied claiming an imminent ISIS threat to Britain’s homeland when the only thing its people need fear is state-sponsored terrorism, a false flag like in Paris.
Defense Secretary Michael Fallon lied like Cameron, saying “(t)he threat to the UK is extremely high. An attack is highly likely so we have to respond. What happened in Paris and Brussels could easily happen in London” or other UK cities.
“These aren’t people you can negotiate with. You can only deal with them by force.” False! The simple way to defeat them is stop supporting them. Without Western and regional help, they’ll shrivel to no more than a pest or nuisance.
Fallon claiming UK bombing in Iraq and covertly in Syria is “making a big difference” is polar opposite truth. Partnered with Washington, zero ISIS and other terrorists targets have been hit in over a year of bombing in both countries – just infrastructure and government sites.
Fallon ranting about “need(ing) to hit ISIL harder and deal with this death cult once and for all” ignores his government’s support for its elements. Britain like America is hell bent on ousting Assad and opposing Russia’s real war on terrorism, having a major effect.
Cameron, Obama and rogue partners perpetuate the myth about supporting so-called “moderate” rebels when none exist. Britain’s leader lied “about 70,000 Syrian opposition fighters on the ground who do not belong to extremist groups.”
No one can find them for obvious reasons. All anti-Assad elements are terrorists – imported from scores of countries, supported by Washington, Britain, France, Turkey, other NATO members, Israel and regional rogue states, armed and taught how to commit gruesome atrocities.
Sovereign Syria is fighting for its existence, Russian support crucial. UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn strongly opposes Cameron’s rage for war. Bombing will make things “worse, not better,” he explains.
He’ll decide whether to impose the whip on Labour MPs, he said. “It’s the leader who decides. I will make up my mind in due course. “Labour membership must have a voice. Labour MPs need to listen to that voice and try to understand where they are coming from.”
He questions Cameron’s Big Lie about 70,000 moderates. Resolving Syria’s conflict requires ending support for ISIS, halting their oil revenue source, and working toward a political settlement.
He’s urging Labour’s ruling national executive committee to back his efforts to persuade party MPs to support him.
Russia allied with Syrian ground forces are the best hope to defeat America’s imperial agenda, aiming to make the world safe for Western monied interests at the expense of peace and stability.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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.

 

 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian 

  

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On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – Palestinians insistence to confront the occupation and its tools

PALESTINE

11/28/2015 1:17

On November 29, 1947, after Great Britain–the mandatory power in Palestine–had asked the United Nations to meet in a special session to discuss the “problem of Palestine,” the General Assembly passed Resolution 181 (II) to end the British mandate by August 1, 1948. The centerpiece of this historic resolution, however, was to partition Palestine and call for the establishment, after a transition period, of “Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem.”

This United Nations decision unleashed a catastrophe whose reverberations Palestinians continue to experience until today. Three-quarters of a million Palestinian Arabs–who were the majority of the population of historic Palestine–fled for their lives after experiencing or learning of massacres by Zionist paramilitary organizations, or were expelled from their homes during the ensuing Arab-Israeli war of 1948. By the 1949 armistice, the original partition lines had shifted violently so that Israel’s footprint became much larger than envisioned by the proposed partition plan–it was accorded 55 percent by the plan, but seized an additional 23 percent of Palestinian territory. At present, the drastically reduced Palestinian land continues to be occupied by the Israeli military and Jerusalem is occupied and divided with Israel controlling and limiting access to religious sites. Palestinians originally displaced during the Nakba (the Arabic word for Catastrophe–what the Palestinians call the 1948 war when they lost their homeland) are still prevented from exercising the right to return to their homes in what is now Israel. And contrary to the resolution (and to the Fourth Geneva Convention) Israel has expropriated additional vast tracts of Palestinian territory for its own use and especially for the building and transfer of its own Israeli citizens to illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Thirty years after the UN partition plan, the General Assembly passed a new resolution proclaiming an annual observation, on November 29th, to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The particular date, the UN notes, “was chosen because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people… Of the two States to be created under this resolution, only one, Israel, has so far come into being.”

UN Resolutions 32/40 (1977), 34/65 (1979), and subsequent General Assembly mandates enshrine the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Observances at UN offices in New York, Geneva, and Vienna include special bulletins, cultural events, and meetings that feature high level speakers, such as the UN Secretary-General and the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council, as well as messages from the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. The United Nations describes the day as providing

“an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine remained unresolved and that the Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly, namely, the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced.”

The fact is that this historic dislocation has resulted in a massive diaspora for the Palestinian people living in the Palestinian territories, Israel, Arab countries, and beyond. The total population of Palestinians numbered about 11.8 million as of the end of 2013, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. This figure comprises 4.5 million in Palestine, 1.4 million in Israel, 5.2 million in Arab countries, and approximately 665,000 in other countries throughout the world.

In November of 2012, exactly 65 years after the UN’s partition plan, the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to grant Palestine non-member observer state status at the United Nations. The report of the Secretary-General, one of the documents used to consider this vote, ended with the following words:

“As Secretary-General, I will continue to ensure that the United Nations works towards the establishment of an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace with a secure Israel in the framework of a comprehensive regional settlement consistent with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1860 (2009), and in accordance with the Quartet road map, the Arab Peace Initiative and the principle of land for peace.”

Despite numerous declarations and resolutions by the United Nations concerning Israel and Palestine, the status of the Palestinian people remains unresolved, precarious, and unjust. They have not attained their rights to “self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced.” In fact, about half of the world’s Palestinian population continues to live as refugees and in exile. Those who are citizens of Israel are treated as second class citizens, while those in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem live under various levels of repressive military occupation and witness, daily, the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

Although UN member states have tried since the late forties to propose and gain support for resolutions that push for Palestinian human and national rights, their efforts have largely been derailed, particularly in the form of vetoes by powerful members such as the United States. At the same time, it is also important to remember that many UN agencies, especially UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees), have played a crucial role in providing assistance to the refugees since 1950; UNRWA continues to serve as a lifeline to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People honors all those who have struggled for Palestinian independence and all the Palestinians who have lived and died in wars, under occupation, as refugees, and in exile.

Zeina Azzam is executive director of The Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, the Palestine Center. The views expressed are her own.

12 injured as Palestinians clash with IDF in Ramallah




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