HAMAS ARRESTS 45 ‘ISRAELI SPIES’ IN GAZA STRIP

Hamas Arrests 45 'Israeli Spies' In Gaza Strip

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Hamas arrested 45 Palestinians who were allegedly Israeli “spies and collaborators,” linked to a botch Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) raid, Hamas interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum said in a statement on January 8th.

The Palestinians were allegedly recruited by Israel and have been arrested following the failed IDF covert mission in the Gaza Strip on November 11th.

The security services were able to arrest 45 agents after the security incident east of Khan Yunis last November and they are under investigation,” Hamas’ interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum said in a statement. No additional information was provided, it is unclear if the arrested suspects played any direct role in the incursion.

The arrested Palestinians were allegedly recruited by Israeli agents over the phone and social media, most often by blackmail. Despite Hamas managing to arrest “many spies” over the years, the Israelis continue to recruit Palestinian agents to “help them commit crimes against our people,” the Hamas spokesman said, appealing to those who are being coerced by the IDF to turn themselves in.

The November 11 special forces operation, details of which the Israeli military has kept largely secret, turned deadly when the undercover soldiers were spotted near Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

The ensuing firefight claimed the lives of an Israeli army officer and seven Palestinian militants, including a local commander from Hamas’ military wing.

“Hamas is attempting to understand and analyze the incident that occurred in Gaza on November 11 and any information, even if it seems harmless by those who distribute it, can endanger lives and put state security at risk,” the army said at the time.

Following the incident, Hamas published photos of eight people and two vehicles allegedly linked to the IDF operation. The individuals in the pictures were not identified by Hamas itself.

In response, Hamas and Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine launched over 400 rockets and projectiles into southern Israel, prompting the IDF to respond by striking over 150 targets in the Palestinian enclave.

Following the two-day escalation, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned, as a result of an Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal, which he considered a “capitulation to terror.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assumed the Defense Minister seat, in addition to already being the Health Minister and Foreign Minister.

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Saudi Media vs. Trump

Hussein Samawarchi

As unfortunate and, even, at times, heartbreaking as the political situation which is governing some of the Gulf States is, comedy always makes its way into their state media. In their desperate attempts to please Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby governing Capitol Hill, certain Arab regimes have made the Islamic Republic of Iran, and all that is related to it, their main concern.

The hundreds of millions of dollars they have budgeted towards defaming Iran could have fed not only the needy of their own countries but also those of all the Islamic nations. Then again, had they not wasted all these funds, they would have failed to appease the “Israeli” master whose satisfaction promises pulling the right strings in Washington to protect their thrones.

The Saudi regime has a horde of characters appearing on political talk shows as guests; they are introduced as analysts, university professors, clergymen, and reporters. Judging by the lack of linguistic, journalistic, and debate skills displayed by the overwhelming majority of these pushed guests, it would be fair to doubt their titles. Still, they don’t seem to stop appearing everywhere.

The funny thing is that they are so overzealous in being in line with the “Israelis” that they have rendered the “Israeli” propaganda machine inferior. The Zionist military’s Arabic language spokesperson known for his 1950’s eyeglasses and excruciatingly painful to the ears Arabic accent, Avichay Adraee, should soon become redundant because of them.

The Saudi based newspaper OKAZ published an article calling HAMAS a terrorist organization in which it described how the Palestinian resistance movement is actually a traitor to the cause and how it, deliberately, puts the residents of Gaza in mortal danger. The Wahhabi publication failed to mention how “Israel” is an illegal occupying entity which butchers Gazan women and children “deliberately.” The article impressed the “Israelis” so much that they publicized it throughout the internet. The Jerusalem Post even commented on it, saying “The ‘Israeli’ Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) could just copy and paste the article on their Arabic-speaking website.”

The so-called media that is run by the Saudi intelligence services is so sadly idiotic that it tried to link Iran to ISIS. Even if we presume that the general public is unaware of the ISIS training camps in Saudi Arabia or that ISIS follows the Wahhabi teachings and that the base of Wahhabism is in Saudi Arabia, then any half-witted person would at least know that Iran represents the Shi’a sect and that ISIS was founded on hating and killing Shiites. This is how absurd their attempts to demonize Iran are.

Iran never sought to defend itself against those allegations. When the issue was discussed, it was always done lightly; Iranian diplomacy is too wise to dignify unfounded accusations or give importance to mediocre voices. Restraint paid off in the end; the Saudi media mercenaries ended up receiving a blow from their biggest ally: President Trump.

In a Tweet yesterday regarding the decision to pull out of Syria, he wrote:

“Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the U.S. leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us.”

Now is a good time to watch those Saudi guests on political talk shows again after Trump confessed to ISIS actually being the enemy of Iran, pointing out the lack of love of the Iranians towards the Wahhabi terror group. Do they dare contradict his statement?

Interesting days lie ahead as the axis that was forged with the sole purpose of weakening the resistance coalition begins entering a self-destruct mode. Political karma is at work and it is amusing.

Source: Al-Ahed News

من “أوسلو” إلى “صفقة القرن”: حكاية تلازم المسار والمصير، والرجل، الرجل، الذي لم يوقع

من “أوسلو” إلى “صفقة القرن”: حكاية تل

محاولات حثيثة تبذلها أمريكا مع شركائها الخليجيين والكيان الإسرائيلي من أجل تنفيذ الفصل الأخير من تصفية القضية الفلسطينية، وذلك عبر إبرام صفقة القرن مع قادة المنطقة، وتطويع الرأي العام العربي والإسلامي، لتقبّل الكيان الإسرائيلي الغاصب، كدولة جارة، و”شقيقة”، تربطها علاقات ودّية اقتصادية وحيوية مع جيرانها العرب.

ومع تنفيذ الجزء الأكبر من مراحلها، يصبح الإعلان الرسمي عن صفقة القرن قاب قوسين أو أدنى، وذلك بدءاً من الاعتراف الأمريكي بالقدس عاصمة للكيان الاسرائيلي، مروراً بإعلان “إسرائيل” دولة قومية يهودية، وصولاً لقطع التمويل عن منظمة غوث اللاجئين الفلسطينيين الأنروا، والمساعي التي تبذلها السعودية لإقناع الأردن ومصر لتوطين اللاجئين الفلسطينيين على أراضيهما، وأخيراً الخطوات التطبيعية الفجّة بين الكيان الإسرائيلي ودول منظمة مجلس التعاون، والتي توّجت بزيارة رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو إلى سلطنة عمان، وعزف النشيد الوطني الإسرائيلي في أبو ظبي خلال استقبال وزيرة الثقافة الإسرائيلية.

إلا أن نقطة البداية التي أسست لصفقة القرن وتسببت بكل ما آلت إليه القضية الفلسطينية من مآسٍ في يومنا هذا، ينبغي إرجاعها إلى ربع قرن مضى، وعلى وجه التحديد إلى المصافحة “التاريخية” بين رئيس وزراء الكيان الصهيوني آنذاك اسحق رابين، وزعيم منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية الراحل ياسر عرفات، وذلك احتفاءً بتوقيع اتفاق أوسلو المشؤوم.

فالاتفاق الذي نص نظرياً على “حل الدولتين” وتشكيل دولة فلسطينية في حدود 1967 وانسحاب “إسرائيل” من أراضي الضفة الغربية، لم يتحقق شيء منه على أرض الواقع، بل على العكس، عزز أمن وشرعية الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، وأضعف الحالة الفلسطينية، وساهم في تشويه صورتها أمام العالم أجمع، وحوّل منظمة التحرير الفلسطيني وفدائييها إلى شرطة لدى الاحتلال تتولى مهام قمع المقاومة، والتنسيق الأمني معه.

في الحقيقة إن صفقة القرن ما هي إلا المرحلة الأخيرة من اتفاقية أوسلو، وهي نتيجة حتمية للمسار الذي خطّته منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، منذ قبلت الوصاية الأمريكية، وتخلت عن الكفاح المسلح، بل ووجهت بندقيتها باتجاه الشعب الفلسطيني المقاوم، بدلاً من الكيان الإسرائيلي الغاصب، فطالما أن التنسيق الأمني بين السلطة الفلسطينية وجيش الاحتلال بقي “مقدساً” وفق وصف رئيس هذه السلطة محمود عباس، فلا عجب اليوم أن نرى صفقة القرن وهي تطوي أغلب مراحلها، وصولاً إلى الإعلان النهائي الوشيك.

إن اتفاقية أوسلو هي التي فتحت باب التطبيع العربي والإسلامي مع الكيان الإسرائيلي، حيث جاءت الاتفاقية الأردنية مع “إسرائيل” في وادي عربة كنتيجة طبيعية لهذا المسار، وبالرغم من أن بعض العلاقات الإسرائيلية مع الدول العربية، قد سبقت أوسلو بكثير إلا أن هذه العلاقات بقيت في الإطار السري، ولم تجرؤ الدول العربية على الإفصاح عنها خشية نقمة شعوبها، إلا أن أوسلو قد أعطت المسوّغ لهذه الحكومات، لتتبجح بعلاقاتها مع الكيان الإسرائيلي، بدعوى أن الفلسطينيين كانوا هم من سبق بالمبادرة في الخروج عن الإجماع العربي، والاعتراف والتطبيع مع دولة الاحتلال الإسرائيلية.

Image result for ‫الانتفاضة الفلسطينية الأولى 1987‬‎

أهدرت اتفاقية أوسلو إنجازات الانتفاضة الفلسطينية الأولى وذلك بعد سنوات على صمودها واستمراريتها، كما فقد الشعب الفلسطيني القاسم المشترك الأهم بين أبنائه، الذي كان يستند إلى الهدف الوطني بإنشاء دولة فلسطينية مستقلة، وتراجع دور منظمة التحرير ومكانتها العربية والدولية، بعد أن تخلّت عن المقاومة المسلحة وتولّت السلطة الذاتية وسخّرت أجهزة أمنها لملاحقة أي احتمال للعمل المقاوم، وتشبثت بالتنسيق الأمني مع العدو، وأحبطت عشرات العمليات ضد الاحتلال في الضفة الغربية، وباركت كل إجراءات خنق قطاع غزة، دون أن يسهم ذلك في دفع الكيان الإسرائيلي للالتزام بما وقّع عليه 

إن ضعف الحالة الفلسطينية الذي أفرزته اتفاقية أوسلو، وارتهان القضية الفلسطينية إلى وسيط غير نزيه أي أمريكا وحلفائها، هو ما جعل من القضية الفلسطينية هدفاً سهلاً للبازارات السياسية، ووسيلة تتقرب بها الحكومات الضعيفة من السيد الأمريكي، ولعل الدور الذي تلعبه السعودية وأميرها محمد بن سلمان في صفقة القرن، يجسّد مثالاً واقعياً لهذا الأمر، إذ إن الأمير الشاب الذي يواجه الكثير من الأزمات الداخلية والخارجية في حكمه، يعوّل بشكل أساسي على الدعم الأمريكي للسيطرة على العرش، وبذلك فهو يلجأ إلى دفع الفاتورة إلى السيد الأمريكي من قوت الشعب السعودي، وكرامة الشعب الفلسطيني، ودماء شعوب اليمن وسوريا والعراق.

وعليه فإن إحياء حالة المقاومة بجميع أشكالها في الداخل الفلسطيني خصوصاً، والعالم العربي والإسلامي عموماً، وإسقاط اتفاقية أوسلو، من شأنه أن يضعف حظوظ صفقة القرن، حتى بعد الإعلان عنها، وسيسحب البساط من تحت أمريكا وحلفائها، ويحدّ من تحكمهم بمجريات الأمور، فالمقاومة هي السبيل الوحيد لاستعادة الكرامة وتحقيق الإرادة، ولنا بالانتصارات التي حققها محور المقاومة طوال السنوات الماضية أكبر دليل، سواء من خلال تحرير جنوب لبنان عام 2000 أو هزيمة الكيان الصهيوني في عدوان تموز 2006، أو إخفاق الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية على غزة، وصولاً إلى انتصار محور المقاومة على العدو التكفيري، كما أن على حركات المقاومة في غزة أن تحذّر من خديعة التمويل التي تهدف إلى احتواء حالة المقاومة، فمنظمة التحرير الفلسطينية سقطت ووقعت في فخ أوسلو منذ أن قبلت أن يصبح تمويلها أمريكياً، وكذلك فإن هذا الخطر قد يصيب حركات المقاومة التي تعتمد اليوم على حلفاء أمريكا في عملية التمويل، فالمقاومة الحقيقية لن تثمر إلا من مال الحلال.

قد يفرح الكيان الإسرائيلي وأصدقاؤه العرب بإنجازهم في صفقة القرن، إلا أن فرحهم هذا لن يدوم طويلاً، فحالة المقاومة وإن اعتراها بعض الصعوبات نتيجة الصراع مع التكفير، إلا أنها في حالة نمو متواصلة، وهي تسجل النصر تلو الآخر، وما زالت الحالة التي تعبّر عن مشاعر أغلبية أبناء الأمة الإسلامية، التي ترفض الاعتراف بالوجود اللاشرعي للكيان الإسرائيلي في منطقتنا، فضلاً عن التطبيع معه، ولن تسكت على تمرير صفقة القرن عاجلاً أم آجلاً.

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US Rabbi: Gulf Emirates ’Competing’ Over Ties with “Israel”

US Rabbi: Gulf Emirates ’Competing’ Over Ties with “Israel”

Local Editor

President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding [FFEU], American Rabbi Marc Schneier, said he has recently seen a vast improvement in relations between the Zionist entity and the Gulf States.

In the same respect, he said he believes we will see establishment of official diplomatic relations between “Israel” and the six emirates as soon as 2019: “We will soon see the official forming of relations with Bahrain, and the rest will follow.”

Schneier said in an interview with “Israeli” newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that the six Persian Gulf emirates are competing over who will be the first to go public with their relationship with “Israel”, and establish diplomatic ties.

“I believe we will soon see the official forming of relations with Bahrain, and the rest will follow,” he asserted.

Over the past 15 years, Rabbi Schneier has visited many palaces in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.”The current Emir of Qatar and leaders in Saudi Arabia said that the combination of Gulf’s wealth and “Israel’s” high-tech knowledge could potentially transform the region into the most successful area in the world,” Schneier explained.

“If in the past it was argued that the Gulf states would be willing to establish official relations with “Israel” only after ‘peace’ with the Palestinians is achieved, then today the leaders of these countries say that merely returning to the negotiating table will suffice,” said the rabbi.

“I believe we will see diplomatic relations developing with all six Gulf States as early as 2019,” he emphasized.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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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!

PURE HUMILIATION FOR ALQAEDA HERETICS AT AL-THA’LAH; REPORTS OF ANARCHIC WITHDRAWAL BY RATS AND DEFECTIONS

Ziad Fadel 

مقتل وإصابة العديد من الإرهابيين بغارات سورية في ريف حماة الشرقي

Here is a scene from the catastrophic disaster suffered by the fake-Muslim infidels of Al-Qaeda/Nusra on Wednesday after their degrading withdrawal from the combat zone in Al-Tha’lah when the SAAF and SAA poured liquid fire on them.  Early reports, all from lying England, claiming the Al-Tha’lah Base was taken over by the rats turned out to be completely false and pure propaganda.

مصدر عسكري: مطار الثعلة آمن.. وقتلى الإرهابيين تجاوز الـ 100

SUWAYDAA`: The rodents came mostly from the west in columns of vans, pickups with 23mm cannons, armored transports and many passenger cars.  They tried to surround the base by taking positions west of the town.  They were able to enter the base on the eastern periphery only after which time both the SAA and local units of the Popular Defense Committees stopped the rodents cold in their tracks.  While all this was going on, impulsive rat leaders were sending out completely false assessments to their headquarters in Amman, Jordan, claiming they had taken over the base.  The British liars at MI6 gave that information to SOHR, arguably the least reliable source of information ever to darken the doorsteps of Western propaganda machines.  The West was hungry for any datum confirming the advances of the terrorist Alqaeda group.  French, British and German “news” sources quickly swallowed the folderol and soon terrorist supporters and cannibals (some of SyrPer’s readers, too) were spouting the nonsense, humiliating themselves like drunks vomiting over their own bibs.

The amount of time the rats were in Al-Tha’lah base was about 10 minutes after which time the firepower deployed against them forced a ruinous, anarchic withdrawal.  The Syrian Army has completed a thorough assessment of the scene and counted 111 carcasses belonging to mostly foreign rodents from Chechnya, Turkey and Jordan.  Their carcasses will be ground into fertilizer.

DO NOT BELIEVE THE WEST’S EMBARRASSED EXPLANATION THAT THE RATS DID GET INTO THE BASE BUT WERE EVENTUALLY PUSHED OUT IN A COUNTER-ATTACK. NOT TRUE. THEY NEVER ENTERED THE BASE EXCEPT AT THE EASTERN PERIPHERY FOR A VERY SHORT TIME.  THE COUNTER-ATTACK CAME ON THURSDAY MORNING WHEN ENTRENCHED RODENTS WERE ROUTED IN A JOINT SAAF AND SAA ASSAULT THAT TORE THEIR RANKS INTO SHREDS.

A RAT BY THE NAME OF “ABU FAADI” WAS SHOUTING INTO HIS CELLPHONE TELLING HIS HANDLERS IN BROKEN ARABIC THAT THE ATTACK COULD NOT CONTINUE AND THAT THEY NEEDED OVER A THOUSAND REINFORCEMENTS TO STAY IN THEIR POSITIONS.  HE THREATENED TO DEFECT TO ANOTHER ORGANIZATION IF NO HELP WAS COMING.  My source tells me that this Abu Faadi character was found dead, half his carcass charred like burnt rat feces.  The SAA reports that he was a Palesteezian veteran of the Afghan theater well-known to the SAA-MI.

_____________________________________

OBITUARY: (Thanks, John Esq.)

Ziad Fadel

Jun 11 at 11:48 AM

Hero & Martyr. Read his story.


Syrian Arab Army

10 hrs ·

Our heroes do not fall, they rise to the glory of sacrificing their lives for their homeland.

Captain Morhaf al-Khateeb was born in the town of Talbesea, Homs.

In 2011, he was enlisted in the Syrian Armed Forces, graduated the Syrian military academy as a Lieutenant.

His family pushed him to defect from the Army ranks, but he refused. 5 of his brothers joined the terrorists organization known as FSA. Yet, he refused to defect.

He fought his first battles in Duma, was injured, and after recovery, he went back to the fight.

He participated with his Republican Guards unit in Liberating Qalamoon in 2014, specifically in Yabrood and Dair Atyea.

He fought terrorists in Aleppo, in Salah al-Deen neighborhood.

He was dispatched with his unit to Hesakea, where he defended his homeland against ISIS, participated in retaking SAA positions in Hesakea, and stopping ISIS’ attacks, where he was martyred in action.

Morhaf hadn’t talked to his family in 5 years, his unit was his family.

Captain Morhaf al-Khateeb was one of the most trusted officers, one of the bravest in his unit.

Captain Morhaf al-Khateeb, one of many, who chose their homeland over everything else.

Rest in Peace hero, martyr and a brother in arm, and in blood.

Syrian Arab Army
Read more

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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!

Did the War in Syria Just Become a Regional War?

by ERIC DRAITSER

There are growing indications that the war in Syria has now entered a new and dangerous phase that threatens to engulf the entire Middle East in a broad regional war. The news that Iran has sent significant numbers of Iranian, Iraqi, and Afghan troops to take active part in defense of Syria has the potential to transform the conflict into one with global implications as Iran’s key regional rivals – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel – continue to support jihadi factions in their war against the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The escalation of the conflict comes in the wake of significant victories for the Al Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front, the Islamic State, and other foreign-backed terror groups in and around the major Syrian city of Idlib. As Reuters reported, sources with knowledge of internal discussions in Damascus have confirmed that the Syrian government had acknowledged strategic losses and was prepared for a lengthy and costly summer defense campaign. While undoubtedly true, there are key elements left out of the narrative of “impending collapse” and Damascus being “overpowered” by the Islamic State.

Chief among the crucial points omitted from the majority of western media coverage is the vital support that Turkey has provided, and continues to provide, to jihadi groups in Syria’s northwest. And it is quite likely that it was the direct military intervention of Turkish troops that spurred Tehran to finally sign off on a direct intervention of their own, using a combination of Iranian military and Shia militias from regional allies. Aside from Turkey though, Iran sees in Saudi Arabia and Israel two countries that have also been demonstrably providing overt and covert support to the anti-Assad extremist groups in order to further their own agendas. In this way, it seem that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini has finally abandoned the cautious approach in order to provide much needed support to his ally Assad, and to maintain the Shia alliance of Hezbollah-Syria-Iran.

While the war in Syria has been dominating headlines for more than four years now, it has clearly now reached a turning point. Only by combining an understanding of the situation on the ground with the reality of the politics and competing interests, can one discern both what is happening, and where this war is going.

The Shifting Battlefield

Reports on the ground in Syria convey a sense that the war has shifted dramatically in recent days. From the widely held, though pridefully repressed, feelings of concern and trepidation felt in the last weeks of May, to a growing sense of optimism and hope, the very mindset of ordinary Syrians and soldiers alike has considerably altered. As a journalist and resident of the strategically critical Mediterranean port city of Latakia told Counterpunch “I can confirm [that Iranian and allied forces have landed], and we are all hopeful.”

This new sanguineness is in stark contrast to just days earlier when Latakia was rocked by a devastating explosion which killed at least four civilians, including a father and his two children. Though there were conflicting reports as to what caused the explosion – some sources saying a downed drone, others that it was caused by rocket fire – the inescapable fact is that the incident put the formerly stable, and staunchly pro-government, port city on edge. With the fall of Jisr al-Shughour to the Al Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front and other terror groups in neighboring Idlib province in late April, citizens of Latakia became fearful of the growing uncertainty of the coastal region.

And it is against this backdrop of anxiety and consternation that the Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan allied forces arrived a few days ago. Sources in Latakia who asked to remain anonymous due to security restrictions regarding reporting troop movements have confirmed to Counterpunch the reports circulating in Arab press regarding a significant deployment of troops arriving there. Indeed, as of the morning of Thursday June 4, military sources have confirmed the commencement of battles in Idlib province and the liberation of at least five villages surrounding Jisr al-Shughour from Nusra control.

In addition, it has now been reported that Syrian military forces have been involved in heavy fighting against Nusra forces near the strategic town of Zayzoun, considered crucial for maintaining the security of supply lines to Idlib, as well as against ISIS elements in al-Hasakahgovernorate in the northeast of the country. This coordinated campaign illustrates the broad scope of the Syrian military effort, namely securing the northern tier of the country along the length of the Turkish border.

Simultaneously, Hezbollah units have been involved in fierce battles against various foreign-backed terror groups to secure a large swath of territory in the Arsal Heights and valley along the Lebanon-Syria border. Sources with knowledge of the situation informed Counterpunch that many of the heights previously held by these groups have been retaken by Hezbollah units since the counteroffensive began on June 4. Seen in tandem with the significant tactical victories against Nusra in the Qalamoun Mountains, there is a clear sense that, despite losses in recent months, including the much decried Islamic State seizure and occupation of the ancient city of Palmyra, the tide is turning.

It has become increasingly clear that Syrian, Hezbollah, Iranian and allied forces have coordinated their counteroffensive against ISIS, Nusra and their jihadi partners, and that this is the epicenter of the fighting, from the Lebanese border regions of Qalamoun to the northeastern reaches of al-Hasakah and the Turkish frontier. And it is along this volatile Syrian-Turkish border that the politics and covert war takes on a new dimension. For while the world is busy debating Assad and regime change, it is Turkey that has made itself an active party to the war.

The Turkish Gambit

It is no secret that Turkey has been one of the most vocal advocates of regime change in Syria, with President Erdogan repeatedly calling for Assad’s ouster. Indeed, in many ways Ankara has made itself into the political and diplomatic leader of the anti-Assad forces in the region, hosting both the Syrian National Council and National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. However, Turkey has also played host to a variety of terrorist groups that have been at the forefront of the war against the Syrian government. In this way, Turkey has been an incubator for jihadi mobilization in its attempt to direct the course of events in Syria.

In 2012, the New York Times confirmed that the CIA was busily funneling weapons into the hands of anti-Assad forces from the Turkish side of the border, using their connections with the Muslim Brotherhood to do so. However, it has also come to light that Turkish intelligence has been front and center in the ongoing campaign to arm and resupply the terror groups such as Nusra and others.

Just this week, at precisely the moment that a major offensive was taking place along the Turkish-Syrian border, President Erdogan himself publicly called for a life sentence against Can Dündar, Editor-in-Chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet after its publication of video footage confirming the widespread allegations that Turkish trucks, ostensibly loaded with humanitarian supplies, were actually filled with arms bound for terror groups fighting against Assad, and that those trucks were operated by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT). Despite calls from Human Rights Watch (an organization deeply hostile to the Assad government) and other organizations demanding that Erdogan’s government drop the investigation, Ankara seems to be pushing forward with the intimidation and repression of journalists, signaling just how important the covert destabilization program is to Turkey’s regional plans.

But far from solely a covert destabilization war, Turkey has been directly involved on the ground in Syria both in active military and support roles. In fact, transcripts of wiretaps obtained by Cumhuriyet, and presented in Turkish courts, along with shocking video footage, have confirmed what numerous eyewitnesses have stated: Turkish security forces have been directly involved in shelling and support operations for Nusra front and other jihadi groups in and around Kassab, Syria, among other sites. This is a crucial piece of information because it explains just why those terror groups were able to successfully capture that region in 2014, and recapture it this year. Eyewitnesses in Kassab have confirmed to Counterpunch what Syrian soldiers speaking on condition of anonymity had reported, namely that Turkish helicopters and heavy artillery were used in support of Nusra and the other terror groups during both the 2014 and the current campaign.

Of course this policy of alliance with anti-Assad terrorists has been part of Turkey’s modus operandi since the beginning of the conflict. In 2012, Reuters revealed that Turkey had “set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border… ‘It’s the Turks who are militarily controlling it. Turkey is the main coordinator/facilitator. Think of a triangle, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the bottom,’ said a Doha-based source.”

And earlier this year, Turkey made a much publicized military incursion into Syria, ostensibly to “evacuate” the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire. Using armored vehicles and Turkish Special Forces, Ankara carried out its operation, though there was, and still remains, much speculation as to the real intent of Erdogan’s government which many in Syria believe intended not to carry out a historical preservation mission, but to prevent Syrian military forces from scoring a crushing defeat against ISIS militants in the area. Whatever Turkey’s motives, the action was a clear violation of Syria’s sovereignty, one that was carried out opportunistically as Damascus fought to regain control of territory from ISIS.

So, from the broadest perspective then, Turkey’s deep involvement in fomenting the Syria war, and its close ties to terror groups to further that aim, is beyond debate. It is self-evident then that Ankara is trying to use this war, and the subsequently weakened Iranian alliance, to further its regional ambitions.

The Other Players

Turkey is certainly not alone in fomenting the war in Syria and providing much needed aid and comfort to the various extremist groups. Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been directly linked to financing and supporting jihadis, while Jordan has also been documented as having played a significant role. Not to be forgotten, Israel has provided much needed medical, and presumably other forms, of aid to Nusra and other elements.

The Saudis have for years been seen as the global epicenter of Wahhabi extremism, providing much of the funding for such networks. As the Council on Foreign Relations Terrorism Task Force Report of 2002 made plain, “For years…Saudi Arabia [has] been the most important source of funds for al-Qaeda.” It is an open secret that Saudi intelligence is deeply involved with far-reaching terror networks that, to varying degrees, act as an adjunct of Saudi power projection.

Or, as then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated in US embassy cables released by Wikileaks, “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide… Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba] and other terrorist groups.” Indeed, Clinton’s statements were confirmed by Vice President Biden who made the direct connection to Syria in an infamous, and controversial, speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, when he stated:

Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends… [and] the Saudis, the Emirates, etcetera. What were they doing?…They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied, [they] were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.

So, as even the Obama administration itself has admitted, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies, along with Turkey, have been directly arming and financing precisely those terror groups waging war against the Syrian Government today. Moreover, as The Guardian reported in 2013, Jordan, like Turkey, has been the site of a major effort to train so called “rebels” (read jihadists). The comprehensive effort could not be any clearer.

And then of course there is the curious case of Israel, that nation that, more than any other, wields the threat of terrorism as a political weapon to justify everything from its foreign policy against Iran to its policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Perhaps then it comes as a shock to some that the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) reportedin December 2014 that, “UNDOF sporadically observed armed members of the [Syrian] opposition interacting with IDF across the ceasefire line in the vicinity of United Nations position 85.” As the June 10, 2014 UNDOF report indicated, “[UNDOF] observed armed members of the opposition transferring 89 wounded persons from the Bravo side across the ceasefire line to IDF and IDF on the Alpha side handing over 19 treated and 2 deceased individuals to the armed members of the opposition on the Bravo side.”

This clear collaboration between Israel and the terror groups needs to be understood in its proper context – Israel’s continued participation in the war against Syria. Also in December of 2014, within days of the above referenced UNDOF report, Israel carried out multiple air strikes against Syrian Government targets around Damascus international airport, in direct of violation of international law. In fact, as has been well documented, since the war began in 2011, Israeli military forces have conducted a number of air strikes against Syrian targets. So, taken in total, Israel, along with Turkey and the Gulf monarchies, is part of the regional war effort targeting the Syrian Government.

Syria as Regional War

And so, in June of 2015, with Syria continuing to struggle against a full-fledged international campaign to bring regime change, Iran has finally, and unmistakably stepped into the fray. Despite there still being debate as to exactly which forces Iran has deployed, and the specific numbers, it is clear that Tehran has judged that the Turkish intervention, coupled with the participation of its Saudi and Israeli rivals, has forced its hand, necessitating a direct intervention. The stakes could not be higher.

With Iranian military forces operating mere miles from both the Turkish and Israeli borders, the potential for a direct military confrontation between the region’s powers is very high. Were such a scenario to play out, one could easily imagine a direct shooting war that would amount to a full-scale regional conflict. Israel and Turkey would both be immediately involved, with other regional actors lurking in the background. With Saudi Arabia still embroiled in its boondoggle in Yemen, its military participation might be hamstrung, but its indirect involvement would be unmistakable in the form of increased support for Nusra and other factions. Essentially, it is a conflagration scenario that would have global implications.

Naturally, all parties want to avoid such a nightmare scenario as it is unlikely that any of them would be able to escape unscathed. However, there is perhaps a political motivation for Iranian involvement. Tehran may be calling the bluffs of Ankara, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv, demonstrating unequivocally that when Iranian president Rouhani stated last week that “The Iranian nation and government will remain at the side of the Syrian nation and government until the end of the road,” he meant it. Iran is showing the world that the mutual defense treaty it has with Syria is very much still in play, and that the protracted war against Damascus has not changed anything.

Those interested in peace and stability certainly hope that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the other parties to this war are getting that message loud and clear.

With tensions high over escalations in Ukraine and the South China Sea, the potential for global conflict has never been higher. Those who trade in doomsday prognostication are certainly busy these days. But perhaps it is Syria and the Middle East where the true global conflict is taking place.

The question is: has anyone noticed?

Eric Draitser is the founder of StopImperialism.org and host ofCounterPunch Radio. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at ericdraitser@gmail.com.

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