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Russia, Syria reopen airbase after providing it with AD systems

The Cradle | January 24, 2023

Russia and Syria have restored the Al-Jarrah military airbase in northern Syria, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on 23 January. The airbase, which had been destroyed during the Syria conflict, will now host both Russian and Syrian warplanes.

Russian forces have also deployed Buk M2E and Pantsir S1 air defense systems inside the airbase, with the aim of defending Syria’s northern border and closing Syrian airspace to Israeli warplanes, which have regularly bombed Syria since 2013.

The opening ceremony of the airbase was attended by the commander of the Russian armed forces in Syria, General Andrey Serdyukov, and the Syrian Minister of Defense, General Ali Mahmoud Abbas, in addition to military personnel and guests of honor from both countries.

During the ceremony, planes and helicopters of the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force demonstrated their combat capabilities, while Syrian special forces carried out parachute drops from helicopters and carried out simulated surround and destroy exercises.

The Al-Jarrah airbase, which lies in Manbij, between Aleppo and Raqqa, was first captured by US and Saudi-backed militants from an Al-Qaeda affiliated Salafist militia, Ahrar al-Sham, in February 2013. The operation to capture Al-Jarrah was part of a broader Al-Qaeda led push, known as the “War of the Airports,” to capture Syria’s major military airbases, including Taftanaz, Wadi al-Deif, and Menagh.

According to Abu Abdallah Minbij, an Ahrar al-Sham commander, the 2013 capture of Al-Jarrah cut off Syrian army supply lines to the east and made it difficult for the army to send reinforcements to Raqqa province. Raqqa city fell to Al-Qaeda led forces, including Ahrar al-Sham and the Nusra Front, a month later, in March 2013.

In April 2013, the Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) split with ISI and became ISIS. Many Nusra fighters and commanders pledged allegiance to the organization. This allowed ISIS to establish a foothold in Raqqa. ISIS then expelled its jihadist rivals and took full control of Raqqa city in January 2014, making the city its Syrian capital.

ISIS captured Al-Jarrah airbase from Ahrar al-Sham in January 2014 as well.

With Russian assistance, the Syrian army recaptured the airbase in 2017, in a bloody battle led by the Syrian Major General Suheil al-Hassan’s Tiger Forces. Some 3,000 ISIS militants were killed and wounded in the fighting.

The joint restoration of the Al-Jarrah airbase by Syria and Russia represents an increase in Russian presence in the country, as well as the recent surge in military cooperation between the two states.

January 25, 2023 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turkiye-Syria talks fuel jihadist relocation to Ukraine

Abdel Hakim al-Shishani, formerly the leader of the foreign ‘Soldiers of the Caucasus’ group in Syria, and now an official member of Ukraine’s international legion (Photo: Atlas News )
The Cradle | January 12, 2023

As the prospect of a rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus becomes more imminent, the most extreme elements of Syria’s armed opposition have been feeling a sting of betrayal, accelerating a trend that, over the past year, has seen many jihadists relocate to Ukraine.

This is especially true for foreign militants, particularly those from Central Asia or the Caucasus.

On 12 January, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported that after several months of disappearance, the well-known Chechen extremist and leader of the ‘Soldiers of the Caucasus’ militia, Abdel Hakim al-Shishani, has reappeared in Ukraine as a member of Kiev’s so-called ‘international legion,’ established in order to attract and recruit foreign fighters against Russia.

According to the report, there has recently been news of an increased number of foreign fighters leaving Syria to make their way over to the “new battlefield,” reinforced by “Turkiye’s lack of need for ‘jihadists’ on Syrian soil” and its “definite interest … to get rid of them.” This comes following recent talks aimed at reconciling Damascus and Ankara, over which the opposition has already expressed a great distaste for.

The report also highlights a leading role played by Turkish intelligence in facilitating this cross-country transfer of extremists, “at least during the first months of the Russian-Ukrainian war.” This could have been Ankara’s way of disposing of militants from Syria and clearing the way for a solution to the Syrian war (provided it was serious about reconciliation at the time, and still is). According to Al-Akhbar, Shishani himself passed through Turkiye on his way to the “new land of jihad,” just as he initially had on his way to join the war in Syria.

Syrian officials have also suggested Washington’s role in facilitating these transfers to Ukraine, as the US has been involved in the relocation of extremists between Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan.

On 7 January, the official account of Ukraine’s intelligence agency posted a video on Twitter showing Shishani and a group of fighters engaging in clashes with Russian troops in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. The video essentially serves as propaganda designed specifically to attract extremist militants from Syria to Ukraine.

Shishani’s disappearance coincided with the establishment of recruitment centers in northern Syria designed to send fighters off to Ukraine, as Al-Akhbar reported in March last year.

Soon after the start of the Ukrainian war, hundreds of fighters from ISIS and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly the Al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front, began making their way to Ukraine to take part in a newer, more direct front against Russia.

On 1 March, before these reports began emerging, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Bashar al-Jaafari, predicted this.

“We, as a state, have evidence that the US military in Syria is transferring terrorists from one place to another, especially members of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra … So, one should not be surprised, and we do not exclude, that tomorrow ISIS terrorists will be sent to Ukraine,” he said.

If the plan for a restoration of ties between Syria and Turkiye is fruitful, and if Ankara chooses to officially abandon Syria’s armed opposition, which the extremists fear has already happened, then it is a likely possibility that the raging battlefield in Ukraine will emerge as a new safe haven for Syria’s jihadist movement.

January 12, 2023 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘No place’ for independent Russia in Western mindset – Moscow

RT | January 10, 2023

The secretary of Russia’s national security council has lashed out at the West, pointing to their habit of creating global threats, including numerous terrorist groups, in pursuit of their interests.

Nikolay Patrushev also claimed, in an interview published by news outlet Argumenti i Fakti, that Washington’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan was a prelude to NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.

“The events in Ukraine are not a confrontation between Moscow and Kiev. It’s a military confrontation of NATO – the US and England first and foremost – with Russia,” the top security official said in a newspaper interview. “They fear a direct standoff, so NATO instructors push Ukrainian guys toward their certain deaths.”

Patrushev argued that, while Western nations claim to be “defending civilization against barbarism” in Ukraine, they are actually motivated by selfish interests and won’t “save any lives at the expense of their enrichment and ambitions.”

He said there is an established pattern of the US creating threats that it later ostensibly fights against, he continued, citing terrorist organizations Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) as examples. Washington may occasionally show off the killing of individual terrorist leaders like Osama Bin Laden, but continue “training and arming a hundred others” at the same time, he added.

NATO’s mission in Afghanistan resulted “in the creation of multibillion-dollar corruption schemes” and a surge in illegal drug production, Patrushev claimed. And the US withdrawal from the country in 2019 was to a large degree about “focusing on Ukraine” and confrontation with Russia, he said.

The security official cited remarks made last month by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who admitted that, with the country’s military presence in Afghanistan finally ended, the administration of President Joe Biden had more opportunities to funnel arms to Kiev.

Patrushev believes that, in the wider picture, the interests of the US as a nation state are subservient to the interests of transnational corporations, which ultimately dictate the policies of many governments. Those unaccountable forces have inherited the colonialist approach that allowed Western nations to become wealthy and powerful, but they are no longer vested in national interests, he said.

Russia “has no place” in their schemes, since it “irritates the handful of world masters because of its natural riches, vast territories, and smart, self-sufficient people who love their country, its traditions and history,” he added.

January 10, 2023 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US-Turkiye brinkmanship won’t reach a point of no return

Conflict between Ankara and Washington over Syria will likely see the two drift apart, with Turkiye aligning more closely with Eurasian powers.

By MK Bhadrakumar | The Cradle | November 28, 2022

The series of airstrikes against Kurdish militants in northern Syria by Turkish jets in the past week come amid heightened concerns over Ankara’s threat to launch a ground operation. Such actions are not without precedent, yet have thus far achieved little in terms of eradicating the security challenges posed by US-backed Kurdish fighters.

Turkiye is today addressing an existential challenge to its national security and sovereignty, stemming from the United States’ quasi-alliance with Kurdish groups in Syria over the past decade – with whom Ankara has been battling for far longer.

However, this issue is playing out within a much broader regional backdrop today. Russia now has a permanent presence in Syria and is itself locked in an existential struggle with the US in Ukraine and the Black Sea. Iran-US tensions are also acute and President Joe Biden has openly called for the overthrow of the Iranian government.

Opposing the US occupation of Syria

Suffice to say, the Syrian government, which has demanded the removal of illegal US troops from one-third of its territory for years, enjoys a congruence of interests with Turkiye like never before, particularly in opposing the American military presence in Syria.

For the US, on the other hand, continued occupation of Syria is crucial in geopolitical terms, given that country’s geography on the northern tier of the West Asian region which borders Iran and the Caucasus to the north and east, Turkiye and the Black Sea to the north, Israel to the south, and the Eastern Mediterranean to the west.

All of that would have a great bearing on the outcome of the epochal struggle for the control of the Eurasian landmass – the Heartland and the Geographical Pivot of history as Sir Halford J. Mackinder once described it in evocative terms – by Washington and NATO to counter Russia’s resurgence and China’s rise.

China’s involvement in the Astana process

A curious detail at this point assumes larger-than-life significance in the period ahead: Beijing is messaging its interest in joining the Astana process on Syria. Moscow’s presidential envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, stated recently that Russia is convinced that China’s involvement as an observer in the Astana format would be valuable.

Interestingly, Lavrentiev was speaking after the 19th international meeting on Syria in the Astana format with his counterparts from Turkiye and Iran on November 15.

“We believe that China’s participation in the Astana format would be very useful. Of course, we proposed this option. The Iranians agreed with this, while the Turkish side is considering it and has taken a pause before making a decision,” he explained.

Lavrentiev noted that Beijing could provide “some assistance as part of the Syrian settlement, improve the lives of Syrian citizens, and in reconstruction.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry promptly responded to the Russian invitation, confirming that Beijing “attaches great importance to this format and is ready to work with all its participants to restore peace and stability in Syria.”

Lavrentiev didn’t miss the opportunity to taunt Washington, saying: “Of course, I believe that if the Americans returned to the Astana format, that would also be very useful. If two countries like the United States and China were present as observers in the Astana format, that would be a very good step, a good signal for the international community, and in general in the direction of the Syrian settlement.”

However, there is no question of the Biden Administration working with Russia, Turkiye, Iran, and China on a Syrian settlement at the present time. Reports keep appearing that the US has been transferring ISIS fighters from Syria to Ukraine to fight Russian forces, and to Afghanistan to stir up the pot in Central Asia.

The Astana troika are in unison, demanding the departure of US  occupation forces from Syria. Moscow knows fully well too that the US hopes to work toward shuttering Russian bases in Syria.

Turkiye’s pursuit of the US’s Kurdish allies

In fact, the aerial operations in Syria that Ankara ordered last Sunday followed a terrorist strike in Istanbul a week ago by Kurdish separatists, killing at least six people and injuring more than 80 others. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the air strikes were “just the beginning” and that his Armed Forces “will topple the terrorists by land at the most convenient time.”

Turkish security agencies have nabbed the bomber – a Syrian woman named Ahlam Albashir who was allegedly trained by the US military. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre hurriedly issued a statement to calm that storm: “The United States strongly condemns the act of violence that took place today in Istanbul, Turkiye.”

But Turkiye’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu reacted caustically to the American missive, saying that Washington’s condolence message was like “a killer being the first to show up at a crime scene.”

Conceivably, with Erdogan facing a crucial election in the coming months, the Biden Administration is pulling out all the stops to prevent the ruling AKP party from winning another mandate to rule Turkiye.

The Turkish “swing state” is crucial for US plans

The US feels exasperated with Erdogan for pushing ahead with independent foreign policies that could see Turkiye joining the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and deepening his strategic ties with Russia and China – and most important, steadily mark distance from Washington and NATO’s containment strategies against Russia and China.

Turkiye has become a critically important “swing state” at this stage in the post-cold war era. Erdogan’s effort to bolster the country’s strategic autonomy lethally undermines the western strategy to impose its global hegemony.

While Erdogan keep’s Washington guessing about his next move, his airstrikes in northern Syria hit targets very close to US bases there. The Pentagon has warned that the strikes threaten the safety of American military personnel. The Pentagon statement represents the strongest condemnation by the US of its NATO ally in recent times.

Russian diplomacy forestalls Syria ground incursion 

Unsurprisingly, Russia is acting as a moderating influence on Turkiye. Lavrentyev said last Wednesday that Moscow has tried to convince Ankara to “refrain from conducting full-scale ground operations” inside Syria. The Russian interest lies in encouraging Erdogan to engage with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and pool their efforts to curb the activities of Kurdish terrorists.

Indeed, the probability is low that Erdogan will order ground incursions into Syria. This also seems to be the assessment of local Kurdish groups.

US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander Mazloum Kobane Abdi, who is the Pentagon’s key interlocutor in northern Syria, has been quoted as saying that while he has received intelligence that Turkiye has alerted its local proxies to prepare for a ground offensive, the Biden administration could still convince Erdogan to back off.

That said, Erdogan can make things difficult for the US and eventually even force the evacuation of its estimated 900 military troops, shutting down the Pentagon’s lucrative oil smuggling operation in Syria and abandoning its training camps for ex-ISIS fighters in northern and eastern Syria.

But the US is unlikely to take matters to a point of no return. A retrenchment in Syria at the present juncture will weaken the US regional strategies, not only in West Asia, but also in the adjoining Black Sea region and the Caucasus, in the southern periphery of the Eurasian landmass.

From Erdogan’s perspective too, it is not in his interest to burn bridges with the west. A bridge in disrepair remains a bridge nonetheless, which would have its selective uses for Erdogan in the times of multipolarity that lie ahead.

November 28, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The role of UK intelligence services in the abduction and murder of James Foley

An investigation into British and American collusion with the terror groups that kidnapped and murdered western hostages in Syria

By William Van Wagenen | The Cradle | November 25, 2022

On 19 August, 2014, ISIS released a video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley who was kidnapped by the terrorist organization in 2012 while reporting on the conflict in Syria.

Foley’s shocking execution became one of the most widely followed news stories of the Syrian war. Foley’s killer, Mohammed Emwazi, popularly known as “Jihadi John” by the western media, was a Kuwaiti-born Brit from West London. In the Foley execution video, Emwazi’s unmistakable London accent can be heard.

However, what is less known about the notorious ISIS member, was that he travelled to Syria as part of a “terror-funnel” established by British intelligence, and abducted Foley while fighting for an armed group known as Katibat al-Muhajireen – or the Emigrants Brigade – which enjoyed direct support from British intelligence. Many members of al-Muhajireen, including Emwazi, then helped lay the foundation for the rise of ISIS by joining the terror group with its establishment in April 2013.

Further, for a period of Foley’s captivity he was being held in a prison jointly controlled by another armed group, Liwa al-Tawhid, or the Monotheism Brigade, which operated under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) umbrella and received aid directly from US intelligence. Some of this included arms being sold onto ISIS, including to the group leader holding James Foley.

In other words, although James Foley’s murder occurred in the deserts of Raqqa, it arguably began in more familiar places, namely London and Washington.

The terror-funnel

In 2009, former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas was told by top UK officials that “Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria.”

This involved sending British jihadis to Syria through a pipeline established by UK intelligence decades before, to fight in Bosnia and Kosovo against Serbia. According to former US federal prosecutor John Loftus, British intelligence had used the London-based Al-Muhajireen Movement to recruit Islamist militants with British passports for the war against the Serbs.

The Al-Muhajireen, later known as al-Ghurabaa and Islam4UK was a Salafist religious movement established in Britain in 1996 by exiled Syrian cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, who, as journalist Nafeez Ahmed details, was a long-time informant for UK intelligence, meeting regularly with MI5 agents throughout the 1990s.

Bakri himself acknowledged his role in training jihadists to be dispatched abroad, in an interview with The Guardian in May 2000.

A month after the 7 July, 2005 attacks in London, in which suicide bombers targeted the city’s transport system, killing 52, Bakri left the UK for Lebanon. Although former Muhajireen members participated in the attack, the British Home Office did not prevent Bakri from leaving the country but did ban him from ever returning.

By 2009, Lebanese security forces were accusing Bakri of training Al-Qaeda members, while Bakri himself boasted: “Today, angry Lebanese Sunnis ask me to organize their jihad against the Shi’ites … Al-Qaeda in Lebanon … are the only ones who can defeat Hezbollah.”

Jihadi John

But who was Mohammed Emwazi? As the Guardian reported, Emwazi came to Britain with his family from his native Kuwait as a young boy. After attending the University of Westminster to study Information Technology, Emwazi became politically active as part of a group of West Londoners who followed an Islamic preacher named Hani al-Sibai. Some members of the group took part in jihadi training camps in Northern England and Scotland and were being monitored by M15.

In 2009, Emwazi traveled to Tanzania with two friends from the group, Bilal el-Berjawi and Mohamed Sakr. Assumed to be traveling to Somalia to join Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabab, MI5 had the men detained in Dar es Salaam and subjected them to lengthy interrogations before forcing them to return to the UK. Both Berjawi and Sakr later succeeded in traveling to Somalia and were killed in US drone strikes.

Emwazi continued to be monitored by MI5 and was prevented from traveling to his native Kuwait in 2010, where he allegedly wished to marry. Emwazi claimed he was interrogated and harassed at Heathrow Airport by MI5, and complained of his treatment to CAGE, a London-based advocacy group led by former Guantanamo detainee Moazem Begg which focuses on Muslim detainees. CAGE then began an advocacy campaign on Emwazi’s behalf.

Yet Emwazi was then somehow later able to travel to Syria. The Daily Beast reported that this seemed odd, given that Emwazi had been “described as a core member of an extremist network linked to the al Shabab group in Somalia during a court hearing as far back as 2010” and had been tracked by MI5 for at least five years. “His links to terror networks were well known—and yet, he was released by the authorities” to travel to Syria.

Journalist Nafeez Ahmed reports that according to former British counterterrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge, British authorities “turned a blind eye to the travelling of its own jihadists to Syria, notwithstanding ample video and other evidence of their crimes there,” because it “suited the US and UK’s anti-Assad foreign policy.”

Ahmed notes this “terror-funnel is what enabled people like Emwazi to travel to Syria and join up with [the Islamic State] – despite being on an MI5 terror watch-list. He had been blocked by the security services from traveling to Kuwait in 2010: why not Syria?”

Upon arriving in Syria in August 2012, Emwazi joined an armed group known as Katibat al-Muhajireen. Journalist James Harkin reports that according to Jejoen Bontinck, a Belgian jihadi that fell out with his brigade and was imprisoned for a time with Foley, most British jihadis traveling to Syria joined Katibat al-Muhajireen.

deep embarrassment

Crucially, Katibat al-Muhajireen enjoyed support from UK intelligence services. This is evidenced by the terror trial of Swedish citizen Bherlin Gildo, who according to the Daily Mail fought for Katibat al-Muhajireen as well.

The Guardian reports that Gildo was detained while transiting through Heathrow Airport having been accused by British authorities of attending a terrorist training camp and receiving weapons training between 31 August, 2012, and 1 March, 2013 – as well as possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist.

However, the terror trial collapsed “after fears of deep embarrassment” to the British security services. This was because, as Gildo’s lawyer explained: “British intelligence agencies were supporting the same Syrian opposition groups as he [Gildo] was.”

British intelligence support for Katibat al-Muhajireen was further confirmed when former Guantanamo detainee Begg of CAGE was also tried on terror charges. Begg had also traveled to Syria several times in 2012 and provided physical training to foreign fighters from Katibat al-Muhajireen in Aleppo, as reported by Foreign Policy. Begg made his latest trip to Syria in December 2012.

As a result, Begg was later detained by British authorities and accused of attending a terrorist training camp. The Guardian reported, however, that Begg was freed after MI5 “belatedly gave police and prosecutors a series of documents that detailed the agency’s extensive contacts with him before and after his trips to Syria,” and which showed that MI5 told Begg he could continue his work for the so-called opposition in Syria “unhindered.”

In short, Emwazi traveled to Syria through a pipeline established by UK intelligence, and then joined an armed group, Katibat al-Muhajireen, that was supported by British intelligence, but which was viewed as a terrorist organization by the British police.

Kidnapped by the one who killed him

James Foley was an American freelance journalist who reported from Iraq and Afghanistan before traveling to Libya in 2011 to cover the NATO-led war on Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan government. While in Libya, a close colleague of Foley’s was shot and killed by Libyan security forces, who also detained and imprisoned Foley for 44 days.

In 2012, Foley began making trips to Syria to report on the conflict for the Global Post and AFP, including in July when armed opposition groups, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and the FSA’s Liwa al-Tawhid, invaded the city.

In October 2012, Foley published an article from his time in Aleppo suggesting that the opposition armed groups enjoyed little popularity among the city’s residents. Foley noted that “many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition,” which was “deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups.”

This ran contrary to mainstream narratives about the Syria conflict, which suggested the armed opposition groups were comprised of army defectors fighting for democracy and enjoying strong popular support.

In November 2012, Foley was returning to Turkey after a reporting trip with British journalist John Cantlie. After stopping at an internet café in the town of Binnish, the pair’s taxi began heading for the border when it was overtaken on the road and forced to stop by a van full of armed men. Among them was Muhammad Emwazi.

James Harkin explains that according to two European hostages who had been held with Foley but later freed, the kidnapping gang that took Foley and Cantlie was led by Emwazi. “[Foley] was kidnapped by the one who killed him,” one of the freed Europeans told Harkin: “I am sure of that.”

Emwazi participated in Foley’s abduction just two months after arriving in Syria. Note that this was during the period Katibat al-Muhajireen was receiving support from British intelligence, as shown by the periods when Gildo and Begg attended Katibat al-Muhajireen training camps.

According to a US Department of Justice indictment, Emwazi was joined by two of his fellow Brits, Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, in the operation to abduct Foley. Emwazi, Kotey, Elsheikh, and one other Brit, Aine Davis, were later collectively known as the “Beatles,” initially by their captives due to their British accents, and later by western media.

Foley’s critical coverage of the US and UK-backed armed groups occupying Aleppo, coupled with the British Foreign Office effort to control the narrative of the war in the media – including by “waging information warfare in Syria by funding media operations for some rebel fighting groups” – raises the question of whether UK intelligence officials ordered the Muhajireen militants to kidnap Foley. On this point we can of course only speculate.

Collaborations with ISIS

According to the Belgian jihadi Bontinck, Emwazi and his fellow Beatles continued serving as Foley’s guards at various times, and passed him to Aleppo’s ISIS leader, Abu Athir, sometime in the late spring or early summer of 2013. By this time, they had pledged allegiance to ISIS.

This raises the question of whether Emwazi, and the other British Muhajireen fighters continued to enjoy support from UK intelligence after joining ISIS as well.

By August 2013, Foley was being held by ISIS in a prison in the basement of the Aleppo Children’s Hospital, along with several other foreign hostages.

Another American journalist, Theo Padnos, had previously been held in the same prison, but as a captive of the Nusra Front. As the Washington Post reported, Nusra had established a headquarters at the Aleppo Children’s Hospital in 2012, which it shared with Liwa al-Tawhid, the US-backed FSA faction.

According to the New York Times, after ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi announced the creation of ISIS, the Nusra brigade sharing the children’s hospital headquarters with Liwa al-Tawhid pledged loyalty to ISIS.

Liwa al-Tawhid then continued to share the headquarters with ISIS, and its leader, Abd al-Qader al-Salah was criticized for his cooperation with ISIS. Killed by a Syrian government airstrike in November 2013, the New York Times noted that Salah “ultimately made accommodations with ISIS that, to some of his allies, were at best disappointing and at worst ugly. Though he had welcomed journalists and aid workers, when Islamist groups began kidnapping them, even holding hostages at a compound he shared with ISIS in Aleppo, he made no public moves to stop it.”

Liwa al-Tawhid’s collaboration with ISIS had come into the spot-light in August 2013, while Foley was languishing in prison in the two groups’ Aleppo headquarters.

On 4 August, Tawhid commander Abd al-Jabbar al-Okaidi, who also served as the head of the FSA’s Aleppo Military Council, was filmed celebrating the capture of the Menagh Air Base in the Aleppo countryside with ISIS commander Abu Jandal. Okaidi praised the ISIS fighters and referred to them as “brothers” for their help in capturing the airbase.

The video of Okaidi celebrating with the ISIS commander proved embarrassing to the Obama administration, because US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford had crossed the border to Syria to meet with Okaidi a few months before, in May 2013 – and because Okaidi was considered the main conduit for US–provided non-lethal aid to armed opposition groups in northern Syria.

McClatchy reports that in response to the Menagh video, Ford called Okaidi directly to complain, saying that it had created “a public relations nightmare for the Obama administration, which was trying to show Congress and the American public that it was boosting moderates and isolating extremists on the battlefield.” However, as McClatchy notes, “When the importance of the jihadis became undeniable, Obama administration officials were irate.”

Okaidi had also previously spoken openly of his collaboration with ISIS, again referring to ISIS commanders as “brothers” and indicating that he communicated with them daily in an interview with pro-opposition Orient TV.

Buying weapons from the FSA

Abu Athir, the ISIS leader in Aleppo holding Foley, had similarly kind words for Okaidi’s FSA. Al-Jazeera quoted Abu Athir as stating in July 2013 that, “We are buying weapons from the FSA. We bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti-tank weapons. We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA.”

The Koncourse missiles had in turn been provided to Okaidi’s Liwa al-Tawhid courtesy of the CIA. According to reporting by the Los Angeles Times, Koncourse missiles were provided to FSA groups such as Tawhid via the CIA’s regional allies, while CIA officers trained FSA fighters in the use of these weapons in Jordan and Turkey starting in November 2012.

In August 2013, a month after ISIS leader Abu Athir boasted of buying Koncourse missiles from the FSA, a video emerged of Okaidi’s Liwa al-Tawhid fighters also using Koncourse anti-tank missiles in the fight at Menagh airbase.

This suggests that Okaidi was receiving Koncourse missiles from his CIA handlers, and was then selling some of them to his ISIS counterpart, Abu Athir.

Ambassador Ford had himself been involved in the CIA effort to provide these weapons to Okaidi and the FSA. According to journalist Michael Gordon of the New York Times, Ford traveled to Langley, Virginia in 2012 to meet with then-CIA director David Petraeus to plan providing weapons covertly to the Syrian opposition.

Recall that US-favorite Okaidi was the FSA leader in Aleppo and claimed to communicate daily with his ISIS counterparts during this time. If pressed by Ambassador Ford, Okaidi could have therefore inquired with Abu Athir about Foley and the other foreign hostages held by ISIS in August 2013.

Dragging their feet

In January 2014, a civil war broke out between ISIS on the one hand, and Nusra, Liwa al-Tawhid, and other opposition factions on the other, in which ISIS was expelled from Aleppo city but took full control of Raqqa, which would go on to serve as its de-facto Syrian capital. Foley and other foreign hostages were then moved to Raqqa, while ISIS massacred most of the Syrian prisoners it had held in Aleppo before evacuating.

In the following months, ISIS freed 15 European hostages after receiving ransoms averaging some two million euros, whether from the captives’ governments, families, or insurers. However, the US government refused to pay a ransom for Foley.

Further, Ambassador Ford’s State Department threatened to prosecute Foley’s parents if they paid a ransom, which deterred them from raising funds for that purpose.

ISIS pointed to this in their English-language magazine, Dabiq, explaining that “As the American government was dragging its feet, reluctant to save James’s life,” other hostages had been spared after ransoms were paid.

British-backed militants 

On 19 August, 2014, Foley was beheaded by Emwazi, who shortly thereafter also executed journalist Steven Sotloff, and aid workers David Haines, Alan Henning, and Peter Kassig, as well as 22 Syrian soldiers. John Cantlie’s fate is still unknown.

Emwazi was killed in a US airstrike in Raqqa on in November 2015. However, two of his fellow Beatles, Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were later captured alive, and stood trial in the US. Both were convicted of participating in Foley’s abduction and killing and sentenced to life in prison.

It is no coincidence that Kotey and Elsheikh were tried in US courts. Any effort to prosecute them in the UK would have quickly collapsed, because British intelligence were supporting the very same armed group – Katibat al-Muhajireen – in which they and Emwazi were members when they abducted Foley. A UK trial would have proved a “deep embarrassment” for British intelligence, just as the attempted prosecutions of Bherlin Gildo and Moazem Begg had been.

In short, James Foley was abducted, held captive, and later murdered by militants from an armed group that received direct support from British intelligence. These militants fought in a dirty war to topple the Syrian government orchestrated by US planners, including Ambassador Ford.

Weapons sent by Ford and his CIA counterparts were given to another armed group, Liwa al-Tawhid, which shared a prison with ISIS during the time Foley was held there, and which sold some of these weapons to the ISIS commander then holding Foley.

Not only Foley but hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed as a result of the US and UK-led dirty war on Syria. The murder of James Foley is just one atrocity among countless others for which both Washington and London are responsible as a result of their effort to effect regime change in Syria.

November 26, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia, Iran and Turkey agree the US troops must leave Syria

By Steven Sahiounie | MIDEAST DISCOURSE | July 20, 2022

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran held talks yesterday in Tehran at the 7th Astana summit for peace in Syria, stressing the need for respecting Syria’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The summits date from January 2017, and are named for the Kazakhstan capital they were first held at. The trio of leaders decided the next meeting will be held in Moscow before the end of the year.

The Syrian Foreign Minister, Faisal Mekdad, arrived in Tehran late on Tuesday to be briefed about the latest decisions following the meeting of the presidents.

The joint conclusions

Many important issues were discussed by the trio concerning the situation in Syria, which has developed into a stalemate. Global media has stopped covering Syria since 2019 when the battlefields went silent, but a political solution has been elusive.

One point that Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed upon was the need for the US occupation troops to leave Syria, and their unified opposition to the Biden administration policy in Syria, which includes the need to lift US sanctions on Syria which are oppressing the Syrian people.

“We have certain differences concerning what is happening on the Euphrates eastern bank. But we have a shared position that American troops must leave this territory,” Putin said while adding, “They must stop robbing the Syrian state, Syrian people, illegally exporting oil from there.”

The trio affirmed that there was “no military solution” to the conflict in Syria, and agreed on the need to eliminate terrorism and opposed any attempts to divide the country.

The three leaders also jointly condemned Israel’s ongoing attacks on civilian targets in Syria, and agreed that the crisis in Syria could only be resolved peacefully and by the Syrians themselves.

Raisi said, “The international community bears the responsibility to solve the crisis of the displaced and Syrian refugees, and we will support any initiative to do so.”

The Turkish position

For at least two months, Erdogan has threatened to conduct a fourth military invasion into northern Syria. Analysts had thought the summit would be used by Iran and Russia to convince Turkey a new attack on the US-sponsored SDF in the northeastern Kurdish region would be a destabilizing event for the region. It appears that Turkey was able to get assurances from Iran and Russia that the SDF would not present a border terrorist threat to Turkey.

The US, Russia and Iran had all shared the view that Turkey should not begin a new military attack in northern Syria.

Turkey and US are NATO members and had been allies. But, the US chose to partner with the SDF, who are a separatist group in Syria led by Kurds who are following a socialist political ideology based on the communist framework of the PKK, an internationally outlawed terrorist group who have killed thousands in Turkey over three decades.

The trio agreed that terrorism must be eradicated everywhere, and there cannot be “good terrorists” who are used by the US, while others are deemed “bad terrorists” such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.

US President Obama began the US-NATO attack on Syria in 2011 for ‘regime change’. He failed. The US used the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East, as well as global Al Qaeda branches which were transported into northern Syria from their base in southern Turkey, were the CIA operated a terrorist headquarters which was finally shut down in 2017 by President Trump.

Erdogan is a Muslim Brotherhood follower, and his AKP party is aligned with the international terrorist group banned in Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The US position

The Biden administration has made no changes to US policy in Syria since taking office. The US is not present in any Syrian peace talks. Obama started the destruction in Syria, but Biden is not offering any solution. The US sanctions have prevented any reconstruction from beginning, and the Syrian people have been struggling under hyper-inflation, with no end in sight.

Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed the US-EU sanctions should be lifted and described them as being “in contravention of international law, international humanitarian law and the UN Charter including, among other things, any discriminatory measures through waivers for certain regions which could lead to this country’s disintegration by assisting separatist agendas.”

Trump had ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, but the Pentagon insisted that they stay in support of the SDF who steal the oil from the main oil field in Syria and sell the oil to support their socialist administration. That oil is the property of Syria, and because they are refused access to the oil, the Syrian people live with just two hours of electricity per day.

Damascus considers the US troops in Syria as a military occupation force which destabilizes the country and is against the UN charter and international law.

US raids on terrorists in Idlib

Idlib is the last remaining terrorist controlled area in Syria. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is the Radical Islamic terrorist group who keep about three million persons as human hostages. Turkey protects the terrorists and keeps Russian and Syrian military from attacking Idlib, while the UN and other humanitarian groups keep the terrorists, their families, and civilians fed. The US has also been very vocal and has accused the Syrian and Russian military for attacking terrorists in Idlib.

In a double-faced US policy in Idlib, the US has continued to kill ISIS leaders in Idlib, including the first assassination of the ISIS Calipha Baghdadi ordered by Trump. Since then, another five ISIS leaders have been killed by the US in Idlib. The US know that the terrorists in control in Idlib are allies of ISIS, and yet the US policy is to protect Idlib from being cleared of terrorists.

In 2015, Russia was asked to enter Syria as the Al Qaeda affiliate Jibhat al-Nusra was threatening to create an Islamic State in Syria. Putin recalled at the summit, “We broke the backbone of international terrorism there.”

Grain crisis discussion

Putin and Erdogan discussed the supply of grain from Russia and Ukraine to world markets. Putin thanked Erdogan for his efforts “to mediate by providing Turkey with a platform for negotiating food issues and grain exports across the Black Sea.” Putin called on the US to lift all restrictions on grain exports from Russia to improve the global food market situation.

Erdogan has been leading efforts to broker a deal to allow thousands of tons of grain that is being blockaded by Russia to leave Ukraine’s ports. Turkey has responsibility under the 1936 Montreux convention for naval traffic entering the Black Sea, and is proposing that Russia allow Ukrainian grain ships to leave Odesa on designated routes.

Steven Sahiounie is a journalist and political commentator.

July 21, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine – global hotbed for mercenaries and terrorists

By Drago Bosnic | July 12, 2022

Western mercenaries are often considered the mainstay of all foreign personnel fighting for the Kiev regime. However, although they’re the ones with the most media exposure, the truth is, there are mercenaries from all around the world fighting for the regime. And although international law outlaws mercenaries, the ones fighting in Ukraine aren’t just “regular soldiers of fortune”, but also international terrorists previously operating in the Middle East and Africa. Even before Russia intervened, information on Islamic terrorists fighting for the Kiev regime was already common knowledge.

Already in late February, Syrian intelligence services intercepted information that the Turks were recruiting troops among the terrorist formations under their control to go fight in Ukraine. According to the information made public at the time, Turks formed and armed at least seven groups of about 100 terrorists in each, which included members of terrorist groups such as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya and the Islamic Party of Turkestan.

A few weeks later, Iraqi Shia group “Ashab al-Kahf” reported that “military advisors” from the countries of the “anti-ISIS” coalition, namely Lithuania, Italy, Germany and the UK, arrived in Iraq to recruit mercenaries for the Kiev regime forces. Two US bases, Ain el-Assad (Iraq) and Al-Tanf (Syria), were used as headquarters for this operation. Residents from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Turkey, Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, etc. were given a chance to fight “for democracy”, with priority given to specialists in large-scale urban combat.

On March 8, the Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad announced the threat of “flooding Ukraine with mercenaries and turning it into a big European Idlib.” In early July, he announced the transfer of ISIS terrorists from Idlib to Ukraine, an operation carried out jointly by Turkey, the US and its client states. Earlier, in May, Sergey Ivanov, head of the Press Bureau of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, spoke about the transfer of ISIS soldiers to Ukraine by the Americans. In mid-April, Spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Igor Konashenkov, stated that at that time and since the beginning of Russia’s intervention, at least 200 Turkish-backed terrorists had arrived in Ukraine. This issue further ruined the already murky reputation of the Kiev regime, as its units were now composed of both Neo-Nazi and Islamic terrorist troops.

It’s pretty clear why the Kiev regime is trying to recruit anyone at this point. Simply put, the motivation of regular Ukrainians to fight for the regime is dwindling, as their forces are suffering heavy casualties, reaching the scale of 10:1, and not in their favor. This is almost perfectly consistent with the scale of artillery supremacy of the Russian forces, which is also 10:1. Just how desperate the Kiev regime is to recruit troops for the “Donbass meat grinder” can be seen in the fact that Ukrainian men are now openly being abducted and pushed to the frontlines. Recently, in Transcarpathia, Ukraine’s westernmost region, police were seen going to recreation centers, including public pools, trying to drag men out of the water and send them to military units.

And this doesn’t only apply to Ukrainian citizens, but also to foreigners residing in Ukraine, including college students. At the start of Russia’s special military operation, when foreigners were being evacuated, including African ex-pat students, some were denied access to trains and buses, while others were told they would be conscripted to the Kiev regime forces. An ABC News journalist interviewed a Congolese national who managed to escape this fate and who said: “We were told: ‘We will give you weapons, and you will fight for Ukraine!’ I say: ‘Eh? Will we fight for Ukraine? We are not Ukrainians. We are black. How can we fight for Ukraine?!'”

On the other hand, there were also mercenaries from some African countries, such as Nigeria, who stated they wanted to fight for the Kiev regime. The regime promised to pay for “their services” and additional funds were sent to the Ukrainian embassy in Nigeria. However, in addition to evidence of military experience, Ukrainian diplomats demanded mercenaries pay $1000 for a visa and a flight ticket, promising a monthly salary of $3,300 dollars, although they previously promised twice as much. At the same time, this is also considered a way for many to use the conflict as an excuse to reach Europe.

What is certainly clear from all this chaos is that the political West seeks to dispose of terrorists and also use them against Russian forces in this war to the last Ukrainian. In addition, Washington DC and London are profiting from all this in the long-term, as mainland Europe is bearing the brunt of the costs and consequences of their proxy war against Russia. Many of the mercenaries and terrorists fighting for the Kiev regime will certainly end up being Europe’s problem, provided they survive the conflict. As already noted, the Kiev regime, for its part, will accept anyone willing to fight in its suicidal confrontation with Russia.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

July 12, 2022 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

US recruits ISIS terrorists to fight in Ukraine: Russian Intelligence

Samizdat | May 17, 2022

The US has been “actively recruiting” terrorists to fight in Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) claimed on Tuesday, saying that it illustrates Washington’s readiness “to use any means to achieve its geopolitical goals.”

The SVR revealed in a statement that, according to the intelligence it is receiving, “the United States is actively recruiting even members of international terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State (ISIS) group banned in the Russian Federation, as mercenaries to participate in hostilities in Ukraine.”

The Russian intelligence service points to the American military base in Syria called al-Tanf, which is located close to the borders with Jordan and Iraq. According to its sources, this base and the surrounding area have turned into a kind of terrorist “hub,” where up to 500 ISIS and other jihadists can be “retrained” simultaneously. SVR claimed that last month 60 ISIS militants, who had been released from prisons controlled by the Syrian Kurds, were transferred to al-Tanf “with a view to subsequent transfer to Ukrainian territory.”

The SVR specified that during a training course at al-Tanf the militants are instructed on how to use anti-tank missile systems, reconnaissance and strike drones, advanced communications and surveillance equipment.

In the SVR’s opinion, this data confirms that “the United States is ready to use any means to achieve its geopolitical goals, not excluding sponsoring international terrorist groups.”

The intelligence service concluded by saying that the American administration does not consider the consequences of such actions, “even when it comes to threats to the security of European allies and even to the lives of the Americans.”

Washington has insisted that “there are no US soldiers in Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, the presence of American troops on Syrian territory at al-Tanf base, which the SVR mentions in its statement, has long been considered by both Moscow and Damascus as illegal. The previous US administration pledged that American forces would leave northeastern Syria but only after ISIS militants are defeated and the Kurds protected.

Then-National Security Advisor John Bolton made it clear that another task of the US forces at al-Tanf was to counter Iranian influence in the region.

In October 2021, there were reports that, according to Israeli defense sources, about 350 military members and civilians were still using al-Tanf, including some British and French forces that were described as “intelligence experts.”

May 17, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Why is the US Hyping Up the Threat of ISIS in Afghanistan?

By Valery Kulikov – New Eastern Outlook – 16.11.2021

To justify its interventionist actions in the Middle East, the United States, following the now cliched example, actively uses its alleged commitment to fighting against terrorism, focusing on countering such well-known terrorist formations as Al Qaeda and ISIS. The same goes for the actions of the USA in Afghanistan. However, Washington didn’t take any accountability before the rest of the world about the results of this fight against terrorists in Afghanistan during its 20 years of abysmal military intervention.

At the same time, the Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov and foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mentioned several times that Russia has sufficient facts backing the claims about the USA’s cooperation with the ISIS militants in the northern part of Afghanistan. In particular, since 2017, unmarked helicopter flights have been recorded within areas of ISIS militant activity, not without the explicit knowledge of US and NATO forces in their area of responsibility, especially in northern Afghanistan… According to Afghan sources, these aircraft have been used to deliver manpower, weapons, and ammunition to ISIS militants. Moreover, there were recorded instances of surgical strikes by the US Air Force not against terrorists, but positions of radical Taliban fighters engaged in combat against ISIS.

After the termination of the US military intervention in Afghanistan in August this year under the pressure of the international public and Americans themselves, certain American politico-military circles, clearly dissatisfied with this step, started to spin the propaganda campaign about the allegedly intensified in recent months “danger of ISIS activity in Afghanistan” through their lackey media. With the apparent hope of triggering a new international armed aggression in Afghanistan, again under “US patronage.”

Thus, on September 28 this year, General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced the supposedly obvious danger of strengthening of Al-Qaeda and ISIS positions in Afghanistan: “And we must remember that the Taliban was and remains a terrorist organization, and they still have not broken ties with al-Qaeda. I have no illusions about who we are dealing with.” “A reconstituted al-Qaeda or Daesh/ISIS with aspirations to attack the US is a very real possibility,” General continued.

The allegedly growing threat of ISIS in Afghanistan has recently been actively picked up by the American media, handy to the current military and political elite. In particular, recently The New York Times began to scare the world with stories that, since the Taliban came to power, ISIS militants in Afghanistan have intensified, their terrorist attacks are exhausting the new government and raising fears among Western powers of a potential revival of the group. During his speech in Congress, US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl admitted that the ability of Afghan authorities to combat the Islamists “has yet to be determined.” However, he did not say anything about who and when will determine the results of 20 years of fighting them by the United States itself.

The New York Times acknowledged that, after its disgraceful flight from Afghanistan in August, Washington had lost reliable access to intelligence. Limited drone flights now provide only partial information given the distance they need to travel to reach Afghanistan, and its established network of informants has been destroyed.

However, the real reason behind Washington’s new propaganda wave regarding the allegedly heightened threat of ISIS from Afghanistan becomes apparent in one of the final paragraphs of the article published by this newspaper. It states that the Taliban “refuse to cooperate with the United States in fighting ISIS by fighting the war on their terms.”

As for the organization of today’s fight against ISIS, Dr. Bashir, head of the Taliban’s intelligence services, has directly pointed out that such work is constantly being done, and his men have adopted the methods of this fight from their predecessors. Moreover, they even rely on Western equipment to intercept messages and radio communications. He insists, however, that the Taliban have something the past government and the Americans did not have: widespread local support that can alert authorities to attacks and militant positions, something that has always been hard to detect in the past.

As for some Western propagandists who attempt to use the thesis about the alleged merger of the Taliban with ISIS terrorists at the instigation of Washington, keep in mind that ISIS does not have such a strong influence in Afghanistan as the Taliban, and they are seen as antagonists in the country. The fact is that ISIS relies on Salafi ideology, while most Afghans identify themselves with the Hanafi school of fiqh. Therefore, the organization is a foreign body in the structure of Afghan society, which undoubtedly limits its growth of influence and popularity in the country.

As you know, ISIS announced the formation of the group in Iraq in 2014. Then came the ISIS affiliate in Pakistan. As for Afghanistan, a branch of ISIS emerged here in January 2015 under the Islamic State – Khorasan Province, which later the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan joined with. In 2015, several regional media reports revealed that the National Directorate of Security (NDS), under complete US control, had helped ISIS gain a foothold in Nangarhar province. There have also been reports that some leaders of the Afghan branch of ISIS, including Sheikh Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost (a former Guantanamo Bay detainee!), traveled in Afghan intelligence vehicles and lived in guesthouses belonging to Afghan intelligence agencies. Therefore, some analysts accuse US intelligence services of involvement in creating and strengthening ISIS in Afghanistan.

At a certain point, the Taliban viewed ISIS as temporary “allies” fighting against US intervention within Afghanistan. However, after ISIS demanded that Taliban leaders swear allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, clashes broke out between the Taliban and ISIS, especially in Nangarhar province. Notably, after such clashes broke out, government helicopters rescued ISIS fighters besieged by the Taliban in some areas, such as Jawzjan province. In particular, Afghan army helicopters supported by US forces evacuated ISIS fighters and their families and housed them in guesthouses in Sheberghan, Jawzjan province, belonging to Afghan intelligence. Afghan intelligence agencies implicitly acknowledged this.

The estimated number of ISIS fighters in Afghanistan is 5,000. A UN report released in mid-July said the number of ISIS fighters in Afghanistan ranges from 500 to 1,500. Currently, ISIS does not possess heavy weapons, guns, and tanks, even though such equipment was abandoned in large numbers by the US army after fleeing Afghanistan, and has no centers, headquarters, or open fronts on Afghan soil. In these circumstances, ISIS can gain a foothold in Afghanistan only if some foreign patrons support it with people, arms, and money to use this organization to weaken the Taliban’s power and turn Afghanistan into a new breeding ground for terrorism. And here, one cannot rule out such actions precisely on the part of the United States and its Western allies. For example, Washington has done it before by supporting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in its confrontation with the Soviet Union.

In a sense, former Afghan army and Afghan intelligence officers trained in the United States, who had already joined ISIS in Afghanistan in August after the US fled Afghanistan, could be used by the United States to manipulate ISIS. Their numbers, as admitted by The Wall Street Journal, “are still relatively small, but they are growing, according to those who know these people, and also according to Afghan and Taliban intelligence agencies.”

Today, the Taliban control the entire country and view ISIS as a foreign group to be fought and wholly expelled from Afghanistan. As for the restraints the Taliban has towards carrying out joint counter-terrorist actions against ISIS, confirmed by the Taliban on October 11 at the meeting with the Americans in Doha, one cannot rule out that it was Washington’s former ties with ISIS that could lie behind such a position of the current rulers of Afghanistan.

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Washington’s Assembly Line for Retraining Soldiers in Syria Isn’t Stopping

By Valery Kulikov – New Eastern Outlook – 25.09.2021

According to the Syrian news agency SANA, on September 19, US Air Force helicopters transported two new groups of militants to their base in Al-Shaddadah in Al-Hasakah Governorate, northeastern Syria, for retraining. There were about 60 people in total who had previously fought in the ranks of the terrorist group ISIS.

These militants were transported from a prison in the city of Qamishli, where they were guarded by Kurds from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after ISIS’s defeat in 2019. The majority of these prisoners have Iraqi citizenship, and among them are also Saudi Arabians and Tunisians. According to SANA sources, at least three former ISIS members have held senior positions in its regional structure in the past. One of them presided over the police force in Deir ez-Zor, another headed penitentiary facilities, and the third was responsible for finances.

SANA elaborates that they will undergo retraining at the US military base in order to later integrate into puppet groups under the label of the “Army of Free Tribes,” which are used by the US command to conduct subversive operations in northeastern Syria.

It is notable that this is not the first such US operation to organize “retraining courses” for Islamist militants at its bases in Syria. For example, on August 7, 40 ISIS supporters were transported to a base controlled by the US Armed Forces in Al-Shaddadah. As reported by the Syrian media, the terrorists, among whom were an ISIS “spy group leader” and “explosives specialist,” were moved to the military base from prisons under the control of the Kurdish SDF. It was stressed that the terrorists “were armed and received logistical support for the perpetration of further acts of terrorism, the target of which could be populated areas, sites occupied by the Syrian army, and infrastructure.”

On June 21, US Air Force helicopters transported yet another group of militants to Al-Shaddadah from the Es-Sanawiya prison, situated in the administrative center of Al-Hasakah. They were also preparing to join the Army of Free Tribes group, which the United States uses to conduct operations in northeast Syria.

Prior to this, in April no less than 70 other former mercenaries from the ranks of ISIS were transferred from Ghuwayran prison, which is also controlled by SDF fighters, to the pro-Western coalition base at Al-Tanf where the borders of Syria, Iraq, and Jordan meet.

Mehmet Ali Güller, the Turkish author of “ISIS. Black Terror,” writes that ISIS has always been a “convenient enemy” for the USA and has served as a “skeleton key” for doors, which Washington has wanted to open.

Another Turkish publication, Milliyet, emphasizes that the USA has constantly signaled the need to focus on the fight against ISIS, but it has never acted with the aim of destroying it. The USA used ISIS to change the map of the region, reconstruct it, establish the space for a terrorist mini-state, and partition and destroy the region’s states. Somewhere there was ISIS, and somewhere “Al-Qaeda” or “Khuras al-Din”. In other words, the USA has never seriously fought against the by-products of its own creation, which have appeared under different names. The publication emphasizes that the USA only ever acted with the consideration of exploiting them in their own interests and for their own benefit.

Any supporting information about secret ties between the USA and ISIS should not surprise anyone, since even The Washington Post writes that the leader of ISIS, Amir Mohammed Said Abel-Rahman al-Mawla, also known as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Kurashi, previously performed the role of informant for the US military in Iraq. An in-depth investigation of the support that several Western intelligence agencies, including the CIA, provide to jihadist groups in Syria can be found in “The Secret War in Syria” by Maxim Shae, an expert on covert operations, intelligence and US foreign policy.

Not only does the USA continue to conduct “retraining” for former ISIS fighters and other extremist groups in “its own interests,” but it also supplies them with weapons. The aim of such US actions is extremely simple: to prepare a new detachment of radical pro-American groups that will perform the rough work of Special Force units. And the results of these actions are already plain to see: on September 17, the militants cut off the power supply across Damascus and sabotaged a gas pipeline to the South near Deir Ali. In addition to disabling the pipeline, according to Reuters and Al-Ikhbariya there have been attempts to blow up two power lines in the Khuran district of Damascus.

Besides training ISIS fighters at American military bases in Syria, the US-backed SDF abduct civilians to force them to fight in their ranks, carry out raids on Syrian cities, and wreak havoc in the country. Thus, on September 20, as reported by SANA news agency, the SDF executed another raid on houses in the town of Abu Hamam in Deir ez-Zor during which they abducted nine local residents, who were taken in an unknown direction. It is reported that the militants indiscriminately opened fire to disperse some people who were trying to recapture the abducted residents, sowing panic among the civilian population. Windows were also broken in several houses. The kidnapping was carried out with the support of the US military.

In order to avoid allegations against the US Air Force of killing civilians, the Pentagon plans to train SDF militants in independent operations with the use of military aircraft. For this, training in aviating and using T-6 Texan aircraft and MD-500 helicopters was organized at the Al-Kafr base. For this purpose, according to the available data, three such aircraft and two helicopters have already been delivered to the American base.

Furthermore, as El Mundo and many other Western media have already reported, US militants who have undergone “special training” are actively deployed in Syria, along with mercenaries from the American private military company Academi, to guard and transport convoys with stolen Syrian oil to Iraq.

Meanwhile, it should be recalled that US military personnel are in Syria illegally, violating the norms of the UN Security Council. Washington funds the militants through a program of assistance to the “Syrian opposition” and is using them to retain its positions in the Syrian oil fields.

These illegal and predatory actions on behalf of Washington must ultimately be subject to a legal assessment by the international community and be stopped!

September 25, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Arranging The Middle East Narrative To Push The Agenda Forward

South Front | February 11, 2021

The United States is returning to a level of activity in the Middle East unseen in nearly 4 years. This development has become obvious over the weeks since Joe Biden became US President, firstly with a large deployment into Syria, and subsequently with smaller ones.

On February 9th, the Pentagon said that it was no longer in Syria to protect and exploit oil fields.

It is now back to hunting ISIS. Back to the square one of 2014 and the Obama era. ISIS somehow obliged by ramping up their activities throughout Syria.

It is a mystery that they were able to make such a sharp and sudden resurgence. It should also be noted that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces allegedly have about 10,000 ISIS terrorists imprisoned.

This statement of intent denotes a massive shift in posture for the US. When defending the oil fields the US troops were mostly static, when hunting ISIS they can, once again, roam around and carry out various operations.

It appears likely that Idlib is now also in focus – US combat drones were observed surveying Greater Idlib. Idlib is a mixed bag – it has Turkish troops, Russians, the Syrian Arab Army along with terrorists and the moderate opposition, although confusing these two groups can be forgiven. The newest, future, US ally is there – the soon-to-be-rebranded Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.

An indication of expected escalations and attacks are the Russian and Syrian military drills being carried out near Aleppo during effective wartime. Russia, separately, carried out a naval drill near Tartus.

And, as if by design, long-range missiles attempted to strike Russia’s forces at the Hmeimim Air Base. Drones occasionally attempt to infiltrate its airspace, but missiles are a rare sight.

Meanwhile in Western Daraa, the rebel leaders submitted to Damascus, likely fearing the upcoming chaos and wanting to choose a side.

Finally, the Biden administration is also working to secure Israeli support. The State Department said it doesn’t endorse Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, but doesn’t oppose it. It also provided a $9bn weapon sale as consolation. Tel Aviv is likely to use these weapons to counter its nemesis – Iran. It does so by targeting alleged Iranian interests in Syria.

Syria remains the lynchpin of US Middle East policy but the US posture in Iraq and Afghanistan has also changed. Withdrawing from the region is now out of the question – ISIS is making a resurgence, and there are other groups targeting American forces and convoys.

In Afghanistan, specifically, if the withdrawal does not move forward, the Taliban are also likely to begin targeting the US again.

The democrats are back in control and back to spreading democracy in the Middle East.

February 11, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

US attempts to destabilize region through supporting terrorism: Iraqi MP

Press TV – January 26, 2021

An Iraqi legislator has warned against the Unites States’ attempts to disrupt peace and security in the Middle East through supporting terrorism, saying Washington is even ready to set entire Iraq on fire so it can keep its military forces in the Arab country.

Karim Alaiwi, a legislator from the Fatah (Conquest) alliance and a member of the Security and Defense Committee in the Iraqi legislature, told Arabic-language Baghdad Today warned against the policies of new US President Joe Biden towards Iraq, reminding the government that Daesh terrorists started their activities during the reign of Democrats.

“The Daesh terror group became active during the former and current presidencies of the [US] Democratic Party. Washington’s policy is to disrupt security and stability in the Middle East, especially in Iraq,” Alaiwi said.

He added, “The United States has supported and financially sponsored most of terrorist operations in Iraq, and has protected leaders of the Daesh terrorist group in many parts of the country.”

The Iraqi lawmaker highlighted that there are areas in Iraq where Daesh is still active, saying Washington is preventing military flights over those regions.

Washington, he said, is ready to “burn” all of Iraq so it will have a pretext to prolong its military presence in the Arab country.

Daesh has claimed responsibility for a rare twin bombing attack that tore through a busy area of central Baghdad on January 21, killing at least 32 people and wounding 110 others.

Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, said one of the two bombers lured a crowd of people towards him in a market in the central Tayaran Square by feigning illness, only to detonate his explosives.

The second bomber struck as people helped victims of the first attack, Rasool added.

Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December 2017 after a three-year counter-terrorism military campaign.

The terror outfit’s remnants, though, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq, attempting to regroup and unleash a new era of violence.

Daesh has intensified its terrorist attacks in Iraq since January 2020, when the United States assassinated top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), along with their companions in a drone strike authorized by former US president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport.

Following the assassinations, the Iraqi parliament approved a bill demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.

The US began the drawdown under the administration of ex-president Donald Trump, but it has said a number of troops will remain in the Arab country.

January 26, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment