Why is Iran supporting Hezbollah?

Many Iranians are complaining about Iran helping Hezbollah in Lebanon, often emphasizing that there are enough poor and needy people in Iran more worthy of support.

While it´s true that there are indeed many poor people in Iran, we should keep in mind that Irans financial problems are not due to money „wasted“ on funding Hezbollah but mainly to – largely unjustified –  western sanctions. Irans loss from being disconnected from the international payment system and from the extreme sanction based decline of foreign direct investments is in the tens of Billions.

Hezbollah is Irans extended front line with Israel. Without this „artificial border“ Iran would not be able to deter Israel from attacking Iranian facilities by making use of US provided long range bombers.

Thus, when the civil war in Syria broke out and took a clearly sectarian tone by attracting foreign Shia- and Iran-hating Jihadists, both Iran and Hezbollah understood the existential threat. It was no coincidence that Israel immediately supported the „rebellion“ in Syria (while at the same time treating stonethrowing Palestinian youth as „terrorists“).
Irans support for the Syrian government is neither because of the former being led by an Alawite (often wrongly called a „Shia sect“) nor with the purpose of expanding Shia Islam or suppressing Sunnis. If Irans motivations were „sectarian“ then why did the country support Sunni Afghans (Massouds Northern Alliance) and Arabs (Hamas)? Why the support for Sunni Europeans (Bosnians) in the Balcan wars?
Irans support for Syria has three main reasons:
1. During the Iran-Iraq war Syria supported Iran, while all Arab middle east and Gulf states supported Iraq with money and arms, sometimes even with fighters.
2. Syria shares a border with Israel and constitutes another remote front line for Iran in case of a war with Israel.
3. Syria is the only land route to Southern Lebanon. Without an Iran friendly government in Damascus Hezbollah would not last long in any conflict.

The departure of the Syrian army from Lebanon in 2005 marked the rise of Salafi militants in that country. These forces have at times not only attacked Hezbollah but also engaged the Lebanese army.
As early as in the first months of the start of the Syrian war Salafi militants from Lebanon were intruding Syria and attacking the police and armed forces.

Iranian military strategists recognized the threat immediately: A sectarian insurgency enjoying the support of western powers, Israel, Turkey and the Gulf States, getting arms, funds, equipment and training from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the CIA while being romanticized and whitewashed by western and arab mainstream media would overpower the Syrian government. It was only a question of time.

As predictable as the pending fall of the Syrian ally was, it was also clear that the various backers of the insurgency shared one motivation: hatred of Iran and – as far as the Gulf states were concerned  – the Shia.
Iran could not afford to wait and see waves of foreign Jihadis arrive in Syria to not only „liberate“ the country from the „Nusayri infidels“ (derogatory term for Alawites) but in a further step move on to defeat the „Rafidhi“ (derogatory term for Shias) Hezbollah nearby in Lebanon.

What would happen next?
Since 2003 Iraq has been experiencing years of relentless bombings and massacres against the Shia majority (mostly civilians and including Sunnis living among Shias) carried out by radical islamists, many of them Arabs from Gulf countries. To make things worse Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), presumed dead, resurfaced as ISIS and intensified devastating terror attacks and warfare both in Syria and Iraq.
It was not far fetched to assume that after defeating the Syrian army and Hezbollah Syrias sectarian insurgency  would export the emerging „caliphate“ to Iraq to fight and defeat the Shia government. Despite the Shia making up some 70-75% of the Arab Iraqis the fall of the formally Sunni Saddam government was a thorn in Saudi Arabias eyes and continues to be hardly acceptable even 14 years later.

Iran had and has no interest in having hordes of sectarian „Majoos“ (derogatory term for Iranians used by Arabs) hating islamists on its borders. The decision to dispatch Hezbollah to the Syrian battlefields was nothing but the correct anticipation of an upcoming deadly menace to Irans security and territorial integrity.
In Syria Hezbollah continues to suffer casualties but has managed to contribute heavily to the survival of the government and the rolling back of the jihadists. Hezbollah engaged and defeated both Al Qaeda and Isis in Lebanon as well as on Syrian battle fronts. Without Hezbollah fighting Isis near the Iraqi border in eastern Syria the Iraqi army would have a much harder time defeating Isis in Mossul.

Hezbollahs proven capabilities in assymetrical warfare are a major reason why so far Israel has refrained from attacking Iran.
Plus, as mentioned, Hezbollah managed to severely weaken the anti-Iranian, predominantly Salafi insurgency in Syria and choke off any domino effects leading to the reestablishment of an anti-Iranian government in Iraq.

BBC tries to sugarcoat the Al Nusra Front, Syrias Al Qaeda branch

Seriously, what is this BBC article meant to achieve?
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31764114

One cannot help but to get the impression the author wants to downplay the Nusra Fronts evil and explain in what way this sectarian terrorist organization can be purified and euphemized. Reading carefully (and between the lines) it becomes obvious that the „logic“ applied is twisted, flawed and deeply disturbing.

Let´s go through some of the statements and „arguments“ of the author aiming to explain (or justify?) Qatars attempt to „rebrand“ Al Nusra:

„Firstly, there are no „good choices“ in Syria today. Qatar has surmised, it seems, that supporting or transforming the Nusra Front, is one of the „least worst“ options.“
Some questions/remarks:
1. Even if there were really no „good choices“ why does Qatar think it must intervene at any price at all? In how far are the alleged or real offenses of the Syrian government hurting or affecting Qatar that this remote and tiny country considers it righful to chose the „least worst“ option?
2. Why has Qatar invested billions of USD in almost all of the many so called „least worst“ options to achieve regime change on the grounds that „Assad is massacring his people“ but at the same time has not given tens (or hundreds) of thousands of Syrian fugitives asylum? Syria had not a twentieth of Qatars resources but hosted hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.
3. How did Qatar conclude that Al Qaeda in Syria (and nothing else is Al Nusra) is the „least worst“ option? How can a terror group that mass executes unarmed prisoners, behead opponents, is violently sectarian, and has killed thousands of people through suicide bombings be an option at all?

„Secondly, the Nusra Front has pledged to concentrate its efforts on removing the Bashar al-Assad government, as opposed to attacking the „far enemy“ (ie Western states).“
Really? Who was the witness of this „pledge“? Who signed for Al Nusra? And who is going to control that Al Nusra stays loyal to it? Had not Al Nusra earlier pledged obedience to IS leader al Baghdadi? And later to Al Qaedas Ayman al Zawahiri?
So, what is the pledge of a bunch of cutthroats worth?
So, as long as Al Nusra suicide bombs Syrian soldiers and „pro-regime“ civilians (which they simply denounce as „Shabiha“), throws Alawites and „pro-regime“ Sunnis into ovens and executes women for adultery BUT refrains from attacking western states, there is little to object, what?
Is this not a sick way of thinking and acting?

„This is why Qatar is hoping to bring the Nusra Front in from the cold. If the state can get the group to eschew its al-Qaeda affiliation and adhere to a broadly moderate Islamist platform, Qatar can officially commence, with Western blessing, the supply of one of the most effective fighting forces in Syria. “
This is all incredibly ridiculous and an insult to anyone (except Qataris and Salafis) intelligence:
We are supposed to absolve Al Nusra from all their beheadings and atrocities the moment they simply announce they do not belong to Al Qaeda anymore? Nusra (and similiar radical Islamists actions and mindset) is evil because of it´s nature, motivation and results, not because of that peoples official „membership“ to a vague umbrella group.

In the Qalamoun area on the Syrian-Lebanese border Al Nusra is continuing to work closely with IS, so their actions should be relevant and not their formal dissociation from Al Qaeda. Thousands of Syrian and non-Syrian extremists explicitly joined Al Nusra because of this groups uncompromising and highly sectarian Jihadism. These folks do not become moderates overnight only if their leadership grudingly accepts to abandon Al Qaeda in order to get more and better arms.

See also here:
https://radioyaran.com/2015/03/05/why-the-nusra-front-is-moderate-and-assad-is-the-magnet-of-terrorism/

 

Why the Nusra Front is „moderate“ and Assad is the „magnet of terrorism“

It seems that creativity with regards to twisting facts and changing definitions beyond recognition is a key strength of rightwing american think tanks and neoconservative policy makers.

A „moderate“ muslim is normally supposed to be a liberal, secular, non-sectarian and non-violent muslim. None of this applies to Syrias Al Nusra Front, IS or any of the many Salafi Islamists fighting against the Syrian government and for the establishment of an „islamic state“, „emirate“ or otherwise Sharia based government.
Yet, James Clapper, the „Director of National Intelligence“ has now simply decided to redefine „moderate“:
„Moderate these days is increasingly becoming anyone who is not affiliated with ISIL“¹

So, Al Nusra, a vehemently sectarian Jihadi faction that mass executes disarmed prisoners and beheads captives could suddenly be considered „moderate“, because the group is fighting ISIL (or IS) as well. Al Nusra, by the way, also executes women, e.g. for the „crime“ of adultery:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/14/us-mideast-crisis-syria-qaeda-idUSKBN0KN16520150114

Maybe, someone should inform Mr. Clapper that the Syrian Army and it´s allies, the National Defense Forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah are fighting IS as well. Probably these forces are the ones that have inflicted the heaviest casualties on IS and themselves suffered the highest casualties as well. A major battle ground has been and is the province of Raqqa and now increasingly Deir al Zour. The Syrian Army fights IS also in Qalamoun and on the Syrian-Lebanese border, where – listen Mr. Clapper – IS and al Nusra have been cooperating and coordinating operations for a long time.

Now, Qatar, which is an „Arab partner“ openly admits that it is supporting the same al Nusra that has been designated a terrorist group by the US state department:
„A source close to the foreign ministry confirmed that Qatar wanted Nusra to become a purely Syrian force not linked to al Qaeda. „They are promising Nusra more support, i.e. money, supplies etc, once they let go of the Qaeda ties,“ the official said.„²
Now, how is this possible that Qatar is not punished by sanctions for supporting a terrorist group?

Now, back to James Clapper, who uttered the following nonsense:
„at some point Assad has got to go because, as, particularly many in Europe feel, that the magnet for all this extremism that has found its way to Syria is because of him.“¹

What? So, Assad, whose country is ravaged by a civil war in which his mostly sectarian opponents have been receiving fighters, money, arms and other supplies from Nato member Turkey and the Gulf States and whose armed forces have suffered the highest casualties is the „magnet for all extremism“??? Did Assad invite Libyan, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Tunisian, Moroccan, Chechen…Filipino, Australian, Belgian, German, French…Jihadists to suicide bomb Syrians, both soldiers and civilians?
Would Mr. Clapper or any other genius behind such brainless phrases all Netanyahu the „magnet“ for Palestinian terrorism? How about calling American presidents „magnets“ for 9/11?

¹ http://www.cfr.org/intelligence/kenneth-moskow-memorial-lecture-homeland-security-counterterrorism-james-r-clapper-jr/p36210
² http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/04/us-mideast-crisis-nusra-insight-idUSKBN0M00GE20150304

 

 

Syrias Nusra Front, IS and Israel

Is this a coincidence? Right at a time when there were rumours that Moscow is leading an initiative to bring the Syrian government and the opposition together for talks, as usual the latter downplayed the Russian approach and started the well-known tactics of sabotaging talks by raising demands that no government will accept.
So, what happened that the opposition which few weeks ago had signalled to be more cooperative in the upcoming Moscow talks suddenly backed off?
Very probably the US along with the Persian Gulf based Arab backers of the Syrian opposition and rebels „intervened“ and made clear that there is no room for any talks that could help stop the Syrian war with Bashar al Assad remaining in power.

So, today the BBC reports that the US is going to increase the training of „moderate“ Syrian rebels:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30847689

Officially this training is supposed to enable the rebels to fight the „Islamic State“ (IS), but anyone who has followed the Syrian war knows well that the so called „moderates“ or „vetted“ rebels have more than once either joined IS (or the Nusra Front) or sold/handed over their sophisticated american-built and Saudi/Qatari provided weapons to them. In yet other cases they have closely cooperated with the Nusra to the extent that were it not for the latters devastating suicide bombing attacks against Syrian army installations much of the rebels successes would have not occured.

Just recently 3000 fighters of the supposedly „moderate“ Free Syrian Army (FSA) joined IS:
http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/3000-fsa-fighters-defect-isis-qalamoun-mountains/

The above mentioned BBC article is additionally remarkable with regards to openly admitting that the CIA has been training Syrian rebels under a „covert programme“ in Jordan since March 2013. What kind of popular, domestic „revolution“ is this that needs to be helped by CIA? Since when has the CIA brought anything good for Arabs and Muslims?

Western and Arab sources, which are mostly hostile towards the Syrian government continue to uphold the fairy tale that the so called „Southern front“ rebel groups are a major and succesful element in the Syrian war, which is free of sectarian Salafi radicals. To the disappointment of the supporters of the „moderate rebel“ theory, almost all of the relevant military actions in Syrias south which ended with a rebel victory were spearheaded and masterminded by the Al Nusra Front.
At the same time more reports are emerging that clearly highlight and emphasize the crucial and „game changing“ role Israel has played as the (often not so) hidden „patron saint“ of the islamist radicals:
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/01/syria-opposition-daraa-israel-communication-nusra.html

„Communications increased between rebels and the Israeli army before the eruption of the southern front in Daraa and Quneitra in September, according to Quneitra opposition activist Mohammad Qasim, a pseudonym due to the sensitivity of the subject.“

„The battle to capture Quneitra on Sept. 27 was preceded by coordination and communications between Abu Dardaa, a leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Israeli army to pave the way for the attack. And according to an FSA commander who partly participated in this battle, the Israeli army provided Abu Dardaa with maps of the border area and the Syrian army’s strategic posts in the southern area.“

„During the clashes, the Israelis heavily bombarded many of the regime’s posts, shot down a warplane that was trying to impede the progress of the fighters and targeted other aircraft.“

What kind of „revolution“ for reforms and democracy is this that is fought by Salafi Jihadists from several countries and supported by Israel?

 

 

 

Will Qatar become part of „the axis of evil“ or sanctioned as „rogue state“?

In an earlier article I quoted evidence for Qatars role as large scale fundraiser of terrorism by Jihadi groups, mainly operating in Syria:
https://radioyaran.com/2014/10/27/qatar-the-world-bank-of-jihadi-terrorism-in-syria-and-elsewhere/

Now, further evidence has surfaced pointing at Qatar as „world bank of terrorism:
„The cousin of Qatar’s foreign minister has been convicted of funding international terrorism and is believed to be linked to an alleged terrorist known as the “Wolf of al-Qaeda”…
On social media, al-Attiyah appears to have energetically supported Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s Syria franchise, the al-Nusra Front. He also appears to have tweeted support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil.).
The al-Nusra Front last year instructed donors to channel money to it through an organisation closely linked to al-Attiyah. Al-Attiyah is also associated with Umar al-Qatari, known as the “Wolf of al-Qaeda”. Al-Qatari was named last month by the United States government as a designated terrorist.“
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/qatar/11203140/Ministers-family-ties-to-terror.html

The question has to be seriously asked why Qatar should be allowed to host the 2022 soccer world cup.
The fact that western politicians are silent with regards to Qatars highly dubious role in Syrias bloody civil war proves once again that economic interests overweigh ethic, moral, legal or human rights principles.

Qatar- The „world bank“ of Jihadi terrorism in Syria (and elsewhere)

It is silly that western mainstream media simply quotes the Qatari Emirs denial of his country being a sponsor of Salafi/Takfiri terrorists. Contrary to pro-Russian or at least „not pro-american“ countries Qatar (and likewise Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait..) has a lobby. After all „Qatar is the richest country in the world per capita – and has made significant investments“ into various western countries and corporations.

The following article and the embedded video clip shed more light on Qatars role in devastating Syria (and earlier Libya) through arming and funding radical Islamists:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/qatar/11171847/How-Qatar-funds-extremists-across-the-Middle-East.html

The article explicitly mentions Ahrar al Sham. Some western and (Gulf) arab media have attempted to portray Ahrar al Sham as a kind of „acceptable“ – though not explicitly „moderate“ – rebel faction. The focus of such coverage has been to emphasize Ahrar al Shams fighting against IS(IS).  Simultaneously the same sources try to either  downplay Ahrars connection to and regular cooperation with Al Qaedas Syrian branch, the Salafi Al Nusra Front or to create the impression that Al Nusra is the arch enemy of IS(IS) and thus „automatically“ good or worthy of support.
Hence, it may be necessary to once again make absolutely clear that Al Nusra are radically sectarian takfiri Jihadists and 100% non-moderate.
„Islamist rebels decapitated prisoners around the United Nations bases near where Irish troops were serving in Syria, a UN report seen by the Sunday Independent reveals.“
The article makes clear that the beheaders were Al Nusra fighters:
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/alqaeda-rebels-dangled-victims-heads-to-goad-un-30638839.html

It is very embarassing for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey as the main funders, trainers, weapons providers and facilitators of the Syrian insurgent factions as well as for the US administration that continues to stick to the myth of „moderate“ rebels that the Nusra Front increasingly and openly voices sympathy and support for IS (with which it cooperates already in Lebanon during kidnapping and beheading „joint ventures“):
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/06/world/meast/isis-al-nusra-syria/index.html?hpt=imi_r1

More complications for the „standing“ and reliability of the insurgents arise from the Nusra being a major factor on almost all of Syrias frontlines and cooperating with all relevant rebel factions, among them the „Islamic Front“ (where the Ahrar are the biggest single group), the „Syrian revolutionaries front“ and the „Southern Front“.

For more details on Syrias different rebel factions and the radical islamist ties of all of them, see
https://radioyaran.com/2014/09/11/the-vetted-moderate-rebels-of-the-free-syrian-army-who-and-where-are-they/

The „vetted, moderate rebels“ of the Free Syrian Army – Who and where are they?

You have probably heard that the US is (once again) considering to boost the support for the „moderate“ rebels in Syria. These rebels are supposed to fight at once the Syrian Army and its affiliate forces (the NDF, the lebanese Hezbollah) and the „Islamic State“ militia.
Very often when the phrase „moderate rebels“ is used by western politicians and media it occurs in verbal connection with the „Free Syrian Army“, but what/who exactly is this  moderate „Army“?

If one bothers to read through battlefield news all over Syria it becomes clear that the major anti-government forces are all radical sectarian Islamists, mostly Salafis. At best you can distinguish between Pro Saudi and „less Pro Saudi“ Salafis, but what does this have to do with „moderate“?
In particular the major rebel forces are:
The „Islamic State“ (former ISIS or ISIL)
The al Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front or „Jabhat al Nusra“ (JAN), designated as terrorist organization by the US
The „Islamic Front“ (IF)

The IF is an umbrella group featuring as its major factions the „Ahrar al Sham“ (which just lost its entire leadership), the „Liwa al Tauheed“ (whose leader was killed a few months ago) and Jaish al Islam (Army of Islam).

Another umbrella organization is the „Syrian Revolutionary Front“ (SRF) headed by (another) Saudi favourite called Jamal Maarouf. In addition to Maarouf being labeled „highway robber“ by some other rebel factions, he openly declares support for and coordination with the Salafis of JAN, so again there is no way to view the SRF as „moderate“.

But never underestimate the „creativity“ of Syrias rebels and their US- and (mostly Wahhabi) GCC-Backers: In order to confuse the international audience and create the impression that there are indeed rebels other than the above mentioned three which were exposed as clearly non-moderate, yet more rebel organization names were created.
One which was meant to give itself the pretense of being Syrian nationalist, liberal and non-sectarian is the „Southern Front“. The Southern Front is said to consist of 49 different factions and 30.000 fighters. At the second look however it becomes clear that the two major factions of this Front are the above mentioned SRF of Jamal Maarouf who praises the Nusra Front and the Yarmouk Brigade that took Unifil peacekeepers as hostages. Plus, the Yarmouk brigade strongly cooperates with JAN:
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/03/zoubi-yarmouk-brigade-qaeda-saudi-southern-front.html
Interestingly the Southern Front was sidelined by the Nusra and many of its fighters joined the latter:
http://100wordz.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/was-not-the-southern-front-supposed-to-be-dominated-by-moderate-pro-western-rebels/

This is finally how Aron Lund comments the „honesty“ behind the Southern Fronts non-extremism/non-sectarianism:
Rather than an initiative from the rebels themselves, word is that it was foreign officials that called on rebel commanders to sign a statement declaring their opposition to extremism, saying it was a precondition for getting more guns and money. Since beggars can’t be choosers, the commanders then collectively shrugged their shoulders and signed—but not so much to declare a new alliance as to help U.S. officials tick all the right boxes in their reports back home, hoping that this would unlock another crate of guns.
http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=55054

Finally, the newest „unified“ rebel umbrella organization is the „Revolutionary Command Council„, featuring 18 rebel factions, but it suffices to read the names of SRF and „Jaish al Islam“ (Army of Islam) to know that outright Salafis and those who proudly declare to cooperate with them are definitely not qualified to be called moderates.

Summarizing, we see that there are six major rebel „joint ventures“: ISIS, JAN, Islamic Front, SRF, Southern Front and the Revolutionary Command Council. And we see that none of them is moderate. So, what exactly is the „Free Syrian Army“? Who are it´s leading commanders?
It seems the FSA has ceased to exist if it ever really existed as a clearly defined army with commando structure and clear battlefield agenda.
There was for instance General Salim Idriss, the former head of the allegedly moderate FSA, but it came out his „good“ rebels were involved in the massacre of pro-government villagers in Lattakia.
Then there was top ranking FSA Commander al-Okaidi who thanked ISIS and JAN for their crucial role in capturing Syrias Mennagh airbase.

It´s time to stop fooling ourselves, fabricate fairy tales and spread them dishonestly. A moderate FSA does not exist. Full stop. Many of those rebels deemed reliable and moderate by US, UK and France and trained and armed in Turkey and Jordan have either defected to ISIS and co. or sold/handed over their US and Saudi/Qatari supplied weapons to ISIS and Nusra. Here is a good document of shame for Obama and McCain who continue to speak about the moderates who should be further armed:
http://www.infowars.com/obama-plans-to-fight-isis-by-arming-isis/

And here another one:
„Of most interest was the capture of two M-79 rockets that were identical to a batch of such weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to rebels in southern Syria in January 2013. “
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/08/isis-jihadis-using-arms-troop-carriers-supplied-by-us-saudi-arabia

Obama wants to attack IS in Syria without a UN mandate and without the approval of the Syrian government. One major reason is the recent beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff. Obama wants to support the moderate rebels against IS (and Assad), but how „funny“ that – according to Sotloffs family – it were the MODERATE REBELS who sold him to ISIS:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/08/steven-sotloff-sold-to-isis_n_5788312.html

Finally I like to quote Rand Paul, son of former US presidential candidate Ron Paul:

“They say there are some pro-Western people and we’re going to vet them. Well, apparently we’ve got a senator over there who got his picture taken with some kidnappers, so I don’t know how good a job we’re going to do vetting those who are going to get the arms.”