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?

 

 

 

The honest definition of „moderate Syrian rebels“

There are no „moderate“ Syrian rebels in a real and serious sense of the word. It might be that a very small number of militants fighting against the Syrian government are non-sectarian idealists who dream of a new Syrian society, which continues to be secular and in addition more human rights respecting than the current government with broader based and 100% free elections etc. pp. Such „moderates“, however, do not play the slightest role in the ongoing military events.

What western governments and their Gulf Arab allies plus Turkey continue to portray and hail as „moderate“ Syrian rebels are in fact militants who meet these criteria:
Insurgents who
– not openly call themselves IS or Jabhat al Nusra (JAN or „Nusra Front“)
– but frequently cooperate with JAN (The „Islamic Front“ even cooperated with IS when they took over Adraa)
– often have joined IS and/or JAN
– seldom hesitate to sell or share their advanced weapons (Manpads, ATGMs) to/with JAN and/or IS
– do not resist being treated in Israeli hospitals
– are often helped by Israel with the latter shooting down Syrian jets and pounding Syrian Army positions (which were then overran by JAN alone or in cooperation with „moderates“)
– are routed and humiliated by JAN in the North but continue to work with JAN in the South (e.g. what SRF has been doing)

Read more about such „moderates“ here:
https://radioyaran.com/2014/09/11/the-vetted-moderate-rebels-of-the-free-syrian-army-who-and-where-are-they/
https://radioyaran.com/2014/09/20/syrian-insurgents-either-salafi-jihadists-or-criminals-and-jamal-maarouf-in-the-middle/
https://radioyaran.com/2014/11/21/al-qaeda-rebels-and-the-southern-front-in-syria/

 

 

Al Qaeda rebels and the „Southern Front“ in Syria

Parts of western and arab press on the one hand and spokespersons of Syrias insurgents on the other hand try to portray the so called „Southern Front“ as the one major „moderate“ faction fighting to topple the Syrian government. They emphasize that this front line which is the only one to witness relevant successes and territorial gains  hardly hosts any al Qaeda or otherwise sectarian militants.

Interestingly though, whenever major attacks on Syrian army positions is under way, the al Nusra is not far:
„Another Syrian province looks set to fall out of Assad government control soon, with al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra sending some 2,000 fighters against Ba’ath City and Khan Arnaba, the last towns they yet control in Quneitra Province.“
http://news.antiwar.com/2014/11/20/al-qaeda-attacks-last-syrian-govt-town-along-israeli-frontier/

But al Nusra, which is considered Syrias al Qaeda branch is not the only radical islamist (Salafi) group fighting for the „Southern Front“:
„Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and other Islamist brigades and rebels fighting under the umbrella of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, who the US and other allies want to arm and train, currently have “the upper hand in the area,” Abu Yahya al-Anari, a militant from the Ahrar al-Sham rebel group, said.“
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/assad-says-isis-not-out-thin-air-israel-continues-treat-syria-rebels

So far the western mainstream news coverage has successfully covered up the role of Israel, but several reports leaked about Israel shooting down Syrian planes, bombing Syrian bases and military equipment and treating wounded rebels.

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/

Western air campaign, Kobane and ineffectiveness

2,5 months after the US began to bomb IS in Iraq and almost one month after the US and allies started an aerial bombing campaign against IS in and near Kobane in Syria it is not clear at all whether any real success has been achieved.

In Iraq IS has again managed to put a siege around the Sinjar area and encircle the Yezidi inhabitants. In Kobane IS has lost a couple of hundred fighters but still in inside parts of the city and was even able to take back a „strategic hill“, which the Kurdish defenders just had recaptured 2 weeks ago as an alleged sign of the tide turning (against IS).

Several questions arise:

1. How is it possible that the most modern airforce of the world is not able (or willling?) to dislodge the 1000 (or so) fighters of a militia that has a dozen of old Russian tanks and no air defense?
2. The weapon of choice against small mobile enemy units would be attack helicopters of the types Cobra, Apache and Black Hawk. Why are they not deployed in Kobane?
3. IS has brought reinforcements from Raqqa and the Aleppo countryside in long convoys of pick ups. Why were these not intercepted and attacked?
4. „Moderate“ FSA rebels, e.g. from the „Hazm movement“ have been extensively using american ATGMs (TOW missiles) against armoured vehicles but also against sniper positions and barracks of the Syrian Army. The FSA claims to side with the Kurds and against IS. Why has not a single ATGM been applied against IS vehicles at Kobane?

Another interesting aspect of the war against IS in Kobane is that major parts of the city have been destroyed, mostly by the aerial bombing and NOT by the mortar fire of IS:
Kobane destruction

Readers all remember, when similar pictures are shown from Syria, western and (Gulf) arab press put the blame squarely on the Syrian army and used phrases such as „Assad is killing his people“. The „lesson“ is that while it´s OK for american fighter jets to demolish civilian areas of a SYRIAN city because of IS presence there, the Syrian army has no right to bomb civilian areas that have been taken by islamist militias and turned to launchpads for mortar attacks.

The FSA complains that US airstrikes hit „Al Qaeda“ in Syria

Just read and laugh:
Statement 1: „“Because there is no coordination, [the U.S.-led coalition] hit an al Nusrah base in the Idlib suburbs that is only 200 meters from the Free Syrian Army,” Al Marie said.“
Conclusion: the „terrorist-branded Al Qaeda affiliate“ al Nusrah front has its base in walking distance of the „MODERATE“ FSA.
Statement 2: „“The FSA is passing on solid targeting information about ISIS and Nusrah. We don’t know if they are using it or not,” the opposition official said. „

So, the same FSA that is more than obviously cooperating with al Nusrah is giving targetting information regarding al Nusrah to the Americans???
What is clear is that (1) is true. (2) however is only for the usual idiots in the US administration to believe or at least claim in the public that the FSA is moderate and hostile to al Nusrah.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/30/exclusive-america-s-allies-almost-bombed-in-syrian-airstrikes.html

Why is „Isis an Hour Away from Baghdad“ despite american airstrikes?

This article by veteran expert middle east journalist Patrick Cockburn is troubling:

„US air strikes are failing to drive back Isis in Iraq where its forces are still within an hour’s drive of Baghdad.“
http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/isis-an-hour-away-from-baghdad/

The statements and findings of Cockburn are both baffling and frightening.
How can it be that the best equipped airforce of the world does not make much difference against a lightly armed militia without airforce and almost without airdefense?
What are all the satellites, AWACS, armed drones and else achieving? Apparently not much, but the most important conclusion is the following which should be thought-provoking for every analytical and sane person:
– In Iraq the US army has been actively invited by the Iraqi government to help
– Despite all of it various shortcomings Iraq HAS already a numerically sizable army of at least 250.000
– In addition there are some (at least) 50.000 Guerilla trained and motivated Shia militias
– Then there are the (probably overhyped) „battle-hardened“ and disciplined Kurdish Peshmerga likely to number 100.000
– Last but not least there are at least some Sunni tribes (like the Dulaimis) hostile to ISIS
http://online.wsj.com/articles/sunni-tribes-join-iraqi-forces-in-battle-backed-by-u-s-airstrikes-1410133588

In total ISIS is facing forces numbering 500.000 men but still manages to not only hold ground but also even to make gains.
Now given this, what sense does it make to create yet another ostensibly „moderate“ Syrian Rebel army (lets call it „FSA 2.0“) with 15.000 men to fight ISIS when much bigger and better trained and more motivated forces have failed ( so far) even despite american air support?
More than IS is losing men due to casualties from air strikes their ranks are replenished by fresh (international) Jihad recruits, a possible „joint venture“ or „reunion“ with Al-Qaedas Syrian branch „Al Nusra Front“ and further defections from other Islamist rebels.
The idea behind FSA 2.0 reveals even more stupidity and lack of strategy when it is said that these forces after defeating IS will turn on the Syrian Arab Army and its allies, defeat them as well and thus „liberate“ Syria? The most battle-experienced and motivated major military entity in the Syrian war is the SAA with around 200.000 soldiers. In addition there are at least 50.000 National Defense Forces (NDF) and probably some further 20.000 loyalists such as the Arab National Guard and not to mention Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia militias, together likely to number 10.000.

It remains a mystery how an artificially created relatively small force should enter the Syrian battle field and change the dynamics.
The Americans are not seriously interested in an end of war and bloodshed in Syria because the Israelis and Saudis but also the Turks are opposed to it. If the US were sincere in their claimed desire for peace in Syria they would exert pressure on their Arab (Gulf) allies and Turkey to stop funding and arming the rebels and smuggling them into Syria. They would apply pressure on the rebels to attend peace talks without demanding ridiculous preconditions. So the Geneva conferences were doomed to failure and torpedoed in advance. The same will happen with the FSA series. The orginal FSA failed and FSA 2.0 will fail, too, but hey why not give it another try? And then another? Maybe FSA 4.0 will be ceremonially announced when 400.000 Syrians have been died.

Syrian insurgents: Either Salafi Jihadists or criminals – and Jamal Maarouf in the middle

In an earlier article I pointed out that the „moderate“ Syrian rebel is more an object of wishful thinking and a tool for the US administration for fooling itself and others. Still major parts of international mass media along with the leaders and officials of (mainly) Nato countries speak about the „Free Syrian Army“ without any of them bothering to explain of whom this phantom army consists.

In recent weeks the so called „Syrian Revolutionaries Front“ (SRF), led by Jamal Maarouf is increasingly mentioned and it seems this group is supposed to be the army of moderate, vetted rebels receiving money, arms and training through the GCC-Turkey-CIA with training facilities in Jordan and Turkey.
The problem is, however, that the SRF is hardly the organization any sane person would seriously consider moderate:
„Syrian Revolutionaries Front again supports al Qaeda…in Quneitra…The SRF, which is supplied and backed by the United States, continues to fight alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. While it is unclear whether they share the same ideology, it is still worth noting that a Western-backed force works in conjunction with al Qaeda.
http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2014/09/syrian_revolutionaries_front_a.php#ixzz3DtQMjSAC

The best favor one could do the „Free Syrian Army“ would be to say the FSA are all those rebels who are NOT „Islamic State“, „Nusra Front“, „Islamic Front“ and also not SRF. What remains is a bunch of armed, unorganized criminals:

„The FSA, a collection of tenuously coordinated, moderately Islamic, rebel groups was long the focus of the West’s hopes for ousting President Bashar al-Assad.
But in northern Syria, the FSA has now become a largely criminal enterprise, with commanders more concerned about profits from corruption, kidnapping and theft than fighting the regime, according to a series of interviews with The Sunday Telegraph…
Suddenly many of the fighters bought new homes, and started flashing more money. One man said of Jamaal Marouf: “He had nothing before the revolution, now he drives around in his personal bullet proof car.”“
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-free-syrian-army-became-a-largely-criminal-enterprise-2013-11

 

American foreign policy „logic“ regarding Syria, Iran and the „Islamic State“

What is going on in Syria with regards to the „Islamic State“ (former ISIS) is appalling:
The Syrian Army is waging heavy attacks on IS positions everyday, while the US is claiming that IS is a creation of the Syrian government or its „ally“.
At the same time the US considers Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia „coalition partners“ in the fight against IS, while all of them have been funding, arming and supporting IS for years.
The US wants to invest even more in the „moderate rebels“ of the so called „Free Syrian Army“, an entity that mostly exists on paper and hardly plays a role in Syrias civil war. Now, these „moderates“ who are supposed to do the ground fighting have openly declared a „truce“ with IS because both want to fight against the Syrian government. The deal was brokered by Al Qaidas affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front.

So, according to „American foreign policy „logic“:
„Moderate“ rebels who work with Al Qaida (Nusra) and make truce with IS = Good
Syrian government that fights Al Qaida and IS = Bad

It becomes even more bizarre:
„John Kerry says Iranian role in coalition to confront Islamic State in Syria precluded by support of Damascus regime“
http://live.aljazeera.com/Event/Syria_Live_Blog/126725135

This is just as rational as if Stalin had said in 1945 that the Americans are not entitled to be part of the „allies“ against Nazi Germany because they support England (who was already fighting Nazi Germany).
At the same time the Americans support the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq in their fight against IS. ==> Kurdish Peshmerga who fight IS = Good
Now, listen what the Kurds say about Iran:
„“They gave us rockets, cannons, maps,“ a grateful Bakhtiar said of the Iranians, gesturing at the large-scale maps competing for wall space. „We needed these things badly.“
The Kurdish leader also confirmed the presence of consultants from the Pasdaran, also known as the Revolutionary Guard — who, he said, „were very helpful““
http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iraq-iran-20140915-story.html