Supported by no evidence „The Telegraph“ revives the Assad-ISIL cooperation myth

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11455602/Oil-middleman-between-Syria-and-Isil-is-new-target-for-EU-sanctions.html
Below some ridiculous and hollow claims that anyone can easily refute:

„the rise of the jihadist movement [ISIL] has served Mr Assad’s interests by allowing him to pose as an essential bulwark against Islamist terrorism.“
Wrong: Before and parallel to ISIL there were and are jihadist movement that are hardly less sectarian and radical: The Nusra Front, The Islamic Front…
https://radioyaran.com/2014/09/11/the-vetted-moderate-rebels-of-the-free-syrian-army-who-and-where-are-they/

„Isil fighters captured the oilfields of eastern Syria in 2013. Since then, the regime is believed to have funded the jihadists by purchasing oil from Isil.“
Ah…so, the author and his sources do not KNOW anything, they just speculate.

„the regime is understood to be running some oil and gas installations jointly with the terrorist movement.“
Really? Then, why is the „regime“ vehemently fighting ISIL at the Jadal gas fields in eastern Homs province? And more important: Why is ISIL attacking it´s „customer“ and „oil and gas provider“ if they are maintaining a „joint venture“?

„Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary…added: „…yet another indication that Assad’s ‚war‘ on Isil is a sham and that he supports them financially.““
The Syrian Army suffered some of its highest casualties in major battles against ISIL:

a) at the Tabqa military airport in Raqqa province
For months Tabqa was besieged and under continuous attacks by ISIL:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Al-Tabqa_air_base
In addition to the hundreds of soldiers killed in battle, another 200 army soldiers were taken captive and executed:
„Following the capture of Tabqa air base a number of images and videos have been posted online showing around 200+ men, reportedly captured soldiers, being marched out into the desert and executed.“
https://bellingcat.checkdesk.org/en/story/60

b) at the Jadal or „Al Shaer“ gas fields:
„The victorious Islamic State summarily executed an estimated 300 captured regime soldiers and civilian employees“
http://syriadirect.org/main/30-reports/1719-prelude-to-a-massacre-the-downfall-of-a-raqqa

c) at the Division 17 and Brigade 93 in Raqqa province:
„Hundreds of Syrian army soldiers scattered to the safety of nearby villages still opposed to the Islamic State, or fled to the Syrian army’s 93rd Brigade, roughly 45km northwest of Division 17. An estimated 50 caught inside Division 17 were quickly killed, their heads removed and rammed on metal pikes lining the streets and parks of A-Raqqa city. More than 85 Syrian army soldiers died during the Islamic State’s final operation to capture Division 17“
http://syriadirect.org/main/30-reports/1719-prelude-to-a-massacre-the-downfall-of-a-raqqa

d) at Regiment 121 in al Hasakah province:
„in Al-Hasakah province, the Islamic State commander Umar Al-Shishani led a near simultaneous assault against Regiment 121..The Islamic State claims to have killed more than 100 soldiers at Regiment 121“
http://syriadirect.org/main/30-reports/1719-prelude-to-a-massacre-the-downfall-of-a-raqqa

As a matter of fact and for many months the Syrian Army has deployed two of its most experienced commanders to fight ISIL: In Eastern Homs it was until recently Colonel Suhayl al Hassan, the commander of the special forces unit „The Tiger forces“. During the most crucial operations he was assisted by another special forces unit called the „Desert Falcons“.
In Deir al Zour the government forces are led by nobody less than Major General Issam Zhahreddine.
Despite the above mentioned setbacks the Syrian Army has inflicted heavy losses on ISIL, among them:
„On 28 August, Syrian fighter jets launched a precise attack on an IS HQ in the city of Mohasan, during a meeting between military leaders and sharia judges. The attack resulted in the death of most leaders inside (numbering six), while others were wounded.[20][50] Another airstrike occurred the same day against an IS camp near Baath Dam, killing and wounding dozens of insurgents“
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Eastern_Syria_offensive

And just today the following was reported:
„In Hama province, meanwhile, government forces conducted air strikes on an IS convoy, killing 26 jihadists, including a senior local commander, the Syrian Observatory for Human rights said.“
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/contents/afp/2015/03/syria-conflict-is-assyrian.html

So, the only „sham“ and the true shame, Mr. Hammond, is your alarming lack of knowledge with regards to an army that – contrary to yours, the UKs – is fighting the real war on terror, while paying a high price in human blood.

 

ISIS, Maliki and the Sunnis

Two popular mistakes should be identified and avoided:

1. It is not merely ISIS against the Iraqi army. ISIS is the spearhead and the combat wise most experienced and effective single group of a variety of Sunni militias that are fighting the Iraqi armed forces. Not all of these 7 or 8 groups are radical islamists and sectarian. Many are tribal fighters disaffected with the central government which they accuse of having sidelined, oppressed and marginalized Sunnis for years. Others are former Baathists, thus more or less secular minded or nationalists, among them the Naqshbandy army.

2. Though it is true that especially the Maliki government is highly corrupt and has acted in sectarian ways, this is not merely because Malikis regime is backed by Iran or simply hates Sunnis. While ISIS as the name of a specific organization only exists since  a couple of years, the hatred ideology of takfiri salafism in post-Saddam Iraq is not that new. As early as in 2003 systematic and wide scale deadly attacks against Shia police, army recruits and especially ordinary civilians began to occur at least on a weekly basis. Suicide bombers and car bombs killed hundreds of Shia every month, targeting them in mosques, at market places, in Cafes and restaurants and even at funerals. Many Shia clerics were assassinated few months after the US invasion in 2003, e.g. Ayatollah Hakim:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Baqir_al-Hakim#Assassination

Not all but many instances of power abuse at the hands of Shia militias and Iraqi armed forces were a reaction to the relentless and high casualty bombings of Shia areas. Neither Iran nor the Iraqi Shia clergy brought sectarianism to Iraq. It was the „achievement“ – and not an incidental one – of Wahhabi/Salafi ideologues from the GCC countries awash in money and relying on arabic mass media in shape of several satellite channels broadcasting anti-Shia and anti-Iranian hate mongering all around the clock.

It is wrong to declare Sunni opposition to the Iraqi regime as „terrorism“ and not every Sunni insurgent fighting the Iraqi army is a takfiri. The Sunni opposition is legitimate but it suffers from being associated with ISIS and similar minded sectarian jihadists.

 

„Excellent“ US idea: (Further) arm islamists (and hope they fight RADICAL islamists)…

„Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, said the US would „ramp up“ its support to the moderate Syrian opposition, Isis’s ostensible rivals for control of the Syrian resistance to Bashar Assad.“
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/11/mosul-isis-gunmen-middle-east-states?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

This shows the unending idiocy of a senior member of the US administration. Still, her only silly and unsubstantiated approach towards the ISIS or „radical islamist“ dilemma is to attempt to boost the laughable and tiny Syrian non-islamist opposition. An opposition with a phantom, „ghost“ character, hardly playing any role in reality.

The US admin fails to understand that any „ramp up“ of Syrias allegedly „moderates“ has almost definitely one of the following consequences:

a) The moderates sell or forward the weapons to the radicals who are the more battle-hardened and experienced fighters, willing to die (and kill ruthlessly)

b) The radicals which are not only ISIS, but also „Nusra Front“, „Islamic Front“ or „Syrian revolutionary front“ (and thus according to Israeli sources 80% of the rebels) simply overcome the CIA-vetted „moderates“ and take their weapons

c) Many formerly „moderates“ discover that their companions are opportunists merely interested in building themselves a power base (just like the afghan militias in the 90s) and decide to join the „real mujahedeen“

After 13 years of „anti-terror“ war, „enduring freedom“, „mission accomplished“ and other garbage, Al Qaeda and affiliates are stronger than ever, while the oh so bad Bashar al Assad and his Iranian and Russian backers have been the best powers to fight Al Qaeda.