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.

 

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

 

 

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.

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