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Tuesday, June 7

U.S., U.K. supporting al Qaeda in Syria. Why?

This is going beyond designating as "moderate" those rebel groups in Syria that are obvious al Qaeda clones -- a tactic that the U.S. and U.K. have been deploying for months to persuade Russia to suspend airstrikes against al Nusra positions. This is actually using groups as human shields to protect al Qaeda's franchise in Syria:
Geopolitical analyst Patrick Henningsen told RT he believes Washington is not doing enough to convince so-called “moderate” rebel groups to part ways with terrorists.
By designating militants who share the same areas and positions with terrorists as “moderate opposition,” the US is actually providing the terrorists with a safe haven, Henningsen reasoned. The terrorist groups are profiting from such neighborly relations the same way they make use of civilians.
“The classification of moderate rebels is a type of the human shield,” he said.
Hennigsen claims that the lack of a clear signal to the rebel groups coming from Washington is the result of a deliberate strategic choice made by the US government, which wants the military conflict to drag on.
“All this talk of co-mingling, this is all double-speak,” he noted, adding that Washington is“trying to play both sides this to continue this conflict” and has no intention of actually resolving the issue.
Henningsen makes an astute point about human shields.  As to his reference to "co-mingling," he means the repeated assertion by U.S. State Department spokespersons (Mark Toner, John Kirby) that the 'moderates' the U.S. is supporting are mingled with 'terror' groups such as Nusra and that the U.S. has been unable so far to separate these two factions.  Therefore, State wants Russia to cease bombing of Nusra in case it hurts the moderates.

This, as former U.K. Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford termed it in October, is shambolic, which was the most diplomatic thing he could say under the circumstances. His language has since gotten stronger -- although he still shies from calling the situation evil.  He told RT yesterday:

The US is “ready to de facto ally” with its archenemies from Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria as part of its “obsession” by using “so-called moderate” moderate groups to overthrow the Syrian government, former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, told RT in an exclusive interview.

The US “is effectively siding with a branch of Al-Qaeda” in Syria, Peter Ford told RT, speaking of Washington’s recent request to Moscow not to target Al-Nusra positions with air strikes for the sake of moderate opposition groups located in the same area.

The former ambassador denounced the move as “not reasonable at all” and “grotesque.” He also sharply criticized the US for their “obsession with getting rid of Assad and the secular government in Syria” that leads them right to the alliance with “their arch-enemies” and to the loss of “all moral and practical competence.”

“We can only hope that it is a temporary aberration and they will soon return to their senses,” Ford told RT, urging the US government to abandon their policy of de facto aiding Al-Qaeda’s affiliate. He also expressed his support for Russia’s “very reasonable demand that the forces of the so-called moderate opposition disentangle themselves from the embraces of Al-Nusra and allow Al-Nusra to be bombed.”

The former ambassador also stressed that there is “virtually no difference” between Al-Nusra and such groups as Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Fatah as they are“indistinguishable” in terms of ideology, sectarian bias and their practical methods consisting of“massacres and ruthlessness.”

He also emphasized that the only difference between Al-Nusra and other groups that western countries, including the US, portray as “moderate opposition” lies in the field of tactics.

“The so-called moderate groups pay lip service to the idea that Syria might end up with a secular system after negotiations provided only that Assad will go. They pay lip service to this but anyone, who believes it must be a fool but the Americans use this as a reason or the pretext not to go after these groups,” Ford said.

The former ambassador denounced the US’“obsession with getting rid of Assad, which they euphemistically call ‘transition’ in the context of the negotiations” as an attempt to carry out another regime change as they previously did in Iraq and Libya.

“They are keen, it seems, to repeat the same mistakes in Damascus,” Ford said, commenting on the US continuous efforts to oust the Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.

At the same time, he warned that “it is really dangerous to mainstream these jihadi groups with a handful of genuinely democratic secular oppositionists, who are the tiny minority of the opposition on the ground,” referring to such groups as Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, which the US, France, the UK, and Ukraine refused to designate as terrorist organizations and add them to a UN Security Council (UNSC) blacklist.

On June 5, the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the UN, in which it alleged that some of the so-called “moderate” opposition groups had been shelling residential areas in Aleppo, Syria, alongside Al-Nusra Front. The ministry also accused some regional powers, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, of “sponsoring terrorists” and attempting to derail the peace negotiations in Geneva.

The letter designated such groups as Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, and Jaish al-Fatah as Al Nusra’s “affiliates” and criticized some members of the UNSC for their refusal to add them to the UN list of terrorist groups.

In the meantime, terrorist shellings of Syrian cities have resulted in the deaths of more than 270 civilians within the last 24 hours, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. Al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham have also conducted joint attacks in the Kurdish-controlled Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood in the northern part of Aleppo that particularly left 40 people dead.

These shelling and attacks, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, became possible due to the fact that the terrorists’ positions were not targeted for some time by Russian air forces at the request of the United States. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Washington asked Russia not to target Al-Nusra Front precisely because the terrorist group is sharing territory with some “moderate” opposition groups that might also potentially be hit in airstrikes.


Moon of Alabama, in a post on June 4, was even stronger in its language about the same situation that Ambassador Ford addressed:

Syria: The U.S. Is Unwilling To Settle - Russia Returns For Another Round

The Obama administration does not want peace in Syria. The Russians finally have to admit to themselves that the U.S. is no partner for a continuation of a cease fire, a coordinated attack against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and for peace in Syria. Indeed, as Lavrov explains, the U.S. has again asked to spare al-Qaeda from Russian air strikes even as two UN Security Council resolutions demand its eradication. Huge supply convoys (vid) from Turkey are again going to the "rebels" who will, as always, share them with al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

The current renewed Syrian Arab Army attack towards Raqqa is being obstructed not only by sandstorms but also by a timely attack of al-Qaeda, Ahrar al Sham and Turkestan Islamist Party forces against government positions in the south Aleppo countryside:
More than 1,000 militants have begun an offensive against Syrian army positions southwest of Aleppo, the Russian ceasefire monitoring center in Syria said in a statement on Saturday.
The center also reported civilians in Aleppo as saying armed groups partly made up of Turkish soldiers had appeared north of the city.
The exact same scheme happened in March and April when a move towards eastern Syrian by the Syrian army had to be stopped to prevent further losses against al-Qaeda south of Aleppo. It seems obvious that these moves U.S. supported forces are planned to prevent any gains of the Syrian government in the east.

Today Lavrov again talked to Kerry:

"Lavrov expressed concern about attempts to delay the resumption of political negotiations under various pretexts," the [Russian foreign] ministry said.
As the U.S. is unwilling to settle the Syria conflict Russia will have to retake the initiative.

Is this a trap? Does the U.S. want Russia to sink into a quagmire in Syria? That is certainly a possibility but it is hard to see how this could happen when Russia comes back with a vengeance and strikes hard and fast.

Russian airstrikes against terrorists in Syria have tripled over the last days. Additional resources have been silently dispatched:

Without stirring a buzz similar to that of their first military intervention in Syria, the Russians this week disembarked ground forces and paratroopers in the port of Tartus to support more than 3,000 Russian volunteers dispatched to the region in the past few weeks, in a bid to revive coordination with the Syrian army. ...Syrian sources stated that the Russian joint command staff, which coordinated aerial support operations last fall, had returned to the Hmeimim military base in Latakia province to begin preparations for new operations.
One can only hope that the Russian leadership has learned its lesson. That it will not stop to pursue the enemy for no political gain when it is again, as it likely will soon be, on the run.


But Tony Cartalucci's May 31 report, which looks farther back than the Obama Administration's recent entreaties to the Russians, is so strong it makes the observations of Ford, MoA -- and Lavrov -- seem like the ruminations of a Pollyanna.  So what I'm going to do, for readers who are losing sleep over the question "Why???" is publish the entire report here, including maps and one of the photos featured in the report. 

By the way, note Tony's use of logic, which I've caught him doing in other of his writings. Very rare trait, very strange, for an American war intelligence analyst in this era.   

Syrian Border Chaos as NATO Aims to Win Proxy War

May 31, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO via Land Destroyer) - An engineered drama unfolds along the Turkish-Syrian border as terrorists armed and backed by a US-led coalition including NATO-member Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar allegedly battle both the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (ISIS) and Syrian-backed "Syrian Democratic Forces" (SDF) near and around the Syrian city of Azaz. 

Reuters in a recent article titled, "Islamic State advance near Turkish border, civilians trapped," reports that:
Islamic State fighters captured territory from Syrian rebels near the Turkish border on Friday and inched closer to a town on a supply route for foreign-backed insurgents fighting the jihadists, a monitoring group said. 

The hardline group has been fighting against rebels in the area for several months. The rebels, who are supplied via Turkey, last month staged a major push against Islamic State, but the group counter-attacked and beat them back.
Reuters, however, leaves out very crucial information - information that if concludes, would raise suspicions about the entire narrative alleged across Western media outlets like Reuters. 

If rebels are being directly supplied across the Turkish-Syrian border by a multinational coalition, how is it possible that ISIS forces are somehow better equipped and able to overwhelm these forces? The length of any ISIS logistical line supporting its fighters in this alleged battle - if not also extending over the Turkish-Syrian border in the immediate vicinity of the fighting, must be hundreds of miles long and in itself an immense strain on ISIS' fighting capacity.

It would be rather remarkable -- in fact, unbelievable -- for ISIS to somehow not be aided and abetted from directly across the Turkish-Syrian border where allegedly "foreign-backed insurgents" are allegedly receiving aid from nations like the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

And in fact ISIS, as well as Al Qaeda's Al Nusra Front, are accused of receiving such aid via Turkey - most recently with the Russian General Staff accusing Al Nusra of receiving "daily arms shipments across the border from Turkey."

Not Merely "Russian Propaganda" 

While some will easily dismiss accusations of NATO involvement in arming, aiding, and abetting listed terrorist organizations amid the ongoing war in Syria as "Russian propaganda," it should be noted that as early as 2007, Western journalists themselves had attempted to warn the public of an unfolding criminal conspiracy among Western special interests to do precisely this.

In the New Yorker's 2007 article, "The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?," Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh would warn (emphasis added): 
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda. 
Hersh's sources, which included former CIA agent Robert Baer, warned of an impending "cataclysmic conflict" being engineered between Sunni and Shia'a Muslims as part of this conspiracy. He predicted the necessity of Shia'a groups forming the front lines against sectarian genocide carried out by US and Saudi-backed extremists with the responsibility of protecting not only Shia'a Muslims, but also Christians and other ethnic minorities, falling upon groups like Hezbollah.

The Meaning Behind Border Chaos... 

In hindsight, Hersh's words now appear prophetic. Warnings of Western support of extremists in 2007 manifested as open warfare in 2011, and between the beginning of the war and now, an incremental revelation of US, Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari complicity in the rise and perpetuation of extremists like Al Nusra and the many terrorist organizations fighting along side it, including openly US-backed terrorist organizations like Ahrar Al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam.

This begs the question as to whether or not ISIS' departure from Al Nusra was more political than any actual strategic, organizational, or ideological schism. Rhetoric aside, examining the logistical necessities of ISIS' current "war" with US-backed terrorists in northern Syria, it is clear that the group, along with Al Nusra, are receiving support from Turkish territory.

Image: It has been clear for years now that the one place NATO seeks to establish a "safe zone" is one of the last remaining corridors supplying ISIS and Al Qaeda within Syria. 

What is unfolding in northern Syria is yet another attempt by the US and its allies to create and exploit chaos, rather than stem it.

Continued support of extremists by either neglecting border security, or directly and intentionally supplying, arming, and otherwise supporting terrorist organizations ensures maximum violence, humanitarian catastrophe, and a continued pretext for further incursions by both US and Turkish forces along Syria's borders in pursuit of long-desired "safe havens" where terrorist forces can better be protected and positioned to project their destruction deeper and more effectively into Syrian territory.

In reality, the chaos the US and its allies are citing as justification for further involvement in Syria's conflict could easily be brought to an end simply by securing Turkey's borders within Turkish territory. Turkish forces are arrayed along the border alongside US special forces, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and myriad of European and Persian Gulf military and intelligence assets. Failure to secure the border and cut off Al Nusra and ISIS' supply lines is intentional.

Securing the Borders 

For Syria, securing its own borders has been infinitely problematic. Attempts to approach and retake territory along the borders has been met not only by obviously Turkish-backed terrorist forces, but also by NATO-backed Turkish military provocations. Turkey regularly shells Syrian territory. Its aircraft and anti-aircraft systems have regularly been deployed along the border attempting to deter first Syrian, then Russian aircraft from targeting the streams of supplies being sent into Syrian territory to sustain terrorist groups including ISIS and Al Nusra.

Image: Hundreds of trucks a day pass over the Turkish-Syrian border in efforts to perpetuate ISIS' existence within Syria. Contrary to popular belief, armies requires enormous and continuous supplies to maintain their fighting capacity. No other explanation besides state-sponsorship can account for ISIS' years-long regional warfare.

Attempting to avoid a more direct and costly confrontation with Turkey has forced Syria and its allies to 
take a more indirect means of securing the borders, using SDF fighters to occupy and face off against Turkish and NATO forces without implicating Damascus directly.

Conversely, the use of these irregular forces has given NATO apparent leeway to make incursions of its own into Syrian territory - as they can claim they are not fighting Syrian forces, but merely "Kurdish terrorists." While this chaffs directly with America's alleged support of Kurdish groups elsewhere in the country, this is mitigated by a feigned political fallout between Washington and Ankara - despite US forces still graciously being hosted in Turkey and the two still clearly working in tandem toward the destruction of neighboring Syria.

A multinational peacekeeping force placed along Syria's northern border or Syrian-Russian bases placed further north may force one of two moves by the US and its collaborators. Directly attacking peacekeepers or Syrian-Russian bases from Turkish territory risking a wider war, or using proxies in Turkish territory, but at the cost of further exposing Washington and Ankara's hands in propping up and perpetuating Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Either option is fraught with complications and obstacles to overcome - perhaps even insurmountable obstacles. Additional covert resources supplied to SDF fighters along the Syrian-Turkish border could also be an attractive alternative. Syria and Russia could also work further on exposing the precise nature of Al Nusra and ISIS supply lines originating in Turkey - as well as in Jordan and through Iraq via Saudi Arabia directly. 

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”. 


Got all that? If it still doesn't explain why -- why don't we keep things simple and say it's because the people thinking up these schemes to save al Qaeda are evil, that's why.


That has to be one of the strangest developments in the GWOT/history, that the United States of America, that began with such promise and did so much good for its people and others, now voluntarily aligns itself with Islamic scum of several colorations and odors. All this with lies and concealment to dress up our national shame.
Your remark reminds me of something my father said to my mother after World War II ended. How could a country that produced Bach and Beethoven also produce Hitler?

It can happen to even the greatest societies. I am thinking of what Solzhenitsyn wrote:

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years.”

I guess it's because being ethical isn't a goal, it's a process. Moment to moment we decide which side of the heart's dividing line we represent. Something like that.
That passage stuck with me ever since I read it back in '74. The part that really lodged in my mind was when he said that sometimes people fall so far down that they can never rise again to any level of decency. Pretty chilling when considering the excesses of which he wrote. Given the nature of ISIS, I think our leaders are approaching that point. They are obtuse at every point that there is a decision that could be made and invariably choose the path to further gruesomeness and betrayal. Joining with the Russians against al Qaida and IS would send them fleeing to the waiting arms of the Turks in 30 days. But the Russian offer is spurned out of hand.

The phenomenon is visible most everywhere in the West, this obtuseness. Merkel could say, "Stop the phony war on Assad, repel invaders with force, and help refugees in place." But, no, she says, "Come live in Germany." The reason for this is straight out of Greek tragedy, Revelation or DSM-IV.

I enjoy your blog. First stop for news of Syria.
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