November 21, 2014
How The U.S. And Israel Support Al-Qaeda in South Syria
When the Obama administration said it bombed the "Khorasan group" in north Syria experts wondered what that meant. There was and is no such group. What the Obama administration called Khorasan group were leadership people of Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syria branch of al-Qaeda, which years ago had been active in Afghanistan and Pakistan before coming to Syria. So why make a distinction between Jabhat al-Nusra active all over Syria and a leadership group of Jabhat al-Nusra situated in north Syria?
My hunch is that there is active cooperation between Jabhat al-Nusra and the U.S. especially in south Syria and the distinction was made to keep some form of alliance in the south alive. The mercenaries of the Fee Syrian Army in south Syria have been trained and armed by the CIA in Jordan and are controlled through a multinational operations room somewhere in Amman.
In the south Nusra is actively fighting on the side of the Fee Syrian Army which is also getting support from Israel. During the last months the FSA, with al-Nusra fighters as storm troopers in the lead, captured large parts along the Jordanian and Israeli border with Syria. There aim is, as we reported two month ago, to open a corridor towards Damascus. There progress against the Syrian army in the border area was made with the help of supporting Israeli artillery fire.
Reuters confirms today that Nusra, as we wrote, is leading the fighting in the south:
Fighters from Al-Qaida's Nusra Front and other insurgents attacked and briefly entered Baath City in southern Syria on Thursday, the army's last major bastion in a province flanking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Hundreds of Nusra fighters who fled from the eastern Deir al-Zor province after being driven out by Islamic State earlier this year have regrouped in southern Syria, boosting the rebel presence there, activists say.
"It gave the fighters in the area the upper hand," said Abu Yahya al-Anari, a fighter from Ahrar al-Sham.
Insurgent gains since earlier this year have been mainly achieved by Nusra Front together with other Islamist brigades and rebels fighting under the umbrella of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army. Unlike rebel in-fighting further north, they have coordinated well so far.
In the north Jabhat al-Nusra fought mercenary groups supported by the U.S. and Turkey. In the south it cooperates well with such groups supported, equipped and trained by the U.S. from Jordan and by Israel. Al-Nusra in the north was renamed "Khorasan group" so it could be bombed without endangering the Fee Syrian Army alliance with al-Nusra in the south.
The Nusra fighters in the south will of course use the weapons and other equipment the Fee Syrian Army groups receive from the CIA and other secret services. These groups are fighting together and are naturally sharing their resources.
In October, a month after I reported about the operations in the south, the Washington Institute, part of the Israel Lobby in the U.S., acknowledged those plans and pushed for more U.S. and Israeli support at the southern front. It did of course falsely minimize the participation of Nusra.
Coordinated Israeli, Jordanian, and allied assistance in the south could boost the moderate Syrian rebels there, stave off an extremist takeover, and facilitate the ongoing international campaign against ISIS.
So far, most Israeli support for moderate, local, non-Islamist rebel battalions along the border has been limited to humanitarian aid, such as treating 1,400 sick and wounded Syrians in Israeli hospitals, supplying medication, food, and heaters to villagers, and so forth. Some rebel groups maintain constant contact with the IDF, including frequent secret meetings reportedly held in Tiberias, but only a modest amount of weapons have been provided to them, mainly rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
The operation in the south has nothing to do with ISIS which has so far little presence in the south but is solely directed against the Syrian army, the government of Syria and the people of Damascus. The fighting is led, as Reuters today acknowledged, by Jabhat al-Nusra fighters and U.S. and Israel support is given to local Fee Syrian Army groups strongly aligned with al-Nusra.
The U.S. and Israel will certainly have know what Reuters reports today and what we claimed earlier. They have been and are actively and knowingly arming groups who strongly cooperate and share their resources, received from the U.S. and Israel, with al-Qaeda.
Posted by b on November 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM | Permalink
Where is the reliable evidence of a "Free Syrian Army?"
Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 21, 2014 12:39:58 PM | 1
Perhaps there was a quid pro quo involved: southern/eastern JaN commanders (or sheiks or psychopaths or whatever they're called) agreed to fight for and with the FSA, provided that Uncle wipes out their internal competition. Meaning: you kill my titular boss, and my guys will give your sham army some sort of actual combat capacity.
Posted by: Martin Finnucane | Nov 21, 2014 12:57:59 PM | 2
Fortunately, not nearly enough combat capacity to do the job. I expect the JaN cadres are in this for the cash and weapons, which they'll use to help carve fiefdoms out of what used to be Syria.
Posted by: Martin Finnucane | Nov 21, 2014 1:02:22 PM | 3
B's recent analysis on the Syrian war have been excellent but this one seems to be an exercise in confirmation bias. The Islamic State is everywhere in this conflict and FSA soldiers joining Nusra or the IS does not mean cooperation but defection.
The fact that Israel once attacked Syrian forces is not proof of a policy of support for the rebels it is just an incident that has already been explained, the fact that the Syrians were in a fixed position and the rebels were mobile may explain their being targeted.
Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 21, 2014 1:14:14 PM | 4
The fact that Israel once attacked Syrian forces is not proof of a policy of support for the rebels it is just an incident that has already been explained,
Quite wrong. Israeli support for Jabhat al-Nusra has been going on for some time. It is not an isolated incident.
Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 21, 2014 1:35:41 PM | 5
@1 don.. i think that is why 'b' is calling them the "Fee" Syrian Army, as opposed to 'free'.. comes via a fee paid by the usa/israel and has a nicer ring to it then saying al qaeda even if they are the same thing..
thanks for this post b.. it is insightful thanks the western propaganda having been exorcised from it..
Posted by: james | Nov 21, 2014 2:02:05 PM | 6
Israel has provided safe haven for rebels, treated them in its hospitals, made a no fly zone extending into Syria, and used artillery to clear an area in Syria for rebels to attack from. This is not confirmation bias.
Posted by: Crest | Nov 21, 2014 2:20:39 PM | 7
@ james #6
I suggest Faux Syrian Army.(showing off my French)
Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 21, 2014 3:03:10 PM | 8
re James 6
i think that is why 'b' is calling them the "Fee" Syrian Army, as opposed to 'free'.. comes via a fee paid by the usa/israel and has a nicer ring to it then saying al qaeda even if they are the same thing..
b's practice is drawn from the Angry Arab blog, where As'ad Abu Khalil, the owner, denominates the Free Syrian Army as the Fee Syrian Army, because it only works for money.
Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 21, 2014 3:33:02 PM | 9
The Angry Arab blog is a good read for those who like cutting remarks about the Middle Eastern situation, as I do. With a lot of knowledge.
Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 21, 2014 4:00:46 PM | 10
This is just more evidence for something that has been obvious for at least ten years. The Islamic movements that operate under the moniker Al qaida, Nusra front, taliban, ISIS, and so on do not attack Israeli targets. Basically these forces come from the Sunni side of Islam and mostly make war on other muslims (especially those who are secular or Shia) or attack Christians. Israel is not on their target list.
What I have trouble understanding is why these movements attract so many Sunni Muslim youth in the west who have, at least in part, been radicalized by their hatred of Israel and its oppression of the Palestinian people. Bin Laden, the inspiration for all of these movements, frequently stated that Israel was one of main motivating factors in his ideology. But neither he nor any of his disciples have ever acted on this conviction. Not just that but that recent video showing the execution of Syrian soldiers being carried out by these same jihadis (apparently they were all from Europe). These were soldiers that serve a nation that is one of the only countries on earth that confronts Zionist expansion in the ME. Those killers are one very sick breed of people. And not just because they are heartless cold blooded killers but they are serving the aims of the very masters they claim to oppose.
I wish some the ideologues for the jihadi forces would show up here and defend these actions. It would interesting to see what they have to say about themselves.
Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 21, 2014 4:13:43 PM | 11
Now you are creating No Fly Zones and Safe Havens where none exist to support your confirmation bias.
Israel may be happy that Hezbollah has been pushed out of this area but they are not in control of the Syrian side of the border or what is happening there. Treating injured Syrians, whomever they may be, in their MASH units is another incidental occurance that has no larger policy implications.
The Islamic State and al-Nusra are and always will be sworn enemies of Israel and the US.
Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 21, 2014 4:36:28 PM | 12
The Islamic State and al-Nusra are and always will be sworn enemies of Israel
In sworn words to be sure but never in actions.
Posted by: ToivoS | Nov 21, 2014 4:58:42 PM | 13
Frankly I don't know about this idea of the rebels sliding north under the protection of Israeli guns. Certainly it's a better idea than the attacking directly from the south, which didn't work, twice. My Lebanese student from Ba'albakk confirmed last week that the direct Beirut-Damascus border crossing has become dangerous, which it wasn't before.
I presume that the intention is to surround Damascus, even if weakly.
I don't think much of the idea that they will be able to relieve the Nusra siege of the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk.
Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 21, 2014 5:12:55 PM | 14
Good points, and what is puzzling me is why so many youth not only from Europe but also from North Africa feel such a hatred against Shia although they never met any in their lives?
Non-native speakers of arabic and many ethnic european converts use derogatory terms like "Raafidhah" against Shia without even knowing what it means. To this date no Sunni has ever given a sufficiently consistent argument within "islamic theologian logic" while being Shia constitutes apostasy. Not to mention that the Quran does not prescribe any earthly punishment for apostasy.
So, basically some mentally insane radicals accuse other muslims of a "sin" that they cannot prove them to have committed and apply a punishment against them that is based on a highly dubious Hadith (prophetic tradition).
They commit one of the greatest sins in Islam (killing) on the basis of a "law source" (Hadith) that was written down 200+ years after Muhammad.
This is sick but most of them don´t even care about such details.
Posted by: Kerkaraje | Nov 21, 2014 6:26:34 PM | 15
South of Syria is the last chance for the survival of what is left of the Free Syrian Army. They have lost the North East to Al Nusra, North East to ISIS and are about to loose Aleppo.
Collaboration with Turkey is becoming increasingly difficult as Qatar, under the GCC pressure, is pulling out its support for the Islamist associated with the Moslem Brotherhood.
This is why the USA and Saudi Arabia are doing all they can to come to the rescue of what is left of them, despite their close association with Al Nusra. They think they'll deal with Al Nusra after..
The Syrian army is overstretched but they are fighting back in Deraa. They are also counting on the potential conflicts between the FSA and Al Nusra that their intelligence is fueling on the ground
Posted by: Virgile | Nov 21, 2014 10:19:31 PM | 16
@15 Kerkaraje.. thanks for sharing all that.. it's my impression too.. none of any of this has to do with religion as i see it, but interestingly so much of the pain and suffering being done to others is under the banner of religion..
and, i think the usa or this conglomerate of countries supporting ISIS while saying they aren't, are also happy to perpetuate the idea of it being all about islam for their own self interests.. every one of the american leaders who swears on a bible to serve their country or whatever they do - may as well swear on a bible to serve the military industrial complex and banking system while they are at it too.. their connection to the bible is complete bs..
Posted by: james | Nov 22, 2014 1:36:16 AM | 17
Really, I don't see it as so surprising that some Western (and North African) youths are attracted by the Salafists.
How else do you explain the existence of the more offensive types of heavy metal? Or of other similarly odious forms of juvenile male behavior?
Throw in very high unemployment and general societal disillusionment - voila!
The formula isn't so different than in the ME itself - where the poor and young are not only marginalized economically but socially as well: no sex, drugs, or alcohol even as an outlet.
Posted by: c1ue | Nov 22, 2014 10:28:21 AM | 20
There is no need to "fight" but statements of fact must be proven and your opinions are not proof and neither are these links.
Israel is certainly not pure and they play realpolitik as well as any other country. As I wrote before Israel may welcome al-Nusra's displacement of Hezbollah but they will never be allies in any real sense of the word.
Shooting down one Syrian aircraft over Israeli territory does not make a No Fly Zone in Syria and I will bet that Syrian aircraft continue to fly over Syrian territory, unmolested by the IDF.
The propaganda trying to conflate the Islamic State and now al-Nusra with Israel is coming from Iran who are trying desperately to deflect attention away from their share of the responsibility for these conflicts.
Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 22, 2014 10:42:58 AM | 21
"The propaganda trying to conflate the Islamic State and now al-Nusra with Israel is coming from Iran who are trying desperately to deflect attention away from their share of the responsibility for these conflicts."
Ooooh. So the war in Syria is Iran's fault? Do tell...
The mind of the imperialist bootlicker is one dark place. Those fighting ISIS are responsible for it. Those supporting ISIS simply "welcome outcomes". Those losing wives, mothers, husbands and brothers to ISIS are "desperate propagandists", those sitting back in Washington and Tel Aviv - watching events in Syria like the producer of a snuff film might sit back to glory in their artistry - are simply "engaging in realpolitik".
Do tell... r
Posted by: guest77 | Nov 22, 2014 11:27:50 AM | 22
Really, I don't see it as so surprising that some Western (and North African) youths are attracted by the Salafists.
I don't see any difference here between these scumbag 'foreign fighters' and those who joined the SA in 1930s Germany. It seems to me that the United States has been using the enormous social energy of disaffected youth to push their agenda across the globe since the end of the Second World War.
Posted by: guest77 | Nov 22, 2014 11:32:38 AM | 23
I think it should be made clear that there is no "Free Syrian Army". And continuing to allude to such an entity is a propaganda win for the west.
The fact is that any sort of "democracy-minded", "secular", or even simply "anti-Assad" (but free of any darker agenda) force, made up of regime defectors or honest Syrians - which is what, to most people, the moniker "Free Syrian Army" conjures up - has long ago been wiped out or returned to the fold out of shame of what the war in Syria has become.
There is no such force as the "Free Syrian Army" except in A) The paperwork and plans of the Pentagon and the CIA B) the five-star hotels of Istanbul C) a certain clotheirs shop in Brighton.
Every rebel group in Syria is of the fanatic, Islamist type and composed largely of foreigners, certain unworthy of the name "Free" or "Syrian".
All allusions to it should cease, IMHO.
Posted by: guest77 | Nov 22, 2014 11:40:39 AM | 24
"... There is no such force as the "Free Syrian Army" except in A) The paperwork and plans of the Pentagon and the CIA B) the five-star hotels of Istanbul C) a certain clotheirs shop in Brighton.
Every rebel group in Syria is of the fanatic, Islamist type and composed largely of foreigners, certain unworthy of the name"Free" or "Syrian" All allusions to it should cease, IMHO."
Posted by: guest77 | Nov 22, 2014 11:40:39 AM | 24
I could not agree more with your assessment of the so dubbed FSA. The FSA is notging but a cabal of mecenary thugs and hooligans primarily from lands outside Syria.
Posted by: really | Nov 22, 2014 11:54:21 AM | 25
Israel is not on their target list. - Toivos @ 11.
Anyone who has a role and is figure with power in IS, ISIS, ISIL, Da’ech or whatever the brand name is, would leave Isr. strictly alone, that would be crossing a line and provoke VERY unwelcome ripostes, Common sense.
Of course underground deals, etc., instrumentalization, play a role, another story.
IS is not in tears about their Palestinian brothers, a Novo Caliphate (no matter how illusory) has territories to conquer, ppl to convince, by killing, arms and resources to grab...
What I have trouble understanding is why these movements attract so many Sunni Muslim youth in the west who have, at least in part, been radicalized by their hatred of Israel ..
First, the numbers are not large, as compared to population or previous .. etc.
Radical extremism of any kind attracts the dedicated, determined, and hopeless, c’est selon, young ppl, of the at-the-time ‘no future’ crowd.
Previously, seen from Europe, (1970 - 2000, a rough timeline) some young ppl became anarchists, bank robbers, they were adulated as anti-capitalists, freedom fighters for regionalism / independence (IRA, Basques, etc.), now tranformed and recuperated. Plus communists and neo-nazis. In short, a plurality of outlets.
All these ‘extremist’ movements have been scotched at home. So away one must go.
To fight what fight one does not exactly understand.
Switz. saw this with nightmare of Yugoslavia.. The authorities tried to arrest and catch, return home, what they could, without much success. Many young ppl, aged 13-19, never came back and have not been accounted for.
They went to Yu. on the same charter buses, having oppositional fun. Sharing food, mild high-school insults. None could wear uniforms, by law, or bear arms in Switz. or Italy (that was one criteria to pull them and arrest them) until they hit Yu., arriving by boat.
Then they landed, and split into 2 groups, and were provided with uniforms and arms. And butchered each other. I weep. Very tough topic for me.
Sasha, Bogdan, Francois, Amandine, RIP.
Merry Holidays to all.
Posted by: Noirette | Nov 22, 2014 12:16:40 PM | 26
@9 Laguerre.. thanks. i have checked out the angry arab site before, but didn't know that.
@11 ToivoS.. good observations. last sentence - it would be nice - yes. and i see noirette @26 has answered some of your questions too.
@26 noirette. thanks.. that is sad stuff..
Posted by: james | Nov 22, 2014 12:43:47 PM | 27
Most armies are bought. They have to eat, for one thing.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 22, 2014 2:19:47 PM | 28
re 28. They have to eat, for one thing.
I would have thought the issue is whether they have an ideology in addition to the need to eat. The AA's point was that there wasn't any.
Anyway today the British media are reporting that mercenaries are going out to fight for the Kurds in Kobani. They won't be arrested on their return, unlike the idealist jihadis who go out to fight for ISIS. Apparently British law is flexible on this. The government can approve of fighting for a foreign cause, or declare it illegal, as it wishes. The law isn't applied to everybody. Evidently, we already knew that going to fight for Israel is OK, but going to fight for Israel's enemies will get you slung in prison, or even deprived of your citizenship.
I don't know what the law is elsewhere, even though the effect may well be the same.
Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 23, 2014 6:39:54 AM | 30
From Joshua Landis (after sorting out and identifying the major groups)
All this said, I wish that the FSA did exist.
A unified rebel leadership would spare Syria much of the bloodshed that lies ahead. Not just because an organized rebel army would pack more of a punch in the struggle against Bashar el-Assad’s fascist dictatorship, and could put a leash on the most unpleasant salafi extremist factions. But also – and this matters a lot more than the fate of either Assad or al-Qaida – because only a functioning opposition leadership will be able to minimize the period of Lebanon-style armed anarchy and sectarian bloodshed that lies ahead for Syria, and help reestablish a central government when Assad’s is gone for good.
Posted by: fast freddy | Nov 23, 2014 10:30:03 AM | 31
I didn't say that israel created nusra and daaesh. Simply that they are supporting the current southern front offensive, spearheaded by nusra, with all measures that I wrote.
The creation of those groups is relatively straightforward, Qatar for al nusra, then taken over by Saudi, and Saudi intelligence for daaesh.
Posted by: Crest | Nov 23, 2014 10:30:53 AM | 32
The WOW person never seems to get tired of explaining Israel's position, or apologizing for them in some way or another, or sticking up for them, or telling us how what we perceive is just not correct when blame ultimately falls to Jstate. Because after all, they are not more than innocent bystanders with nothing to gain as one implacable foe after another magically falls around them, as per Oded Yinon. Whether by AmeriKan Army Zombie Golem or proxy terrorist/mercenaries, the end results are the same. But Wow wants us to not believe our eyes or ears, or read between the lines, or connect the dots that free press used to do before arriving at a truthful conclusion.
Meanwhile other Muslims - Shia, Alawites, even Sunnis who do not want to submit and pretend it is 1390 for ISIL, become refugees or dead.
Good job, we're all glad you are here to do this. Every site needs the person who defends the skumbag pulling strings behind the curtain normal people are disgusted with.
When ISIS starts killing Israelis from their perch on the Golan, or when they travel through the Arabian desert and attack small towns therein, then I might believe that, yes, they really do hate non-Muslim infidels like jState and the fake apostates in KSA.
Until then, analysis that points out what jState does, how it benefits and why, will be more acceptable than any of the nonsense and misdirection that you put out there.
Posted by: farflungstar | Nov 23, 2014 1:41:06 PM | 33