Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 15, 2013

Syrian Government Air-Support For The Syrian Insurgents?

From yesterday's Short History Of The War On Syria - 2006-2014:
The Syrian Military Council will do its best to derail [the chemical weapons deal]. But it will soon be out of political support and out of money. Meanwhile the local SMC forces are fighting al-Qaeda aligned groups. It could well be that some of the local Syrian insurgency groups will soon join government forces in attacking the Jihadis.
That was, may be, a bit wrong. It seems like its not the local Syrian insurgency groups joining government forces in fighting the Jihadis but just the other way around.


On September 12 al-Qaeda leader Zwahir called for the al-Qaeda elements in Syria to stop cooperating with the "moderate" local insurgents working with the SMC.

On September 13 the al-Qaeda elements in Syria declared war against at least two SMC associated groups:

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) accused the two other groups of attacking its forces and suggested they may have even collaborated with the government.
Sources said most of the Islamist clashes were down to localised power disputes, but some added there was also a larger conflict over how to impose Islamist rule.
Yesterday, September 14, fighting between SMC associated forces and al-Qaeda groups was reported to take place in several places including one logistically important town on the border to Iraq:
On Saturday night, deadly clashes in al-Bu Kamal erupted between ISIL and the Allahu Akbar Brigade, an opposition group credited with the capture of the city from Assad forces in November 2012 and which also operates under the Supreme Military Council.
Today Hassan Hassan, the deputy opinion editor of The National newspaper from the United Arab Emirates and a promoter of the insurgents tweeted this:
Video of the regime's bombing of Abu Kamal - why is the regime back to Abu Kamal after it left in November last year?
Hassan Hassan حسن ‏@hhassan140

Smoke after the regime attacks the city of Abu Kamal

My interpretation based solely on the above is that the Syrian government, "the regime", has joined the local insurgents in their fight against al-Qaeda elements. After al-Qaeda declared war against the local SMC supported insurgents fighting started in Abu Kamal and elsewhere. The government currently has no troops in or approaching Abu Kamal but is bombing there today. The only plausible explanation seems to be that the Syrian government gives air-support to some local insurgents.

Giving air-support to those local insurgents who fight al-Qaeda groups would be a very smart way to decrease the number of the Syrian governments enemies without risking the life of its soldiers.

Posted by b on September 15, 2013 at 17:18 UTC | Permalink


indeed! thanks for the update.

Posted by: james | Sep 15 2013 18:29 utc | 1

"My interpretation based solely on the above is that the Syrian government, "the regime", has joined the local insurgents in their fight against al-Qaeda elements"

This is rapidly moving into "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" territory. If it gets there, Cheney and Co. will be ecstatic. Honestly, I believe the wingnut dirtbags in DC will stop at nothing to make this into an Obama clusterfuck, (as if he needs help), even if it means turning policy against our best interests. (Nothing new there, eh?)

These pieces of shit keep nattering on about credibility, and "weakness". Don't they realize that the divisive partisan horseshit that is S.O.P. in Washington DC is what weakens us, and is in a large part responsible for our loss of credibility within the global community? We have a purposely nurtured division that is every bit as self-defeating as the alliances and divisions of the various factions currently roiling the situation in Syria. Can any good come of a fucked up and divided foreign nation, (us), leaping into a fucked up and divided country torn by civil duress?? We can only make it worse. Worse for them, worse for us. And, uh, we excel at it. Really, its the only thing we seem to be able to consistently get right.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 15 2013 18:34 utc | 2

I guess, just fighting Al Qaida. That would be part of the deal.

Because of concern about the potential for the area to become a hotbed of radical Islam, Morell said the best resolution would be a negotiated settlement to the civil war raging there.

It’s gonna take the institution of the Syrian military and the institutions of the Syrian security services to defeat Al Qaeda when this is done. And every day that goes by, every day that goes by, those institutions are eroded,” he told Miller.

The regime has won.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 18:45 utc | 3

Well,not so long ago,a syrian official,on AlManar I think,said "you'd be surprise to know that SFa members have contacted us and said they were prepare to join us to fight against AlQaeda and affiliates".I think that even the bandits of SFA ,not the heart-liver eaters among them,have had enough of the rules of the islamic apostates.Then if you follow the news of the kurd zones you will see that the SAA is bombing the Nusra and ISIL who are fighting the PYD who is nominally against the syrian government as declared by their leader Mr.Muslem who's party is the bigger element of the opposition group-umbrella "Hai'at attansiq"(can't remember the english translation)of Hassan abdel Azim.In sum All of this pseudo opposition is a/extremely confused b/sick and tired of ISIL and Nusra c/pissed to death to see the others gaining an upper hand,thus the smarter of them are crying help mama SAA after having done all what they could to destroy it.

Posted by: Nobody | Sep 15 2013 20:07 utc | 4

POA @ 2.
Yes!! "Oh what a tangled web we weave..."
...heads for a painful crash-landing.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 15 2013 20:33 utc | 5

Well suddenly the usual warmongering suspects report different facts

ISIS has also begun a programme of "indoctrination" of civilians in rebel-held areas, trying to educate Syria's traditionally moderate Sunni Muslims into a more hard-line interpretation of Islam.

In early September, the group distributed black backpacks with the words "Islamic State of Iraq" stamped on them. They also now control schools in Aleppo where young boys are reportedly taught to sing jihadist anthems.

"It seems it is some sort of a long-term plan to brainwash the children and recruit potential fighters," said Elie Wehbe, a Lebanese journalists who is conducting research into these activities.

Now I do wonder about this refrain of "extremists have the better weapons" - how come when weapons deliveries were carefully vetted by the CIA, as we are told?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2013 1:42 utc | 6

I for one, would sure like to know how these "fighters" recognize their "enemies". Apart from the uniforms gov. troops wear, how about everyone else? Different sects wear different costumes? Headbands? What a clusterf**k!

Posted by: ben | Sep 16 2013 2:36 utc | 7

7) :-)) I guess that is why the groups are so small. What they are doing is turf war.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2013 2:39 utc | 8

I don't think you're analysing this right, b. I start from the assumption that AQ (certainly AQ central, ie Zawahiri) are phony. This follows directly from the assumption that 9/11 was phony, and the fact that Zawahiri still pretends otherwise, therefore he is part of the deception. Now, if we follow the simplifying assumption that CIA runs AQ directly, which is not the case but is convenient for strategic inference, then we must conclude that either (1) CIA is out to wreck the Kerry-Lavrov agreement, or (b) CIA is setting the Jihadis up to be liquidated by the superior firepower of the Syrian state and FSA combined. In the latter case, one would have to say that CIA was wildly over-optimistic concerning FSA loyalty, and the more probable outcome of such a strategy would be that FSA personnel would refuse to be used in this way and would ally with the Jihadis again:

AQ tells Syria fighters to shun secularists in sign of deeper rebel rift
Reuters, Sep 15 2013
DUBAI – AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has told the Islamist militants who are some of Syria’s toughest opposition forces to avoid alliances with other rebel fighters backed by Gulf Arab states and the West. His comment reflects a deepening rift between groups of the Western- and Arab-backed FSA and guerrillas (first time this word ever used in Syrian context AFAIK – RB) sympathetic to Zawahiri’s ultra hardline network, which seeks to wage a transnational armed campaign against the West. In an audio speech released a day after the 12th anniversary of 9/11, Zawahiri said the US would try to push opposition fighters to link up with “secular parties that are allied to the West.” Zawahiri’s language makes clear he is referring to the FSA.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 16 2013 4:56 utc | 10

ISTEAMS Report on the Chemical Attacks in East Ghouta 1/2
Nun exposes fabricated evidence in East Ghouta killings

Posted by: brian | Sep 16 2013 7:29 utc | 11

Rowan Berkeley

You should consider that cia continuing is by no means going against kohns agreement, which deals only with CW.
The reason that made zusa choose that dirty strategy in the first place is still valid: It's way cheaper than an official war, it can do what zusa wants but couldn't dare to officially do that is, to go against Assads base, in other words the people (which in a normal war would be considered "collateral damage". With the terrorist solution, they can be a prime target) and, possibly most important, (almost) no coffins with kia zamericans returning to zusa.

At the same time Syrias highest priority, of course, must be to get rid of the terrorists which was strongly hampered by zusas war threatening.
Thanks to Russias support Assad can now again and even more swiftly go against the rats. At the same time, I'm quite certain, some Syrian special commandoes are out to hunt down zamerican, fuk and zaudi/qatar vermin to make sure that a) lots of confessions and b) lots of filled coffins for export are available.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 16 2013 8:02 utc | 12

'When you combine their own analysis in this article along with who is paying for their foreign policy advocacy careers, it’s fairly easy to see what Israel’s motivation is in Syria: using the US to destroy Syria’s airforce and air defenses, leaving Israel as the sole military power in the region. Together, O’Bagy and Weis reveal the agenda here:'

Posted by: brian | Sep 16 2013 10:51 utc | 13

"O’Bagy "

what sorta name is that? O'Bagel more like

Posted by: hmm | Sep 16 2013 11:31 utc | 14


That "21st century wire" link you gave is actually itself engaged in a small act of deception.

7th Paragraph down it states

Even more interesting is who O’Bagy has been working for. The ISW think tank was founded by Kimberly Kagan, a devout neocon, whose fellow experts elevate U.S. military intervention, and provide policy research back-up for U.S. State Department, CIA, AIPAC and large national security defense contractors. The ISW’s board of directors is led by William Kristol. This type of organisation is a nexus which brings together, among other things, support for the Syrian opposition, anti-Castro in Cuba, and pro-Israeli activities.

I thought that last sentence a curiously phrased one. The separation of "support for Syrian oppossition, from "pro-Israel Activities" - as if the two are by definition separate, and in no way connected.

When one checks that link it brings you to a report at Firedoglake, I checked that report for any mention of the word "Israel", but I fond none.

But then I got to comment #39 in the comments below the Firedoglake report. It stated:

Founded by Kimberly Kagan, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a neocon and ziocon infested think tank in Washington, D.C., whose fellows and experts propagate U.S. militarism, intervention, and advocacy on behalf of the State Department, C.I.A., AIPAC, and the huge military, intelligence, and national security defense contractors. The ISW’s board of directors is led by William Kristol.

Which as anyone can see, with one or two obvious exceptions, is almost word for word how "21st Century Wire" chose to describe Ms Kagan and the ISW.

Clearly "21st Century Wire" simply lifted and rearranged their description of Ms Kagan and ISW from that comment quoted above.

But most noteworthy is that they only chose to use one of the two words I bolded above

Posted by: hmm | Sep 16 2013 11:52 utc | 15

Is napalm considered a chemical weapon?

Posted by: Andoheb | Sep 16 2013 12:54 utc | 16


The use of napalm is strictly forbidden (and, of course, israel as usual doesn't care about international law and happily uses napalm)

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 16 2013 13:17 utc | 17

Nearly half the rebel fighters in Syria are now aligned to jihadist or hardline Islamist groups according to a new analysis of factions in the country's civil war.

From the Telegraph, 15 sept. I can’t judge, what about it?

Imho, many of the Islamist and ‘rebel’ groups are composed of gangster and predators who care not about Islam, it is just a gloss for rapine, violence, domination. Young men become dominated by some ‘leader’ who offers a ‘new life’ which rests on a combination of self-fulfillment through aggression, justified by ideological purity and allegiance, the combat that follows, possibly self-annihilation as an accepted, noble outcome. Going for the mirage of a better world, where everything is ‘right’ and ‘settled’ and the young men have some power, a place in society, a role that speaks, is respected. Say. Exploited, of course. Cannon fodder of a kind.

Of course many are not caught in this trap at all - what I wrote is dodgy W sociological guff - and are simply on the take for now and will disappear or change sides on the turn of a dime.

This is what happens when GDP per capita sinks to hellish pits, some parts of society are not supported, the elites go for neo-liberalism, ignore the countryside, and the State looses credibility and control. The US, in different conditions, might have a bad problem with Christian warriors.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 16 2013 14:15 utc | 18

Yes, that report comes from IHS Jane's. I went looking for it on their site, but it's all subscription only, except for a new one on Syria's CW which is a free download if you fill in all their questionaire about who you are.

I remember reading somewhere that some of these Jihadi footsoldiers don't even know which country they're in. They'd been told they were in 'Palestine', Whereas in fact they were either in Syria or in Iraq. I know that sounds far-fetched, but it illustrates the idea that they just don't listen to anybody except their 'Sheikhs'. It takes the idea of 'useful idiots' to a whole new level.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 16 2013 14:47 utc | 19

A good discussion on the implications of the current situation in Syrian for the US Iranian conflict:

Posted by: Amar | Sep 16 2013 15:07 utc | 20

Soon the report is out..

Assad will be blamed.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 16 2013 15:23 utc | 21

Is napalm considered a chemical weapon?

Posted by: Andoheb | Sep 16, 2013 8:54:18 AM | 16


But you might find some further detail helpful. Napalm (and other incendiary weapons such as White Phosphorus) are classed as Incendiary weapons rather than Chemical ones. They're banned under the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons (Protocol III).

They're covered under this treaty because incendiary weapons as you might guess from the name aren't chemical weapons as defined by the Chemical Weapons Convention because they injure or kill people using heat rather than poisoning.

If you check out the protocol I linked to above you'll see that incendiary weapons (napalm, flamethrowers, thermite, white phosphorous, etc.) are not banned per se, what is banned is their use on or near civilians.

Hope this helps


Posted by: Dubhaltach | Sep 16 2013 16:19 utc | 22

The report (pdf) can be downloaded from here:

It confirms Sarin was used and claims that the Sarin was delivered by a number of rockets.

Posted by: blowback | Sep 16 2013 16:20 utc | 23

So far no report - just reports about the report

So far all we got is Mr BanKi waxing lyrical

In that regard, I draw your attention to a significant element in the agreement reached in Geneva, and I quote:

"The United States and the Russian Federation concur that this UN Security Council resolution should provide for review on a regular basis the implementation in Syria of the decision of the Executive Council of the OPCW, and in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter."

End quote. I agree there should be consequences for non-compliance. Any use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, is a crime.

Note what Mr BanKi thinks is most important about that "agreement" (proposal)

Posted by: hmm | Sep 16 2013 16:22 utc | 24

re: #23

yikes! too late

Posted by: hmm | Sep 16 2013 16:22 utc | 25

"connection reset" at the UN link @23

"" re-directing to ""

Posted by: hmm | Sep 16 2013 16:25 utc | 26

@ Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 16, 2013 9:17:47 AM | 17

Not quite correct using them on civilians is what's banned. Israel gets round this in the same way the USA does by claiming that what they use is not in fact napalm. And they're right it isn't napalm just as the stuff the USA uses is not napalm. It's not Napalm because they altered its chemical composition, or more accurately the composition of the gelling agent just enough for it be chemically distinguishable from Napalm while being even stickier and therefore more lethal than the original.

I find that when explaining this to people without military experience that using the analogy of a patent helps. Pharmaceutical companies can and do prolong the period of profitability for their drugs by altering their chemical composition just enough to claim that its 'novel' and therefore patentable. In effect is identical but because the molecule(s) is just different enough to be 'novel' they're granted a new patent for it. Which they then market to doctors as new and improved 'wonder drug X'.


Posted by: Dubhaltach | Sep 16 2013 16:30 utc | 28

Posted by: hmm | Sep 16, 2013 12:29:59 PM | 27

Yes but unfortunately when you open or download the file Adobe Acrobat reader reports it as damaged and refuses to open it. Not surprising the - U.N. I.T. department is in my experience direly incompetent. I'm going to try other PDF readers but am not optimistic.


Posted by: Dubhaltach | Sep 16 2013 16:42 utc | 29

Scribd have a copy of it:

Posted by: Dubhaltach | Sep 16 2013 16:45 utc | 30

Weird rapport, it says basically nothing and the samples indicating "sarin" arent even from humans?!
It seems that the rocket was unguided and not improvised.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 16 2013 16:46 utc | 31

uh should be: rockets seems to be improvised.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 16 2013 16:47 utc | 32

Turkey shot down syrian helicopter. Turkey try to provoke war?

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 16 2013 16:58 utc | 33

Reuters - Turkish warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter on Monday after it violated Turkish airspace, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said.

AP - Turkish official says Turkish jet shot down Syrian helicopter that entered Turkey's airspace.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 16 2013 17:10 utc | 34

A BBC report states that the chemical used in the Ghouta incident was sarin, was it the kitchen variety type which the jihadis in Syria are known to have or the military type and also delivered by the appropriate munition possessed by the Government? Dr Yossef Bodansky former director of the Congressional task force on terrorism and unconventional weapons states that first responders moving corpses and caring for victims without showing ill effects strongly indicates that the agent in question was the slow acting kitchen sarin.

Posted by: harrylaw | Sep 16 2013 17:57 utc | 35


"Yes but unfortunately when you open or download the file Adobe Acrobat reader reports it as damaged and refuses to open it."

Mine worked fine - have a saved coy on HD- but I don't use acrobat reader (not that that should make any difference) or xp/Win etc, so . . .

Posted by: hmm | Sep 16 2013 18:34 utc | 36

was it the kitchen variety type which the jihadis in Syria are known to have or the military type?
I've read the report right through, and there are no statements about the type of sarin. In the tables it's just referred to as "GB". But the question is probably one that could be answered given the volume of the stuff they have.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 16 2013 19:21 utc | 37


That the UN doesn't seem too pushed to determine mil-grade or kitchen-grade does seem odd

Posted by: hmm | Sep 16 2013 20:14 utc | 38

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