Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 11, 2015

Another "Let's Ally With Nusra" Campaign

In October 2013 a media campaign tried to sell Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda's arm in Syria, as the "good terrorist" worthy of "western" support against the "bad terrorists" of the Islamic State. Other jihadist groups like Ahrar al-Shams were also seen by some as favorable allies.

Qatar, the main sponsor of Jabhat al-Nusra, is now again trying to sell the al-Qaeda terrorists as the solution against the Islamic State everyone has been waiting for. This as more and more U.S. sponsored "moderate rebels" defect towards al-Nusra.

The new campaign started with a claim in a Reuters piece, based solely on a the words of one unreliable Syrian "rebel" and anonymous Qatari sources, that Jabhat might loosen ties with al-Qaeda central in exchange for Qatari money and "western" help. Latter an official Jabhat al-Nusra paper only somewhat denied that. Then two pieces by "western" experts were launched which both try to sell al-Qaeda in Syria as the "good" side that deserves "our" support. These are not, like earlier, slightly hidden propaganda suggestions but straight out arguments to ally with al-Qaeda.

At the BBC site one Dr. Roberts is arguing for better relations with Jabhat al Nusra. In reference to the Reuters report of intensive Qatari contacts with Nusra (which Nusra somewhat denied) he writes:

Indeed, there is no chance that Qatar is doing this alone: the US and UK governments will certainly be involved in or at least apprised of Qatar's plans.

And, with increasing desperation in the face of IS and Bashar al-Assad's resilience, a reformed, effective fighting force would be welcomed by the West.
In such a changeable, fractured operating environment, Qatar will not be able to engineer a clean break of the Nusra Front from al-Qaeda.

But, in a context where the best that can be hoped for is the "least worst" solution, Qatar's plan is as viable as any other.

So working with al-Qaeda in Syria, which Dr. Roberts himself says can not really reform, is "as viable" as, for example, making peace with the Syrian government?

Dr Roberts "was the Director of the Qatar office of the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi). His book Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City State will be published in 2015." He is clearly a lobbyist for Qatar paid, in whatever way, to promote the policies of that Wahhabi dictatorship.

The piece by one Barak Mendlesohn in Foreign Affairs is worse and even headlined Accepting Al Qaeda - The Enemy of the United States' Enemy":

Since 9/11, Washington has considered al Qaeda the greatest threat to the United States, one that must be eliminated regardless of cost or time. After Washington killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, it made Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s new leader, its next number one target. But the instability in the Middle East following the Arab revolutions and the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) require that Washington rethink its policy toward al Qaeda, particularly its targeting of Zawahiri. Destabilizing al Qaeda at this time may in fact work against U.S. efforts to defeat ISIS.

So further attack against al-Qaeda should be avoided? What would the victims of 9/11 say about such a demand?

That lunatic call comes from a "former" officer in the Israeli army assigned as "analyst of international affairs and strategy". The Israeli army is directly supporting Jabhat al-Nusra in south Syria and especially along the Golan heights.

The U.S. helped to create al-Qaeda as well as the Islamic State. In the Middle East its NATO ally Turkey is the logistic backbone for both groups. U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf are financing these terrorists. Now there are calls to accept al-Nusra as official ally against the Syrian government.

The Iraqi and the Iranian government are quite right to not believe that the U.S. wants the jihadi forces destroyed or even defeated. Their current success against the Islamic State around Tikrit demonstrates that IS and al-Nusra can be beaten with the forces they have on the ground and notably without any U.S. support. They have the reasonable suspicion that the U.S. would be happy to keep Nusra as well as IS alive if only to have reason to "stay involved" in the affairs of their nations. They therefore decided to keep the U.S. out of their fight against the Islamic State, to disregard its advice and to not inform it of their plans.

In light of the "let's ally with Nusra" campaign this looks like a sound decision.

Posted by b on March 11, 2015 at 18:20 UTC | Permalink


Or another "let's prolong our bullshit for as long as anyone can stand it" campaign.

And this part: "That lunatic call comes from a "former" officer in the Israeli army assigned as "analyst of international affairs and strategy"

Thought America would have stopped listening to these clowns by now.

Posted by: farflungstar | Mar 11 2015 18:47 utc | 1

The US playing footsie with radical Islamists reminds me of "Groundhog Day," where a weatherman "reporting" on Punxatawny Phil, the local groundhog who by seeing or not seeing his shadow predicts the weeks until real spring, has Groundhog Day repeat over and over and over. A somewhat charming film, but nothing great.

Of course, there was a happy ending to the film and there will be no happy ending the the US supporting Al Qaeda types.

But there is some of the same magical thinking affecting US and its allies' thinking.

What a mess.

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 11 2015 19:11 utc | 2

thanks b. i think the point about usa support for terrorist groups needs to be constantly drilled home to folks.. the usa says the opposite of what it does.. same deal the regime change in syria.. they say one thing, but do another.. it is about regime change, and the usa and their ''allies'' will use terrorists to make it happen.. anyone who thinks differently is naive..

so, how much of the push from qatar/usa is based on running a pipeline thru syria? it seems war is always about resources, who controls it, and who gets to do what with it..

Posted by: james | Mar 11 2015 19:46 utc | 3

Groundhog Day repeat over and over and over. A somewhat charming film, but nothing great.

Groundhog Day is one of THE cult comedies.

On topic, this campaign to align with Al-Nusra is just a PR, trying to make it more official, in reality both Al Nusra and ISIS were created by the West (and puppet monarchies) and their support never stopped. Hence "aligning" is an oxymoron, they were always in the same bed.

I'm happy about successful Iran/Iraq offensive against ISIS, its even better that they were smart enough to send US where sun doesnt shine. No wonder US even pleaded to open passage for ISIS to leave from Tikrit to save their lifes, but were rebuffed.

Posted by: Harry | Mar 11 2015 20:08 utc | 4

say wha' to da 9/11 victim famleez?!? al-CIA-duh did'nt attack USA'ia
WEE did it ourselves...duhh.

Posted by: bfrakes | Mar 11 2015 20:25 utc | 5

This ought to prove that Vlad Putin is just another bad crises actor ala President Barry.

Veterans Today piece requests information and documentation from Putin of 9/11, McCain in Nam, Romney in Cuba, etc. Written by Gordon Duff who is most likely also an actor ...

Posted by: Alberto | Mar 11 2015 21:13 utc | 6


ISIS terrorists are stealing civilians’ cars in an attempt to flee as Iraqi soldiers fight their way into the strategically important city of Tikrit. The massive operation involving more than 30,000 Iraqi Army soldiers is succeeding in forcing ISIS militants from the city, which is the birthplace of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Local officials confirmed that Iraqi troops entered Qadisiyya, and penetrated the northern suburbs, raising the Iraqi flag over Tikrit’s general hospital. Later today, Iraqi forces (including the military, militias, Sunni tribes and police) also entered Tikrit from the south in a pincer movement to try and drive out the terrorists, although many fled in the face of the advance.

Read more at:

Posted by: Alberto | Mar 11 2015 21:29 utc | 7

The Iranians and Iraqis have good reason not to trust the US, the US did not want the alliance to attack Tikrit, first of all by informing the enemy the date when they were going to be attacked, then trying to delay an attack by saying it would alienate too many moderate Sunni. When you consider the balance of forces, and the numbers the two sides can muster, there is no competition. Iran alone with an 80 million population has a professional army of 550,000 with an active reserve of nearly 2 million. They have one and a half million people reaching military age annually How many can IS field, some say their numbers are 20/30 thousand? Once Iran, Iraq and Syria pull together, it won't take long to eliminate the trash who are not loved by Sunni and Shia alike.

Posted by: harry law | Mar 11 2015 21:29 utc | 8

The only and biggest threat to the citizens of Amerika is it own so-called elected govt.

Posted by: jo6pac | Mar 11 2015 21:40 utc | 9


That's the point that needs to be constantly drilled home to folks.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 11 2015 21:51 utc | 10

What we are dealing with is psychopaths who inhabit several levels of power. Perhaps we should stop looking for logic. Psychopaths are not logical. I think the entire point and intent of what we are seeing is CHAOS. It causes insecurity, which creates a manufactured "demand" for "answers". Chaos is the objective. It insures profits...which is the whole point. Unless and until we as a collective accept our mutual enemy is a small group that creates money out of thin air and loan it at interest to the enslavement of us all...everything else is pointless. We can debate the motives and rationale of the puppets we observe. It's merely watching the puppets without paying attention to the puppet masters.

Posted by: Scott | Mar 12 2015 0:05 utc | 11

Posted by: Alberto | Mar 11, 2015 5:13:02 PM | 6

How does a letter written by Gordon Duff at Veterans Today make both he and Putin Crisis Actors?

I don't understand the point you are pressing.

I do believe that Putin, ie: Russian Gubmint, is probably sitting on some mind-blowing intel. Whether any of it will be revealed, is another matter.

If that's what you mean by Putin being an actor, I can, kind of see your point.

Now, Duff, in posing these questions, how does that make him an actor? Those seem like pretty good questions (requests for info, really) to me.

Posted by: fast freddy | Mar 12 2015 0:26 utc | 12

fast freddy @ 12

If these questions Duff is asking are answered then I'm wrong.

They will never be answered.

Posted by: Alberto | Mar 12 2015 1:00 utc | 13

We know from Dempsey's testimony today that this is just another attempt to justify US air strikes against Assad. It goes like this:

1) reclassify Alqaida as the good guys
2) Bomb the Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah, Iranian troops or anyone else fighting "the good guys."
3) Put a US and Israeli friendly puppet in power in Syrian

I don't see this latest attempt to resell a US war on Syrian's Gov as having much of a chance. Iran, Russia, and maybe even China will not allow it.

Posted by: alaric | Mar 12 2015 1:45 utc | 14

The US exposure of Iraqi war plans showed me the true depth of US duplicity.

The US is basically like one of those arsonists who works for the fire department, who also happens to be trying to cash in on the insurance claim.

I suggest that this is about the moral level of the United States in the Middle East today.

Posted by: guest77 | Mar 12 2015 1:49 utc | 15

Certainly none of this makes the slightest sense if you were accept the logic that is being espoused by the Obama Administration.

There are three actors in this drama:
a) The Assad government
c) Jabhat al-Nusra

Take it as given that all three are pretty dire, and accept that not one of them is a poster-child for "Western values".


But look at that list again and note that Assad has no regional aspirations i.e. no matter how despotic you consider him to be he has not the slightest desire to extend his "despotism" beyond the borders of Syria.

The same can not be said of the other two groups, both of whom aspire to have a global reach.

Not much of a choice if - and that's a big if - your aim is merely "self-defence".

Were that the case then you'd choose Assad every day of the week, even if you have to hold your nose while doing so.

But Obama very clearly puts Assad at the bottom of his totem pole of desirables - always has - and that tells you that the USA's interests are not those of "self-defence" but of "regime-change".

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 12 2015 2:07 utc | 16

There is already a major media operation to belittle the "liberation of Tikrit". I think that Baiji has to be the next destination, it has an intersection of pipelines, very important refinery, and the next stop on the way to Mosul from Baghdad. As most of taqfiris are reported to fled the town, the assembled force can continue with only minor reinforcements.

The idea of supporting al-Nusra comes from two sources. One is the Gulf, the sectarian project of removing Shia and Alawites from the positions of power, and from that point of view, even Islamic State was OK, but unfortunately, it got bad press. Al-Nusra is the only alternative means to achieve this goal. The West seemed to abandon the idea that supporting ANYONE against Assad is a good idea. However, as Assad government has a good chance to survive, supporting al-Nusra serves another objective: bleed Syria forever, and thus remove it from the list of capable and troublesome states. This is "neocon/Israeli" position. Neocons are usually supportive of Israel but this is not the same position, as neocons have wider horizons. To give one example, Israel could not care less who controls Crimea, but neocons do. Neocons also need a lot of donations for their think tanks so they partake Gulf money too.

But West Europe and saner part of American establishment apparently appreciates that al-Nusra is a lost cause at best, and additionally, very dangerous as a "pet cobra". It is true that Israel is not the sole cause for the radicalization of some segments of the Muslim, but that because the civil wars are another cause -- and quite related, as Israel is at the very least very comfortable watching how thee civil wars are fomented, and lends its hand when possible (offering hospitality is hospitals, and perhaps some ammo as farewell gifts to convalescents). I think that in less then a year, al-Nusra (like Islamic State) will be reduced to war stories on jihadi greatness.

But the latest-i

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 12 2015 2:17 utc | 17


After ISIS the next stop for Syria-Iraq-Iran ought to be the Gulf despots, starting with the liddle-biddy ones and running right on up through the KSA.

Turn Regime Change for the goose to Regime Change for the gander.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 12 2015 2:32 utc | 18

@ jfl | 18

Turn Regime Change for the goose to Regime Change for the gander.

As much as that would be nice (and rightful), they wont do that. Iran doesnt even help shias killed daily in Bahrain and KSA. Syria and Iraq are too weakened even if they wanted to, and Iran wants to avoid rocking the boat at any cost. Resistance axis probably is hoping to outlast crumbling hegemon (even if it takes decades). After brutal Gulf monarchies loses their master, Shias may push for soft-coup in these countries, I doubt they'll ever arm opposition for violent overthrow.

Posted by: Harry | Mar 12 2015 7:01 utc | 19

b says:

Their current success against the Islamic State around Tikrit demonstrates that IS and al-Nusra can be beaten with the forces they have on the ground and notably without any U.S. support.

yeah, only i'd say 'exclusively' without any U.S. support. the U.S. has been a false friend and devious ally from day one and, though we can only speculate about any behind-the-scenes deals with the Iranians, i'm glad to see that even the msm is on the case.

Posted by: john | Mar 12 2015 10:48 utc | 20

"So further attack against al-Qaeda should be avoided? What would the victims of 9/11 say about such a demand?"


b, do you really think al-Qaeda carried out 9/11? Or is it just too much trouble to hold to the truth as your presupposition? Sort of like the Holocaust?

In 2007 I put the same question to Tom Engelhardt, of TomDispatch. Here is what I said:

Dear Tom, I used to read your work once in a while, but not for some time now. Today someone sent me the Chalmers Johnson piece for which you have written a paragraph as introduction. It amazes me that you seem to believe that Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. You seem to take the warnings about Bin Laden at face value. You must have a reply to the work of Steven Jones and David Ray Griffin. It would be good if you could spell out why you don't agree with their conclusions.

And this was his reply:

It's a subject I prefer not to get into... Plenty's been written on all sides of this. It's just a debate I don't care to enter at the site. But many thanks for writing in.

b, you yourself in your SOME LINKS have consigned TomDispatch to the company of the Nation, the New York Review of Books and the New Yorker, all notable for telling lies when it really matters.

Please get your act together.

Posted by: sarz | Mar 12 2015 12:04 utc | 21

Is it me or is the msm suddenly gone silent on Iraqs army and volunteer forces winning the battle for Tikrit? I was expecting this to be front page news - you know the all invincible ISIL getting their arses kicked both to show the world They are defeatable and also to deter youngsters running off to joinISIL. But no, nothing but brief news in the Guardian, Independent etc. i guess they are waiting for alleged attrocities to take place so they can report it again within the Sunni-Shia sectarian meme framework!

Btw did you see Mr Davaoglu complaining on France24 that Iraqs offensive will exacerbate the sectarian situation in the country! The Chutzpah!!!!

Posted by: Irshad | Mar 12 2015 12:22 utc | 22

Another 'let's ally with Al Nusra campaign' is based on a the BIG LIE that the US and co are not already allied with al Nusra.

And also bolsters the other BIG LIE that the US and company aren't affiliated with AQ

So, it's a perception management operation from beginning to end

Brand names, don't make a different product- they just influence perception in order to deceive

And that's what this entire campaign is, yet, another attempt to deceive

Posted by: Penny | Mar 12 2015 13:59 utc | 23

17;The neolibcons do nothing that Israel would not approve of.Take it to the bank.Into the ether,I know,but it had to have a response.

Posted by: dahoit | Mar 12 2015 16:19 utc | 24

@Posted by: sarz | Mar 12, 2015 8:04:40 AM | 21

Even if 9/11 was really an inside job, in one way or another (as I personally believe), it remains entirely possible that Al Qaeda was involved, in one way or another, in carrying it out.

But, even if it was not, I imagine the families of most of the victims believe it was. So b's point remains valid.

Posted by: lysias | Mar 12 2015 16:59 utc | 25

So now US air-force (aka coalition air-force) is now bombing Iraqi troops in Anbar after ISIL was defeated in Tikrit.

I guess they simply can't stand the ONLY excuse they used to return to Iraq being destroyed... This latest bombing won't go unanswered!

Posted by: Zico | Mar 12 2015 17:11 utc | 26


The AP is reporting directly from the ongoing battle for Tikrit this morning. The Iraqi forces are now claiming five days will be necessary for victory not the one day from earlier reports. We shall see how they do, they do have an almost 30 to 1 numerical superiority over the IS fighters but the IS fighters are well dug in and supplied.

There was an unconfirmed report of Shia militias destroying some of the Sunni towns they captured earlier in this offensive.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 12 2015 17:18 utc | 27

Wayoutwest says:

There was an unconfirmed report of Shia militias destroying some of the Sunni towns they captured earlier in this offensive.

yeah, too bad you can't link us to your 'unconfirmed report.'

Posted by: john | Mar 12 2015 17:40 utc | 28

The ghost of Hitler is grinning from ear to fucking ear.

Posted by: Some Guy | Mar 12 2015 19:04 utc | 29

"The Iraqi forces are now claiming five days will be necessary for victory not the one day from earlier reports. "

Probably, it could be faster if Iraqi forces were destroying all buildings were resistance is present. Like in the Second Battle of Faluja (wikipedia):
"Fallujah suffered extensive damage to residences, mosques, city services, and businesses. The city, once referred to as the "City of Mosques", had over 200 pre-battle mosques of which 60 or so were destroyed in the fighting. Many of these mosques had been used as arms caches and weapon strongpoints by Islamist forces. Of the roughly 50,000 buildings in Fallujah, between 7,000 and 10,000 were estimated to have been destroyed in the offensive and from half to two-thirds of the remaining buildings had notable damage."

This means that for every resisting fighter, roughly 2-3 buildings were destroyed and several times more were damaged. Sadly, "umpteenth Battle of Fallujah" is looming.

Actually, after more reading, the second battle of Falujah took 9 days to reach the stage of "mopping up isolated pockets of resistance", and the last pockets were "neutralized" 37 days later. The reported ratio of forces was 3 to 1, but the advantage in firepower was probably larger for American lead coalition.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 12 2015 20:41 utc | 30


It's interesting that you bring Fallujah into the discussion but don't mention it is presently control by the Islamic State and its allies. It has been under near constant attack from the Iraqi forces and more recently from the Coalition for over a year.

Tikrit may appear to be a softer target for the Iraq/Iran forces but we will have to wait and see if that is actually the case.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Mar 12 2015 21:30 utc | 31

sarz #21 If you haven't noticed this is not the site for 911 truthers. Face it, the world trade centers collapsed as a result of the intense fires resulting from the air liner impacts. It was an operation carried out by Al qaida even if there were some Israeli and US intelligence agencies that saw it coming.

Posted by: ToivoS | Mar 13 2015 4:07 utc | 32

This note disappeared from CBS renonce à traiter du 11-Septembre

Bob Simon, one of the most famous journalists American officials, star presenter of the show reports "60 Minutes" on CBS, died in a car accident, February 12, 2015 in New York.

David Carr, media critic for the New York Times, died of a stroke in the newspaper office, 12 February 2015 at the age of 58 years. His former drug addiction explain the fragility of his health.

Ned Colt, a former reporter for NBC, employed since 2009 by humanitarian organizations, died of a heart attack, February 13, 2015 in Boston, at the age of 58 years.

The three men had formed with a fourth, the former host of "NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams, a report on September 11, 2001. They were in contact with the Kremlin had given free access to their archives this revealed El Patagónico (Chile).

On February 10, two days before the death of three journalists, Pravda (Russia) had assured that President Putin had hired a showdown with his counterpart unien-states and threatening to reveal his papers on September 11 if continued to intervene in Ukraine. However, our correspondents in Moscow failed to obtain confirmation of this.

In summer 2005, the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee had prepared the disclosure of secret information on September 11, but was canceled at the last moment.

After the accidental death of three of the four team members, CBS gave up the story.

Posted by: Prosperous Peace | Mar 13 2015 14:51 utc | 33

"... Face it, the world trade centers collapsed as a result of the intense fires resulting from the air liner impacts. It was an operation carried out by Al qaida even if there were some Israeli and US intelligence agencies that saw it coming." ~ ToivoS @ 32

Now that's a conspiracy theory if ever I've heard one!

Posted by: crone | Mar 13 2015 14:58 utc | 34

Did anyone understand exactly WHO passed the letter to the 3 missing girls? the police??
Angry Arab says the guy arrested by the Turks would be from Canada.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 13 2015 18:58 utc | 35

I'm puzzled by your view that Qatar are the main sponsors of Jabhat al-Nusra. When Syria blew up I assumed the main opposition - the 'moderate rebels' - were what they had always been in Syria, the Muslim Brothers, backed by Turkey and, I thought, Qatar. But not by the Saudis who, I thought, had unleashed Jabhat al-Nusra. So that what was happening in the rebel camp was a proxy civil war between the Saudis and Qatar. No problem for USUK because all they wanted was chaos. They didn't want a strong Sunni Muslim government in Syria any more than they wanted Assad. Was I completely wrong? Have the Brothers disappeared altogether from the scene? Has what is left of them been absorbed into Jabhat al-Nusra? Has Qatar switched sides?

Posted by: Peter Brooke | Mar 14 2015 8:02 utc | 36

Here are the brothers, many of the Iraqis related to Daesh are related to the Iraqi MB. They made an alliance with some remains of Saddam' army in order to fight, and after Fallujah, you can consider it as a fight for "revenge". As for the stupid brainless foreign Zombies they use they are a bunch of former drug addicts with prison records whom they can convince of almost anything.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 14 2015 8:49 utc | 37

Missing links for #35

Posted by: Mina | Mar 14 2015 8:51 utc | 38

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