FROM THE DIRECTOR'S DESK
What can be taken as the first part of this report was written a few weeks ago, in response to the release of classified documents by the United States. There has been a second, strong and largely ignored narrative of the close links between the western powers, their West Asian allies, and Daesh. The odd report in mainstream newspapers like even The Telegraph, Le Figaro, Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Jerusalem Post, along with more detailed information in intelligence company sites like Stratfor, in CounterPunch and of course the Arab media that has been more consistent in its reportage tells of linkages that are close, and very sinister. The Citizen in this second part puts together reports from the public domain as above, and builds the story of complicity that the media wedded to the governments on the issue of terrorism has decided to ignore even though it is the narrative that is now bursting through the seams.
The march of the Islamic State through the deserts of Syria and Iraq, after the first ‘shock and awe’ of brutal violence, is being regarded with deep suspicion and scepticism by the Arabs as indeed by questioning sections of peoples in the world. Questions as to whether it really exists in the propagated form, whether it is a creation by the US and its allies, whether it is really a means to a desired strategic end are being asked in both the verbal and written space.
Experts, including former US marines, intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, senior and respected Arab diplomats, and a host of journalists and commentators sprinkled in different parts of the world have been trying to look for answers to these questions for at least three years now. Their interviews, and articles are generally sandwiched into obscurity by the loud US led propaganda against the Islamic State but in recent months the odd reports are building a pattern. And after the ghastly Paris attacks the questions for the first time are becoming almost as loud as the official claims.
The second narrative begins with Afghanistan where there is sufficient information and evidence to prove the support extended by the US to al Qaeda and its affiliates for almost 50 years since the Soviet intervention in the country. CIA training camps, recognised by its own operatives later, had been set up in Pakistan and reports document that in just ten years 35000 persons from 43 Muslim countries were recruited by the American intelligence wing to fight in the Afghan jihad. The period mentioned for this mass recruitment is between 1982-1992 with the Canada based Centre for Research on Globalisation pointing out that “Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.”
At that time President Ronald Reagan described the ‘army’ as freedom fighters. And sufficient evidence has surfaced since about the recruitment of then 22 year old Osama bin Laden by the CIA that really ‘discovered’ him. Saudi Arabia was on board and a network for diverting finances to the operation was reportedly created according to research articles that share the details of this network.
The story of Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda under him is well known, and hence will not be repeated here for the purpose of this article.The al Qaeda outlived its utility, became too ugly a word in any parlance, and to cut the long story short, bin Laden was found and killed in a Pakistan compound in May 2011. On 4 October 2011 he was replaced by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Daesh, a lethal and violent man by all accounts. On this date the US State Department gave al-Baghdadi the official status of a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and announced a reward of up to US$10 million for information leading to his capture or death.
Little was known about Baghdadi before he was arrested and released from the US run Camp Bucca in southern Iraq. He was arrested in 2005, and interviews taken by journalists with fellow prisoners at the time label him as a fairly non-descript person, well behaved person at the time. His background remains shadowy with Gulf News carrying a report on July 16 last year that said, “the former employee at US National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that the British and American intelligence and the Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organisation that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest”.
NSA documents refer to recent implementation of the hornet’s nest to protect the Zionist entity by creating religious and Islamic slogans. According to documents released by Snowden, “The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state “is to create an enemy near its borders”. Leaks revealed that ISIS leader and cleric Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech.”
Interestingly several persons this writer has met in the course of travels to West Asia have spoken of the Mossad links, although this has neither been denied nor confirmed by the official stakeholders. Whispers about the ‘creation’ of Baghdadi filled the Arab streets leading to considerable speculation about Daesh and its origins.
Since then it has been four years of violence and destruction with the mighty armies of the US and its Nato allies unable to check Daesh, or the Islamic State, that has grown from strength to strength according to the media reports based on sources, largely western. With the Paris attacks, it has moved decisively out of its fiefdom that now consists of 50 per cent of Syria and at least one third of Iraq and demonstrated a global presence that has legitimised the western governments call to war. France responded by almost immediately bombing Raqqa, said to be a Daesh stronghold. While the French government claimed that it had hit Daesh targets, reports in the local media suggested that civilian targets had been hit. But this has been the story throughout the bombing on allegedly Daesh targets by the US and its allies as well, with the local listing the destruction of museums, houses, buildings even as the official versions from different western capitals insist that the strikes destroyed the Daesh strongholds.
Syria is under attack with US President Barack Obama, in the wake of the Paris attack, maintaining that he would fight Daesh but also ensure that the Syrian regime is changed. Washington’s preoccupation with removing Syrian president Bashar al Assad has thus been again underlined by the President himself. A series of reports and informed articles in the public domain, including a detailed analysis carried more recently by Counterpunch, make it clear that that the US with its allies was supporting an al Qaeda affiliate al Nusra, and Daesh in its nascent form, because of its one-goal mission to remove Assad. The rebels that first consisted of local drug mafia, and smugglers, were reinforced by the “Free Syrian Army’ that were then joined by the Salafists, al Nusra, that then converged into the Islamic State—to put it simplistically. The bombing by the western powers on Syrian targets first to remove Assad, and more recently to oust Daesh, analysts claim is intended to remove the current regime in Syria and ensure the continued and further fragmentation of Iraq. In the process the two countries, seen as resistance by Israel and oil rich by the others, are being destroyed with museums, bridges, roads all being targeted in the so called war against terror.
Syrians had told this writer that the reason they were supporting Assad was to prevent the country from “becoming another Libya” but despite the unity, the war has been long and taken a big toll now. President Obama has announced a ‘boots on the ground’ policy for Syria, as had Bush in Iraq, making it clear to the West Asian countries that the US is preparing for the last push to get rid of the Assad government and control the territory. As a cynical journalist covering the region said, “then we might find that Baghdadi is dead, and the Islamic State might just disappear to be replaced by something else.”
The Islamic State, according to accounts, was born in 2006 with the violence in Iraq as then a virtually independent offshoot of the al Qaeda in the besieged country. The Nusra Front came into existence in 2012 in the US led war against Assad in Syria that then became the present day Daesh. The US and Nato Allies brought in the Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates into the ‘war against terror’ that has been directed against Syria now for four plus years. Joining the conglomeration was Turkey and Jordan. And reports appearing even in the mainstream papers from time to time suggested a close relationship between these countries in the financing and army of the forces unleashed against Syria.
Syria followed the removal of President Muammar Gaddafi from Libya, in an operation that the second narrative through media reports from time to time suggests was achieved by the US and its allies with help from al Qaeda operatives. The new Libyan regime—the country is still in chaos—however, is reported to have helped the US and its allies in moving weapons for the Salafists and Daesh fighting the government of Syria. Informed reports feed into the second narrative suggesting large scale funding and arming of these groups by the US led alliance, with Turkey and Jordan providing training grounds for the Free Syrian Army, and all the other allies helping transfer the funds and the weapons to realise the US-Israel obsessive goal of removing President Assad from Syria.
France’s Le Figaro wrote in August 2013 of the first group of 300 “handpicked” Free Syrian Army personnel having been sent to Syria for the war against the regime. This coincided with a visit by UN inspectors to check for chemical weapons in Syria, in what was almost a repeat of UN inspectors visiting Iraq a decade earlier to check for weapons of mass destruction that never existed. The Guardian also reported that the French and British military was also training recruits for the war against Assad. Reports now suggest, with evidence, that the majority of these recruits, well trained and fully armed, joined Daesh. The Syrian government has been stating this from the very beginning, but despite the evidence offered by its officials this was not accepted by the world media until much later, as a fact.
In fact in an assessment over two years ago the New York Times reported that most of the arms being shipped to Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the Syrian groups fighting Assad “are going to hardline jihadists and not to the more secular groups that the US wants to bolster.” The paper quoted US officials and Middle Eastern diplomats for this.
Significantly DEBKAfile, a site that reports on current events in Israel, reported at the time “Turkey is giving Syrian rebel forces including al Qaeda Nusra front passage through its territory to attack the north western Syrian coastal area around Latakia.” This writer had visited Latakia during the period, a scenic, peaceful town resisting the attack that had begun, but was unable to sustain it for long. The site reported, “US, Jordan, Israel are backing quietly a mixed bag of 30 Syrian rebel groups, and the al Qaeda has permeated all these factions.”
As the first part of this report published by The Citizen shows, this was confirmed through classified US documents that were released earlier this year. The same western governments have rushed to bolster laws and justify military action, with the bombing having begun, before even the facts about the assailants involved in the operation that mowed down nearly 130 innocent civilians have come out. And before the question whether the perpetrators were acting as an independent offshoot, or working under instructions from the nebulous headquarters of Daesh has been answered to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
(Also see: http://www.thecitizen.in/NewsDetail.aspx?Id=4778)