Demolition Of CW Stockpiles Is Only Contributory Factor In The Syria War

September 27, 2013

Syrian graffiti against foreign intervention

As the thread of military intervention by US air-strike now is fading and US-Russian agreement (The Four-stage Plan For Syria ) is going to implementation stage the situation on the ground however has good possibility to escalate. Instead of air-strike US is now more openly supplying weapons to Syrian opposition hoping so to reach her foggy aims. Latest developments show failure also with this strategy.

Demolition of CW stockpiles of Al-Assad regime or even neutralization of CW in a rebel’s possessionis only contributory factor in the Syria war.

Syrian opposition groups

The Rebels

According to the British newspaper The Telegraph the study showed that the number of insurgents fighting against the Syrian army is estimated at about 100 thousand gunmen distributed to about a thousand armed band, who came from 83 countries, including all Arab countries except Djibouti. Estimates by IHP Jane’s’ experts revealed that ten thousand of these gunmen fight to the side of Al-Qaeda affiliated groups, and 30,000 to 35,000 other insurgents are fighting within other hard-line armed groups.


“There are also at least a further 30,000 moderates belonging to groups that have an Islamic character, meaning only a small minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups,” the daily noted. The stark assessment, accords with the view of Western diplomats estimate that less than one-third of the opposition forces are “palatable” to Britain, while American envoys put the figure even lower.
(Source: The Telegraph )

Foreign freedomfighters in Syria war

The roles of actors changing in operation theatre

Few days ago a statement was released in the name of a number of Syrian rebel factions announcing the severing of all ties with Brigadier General Salim Idris’s Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the Syrian National Council (SNC), and its parent organization, the Supreme National Coalition (the other SNC).

The document is entitled “On the Coalition and the Provisional Government” and lists out four major points.

  • The first point calls for all military and civilian forces to unite under an Islamic framework is based on the sharia (Islamic Law), making it the sole source of legislation.
  • The second point is that only those members of the Syrian opposition who have “lived their concerns and shared in their sacrifices” are entitled to represent the people of Syria.
  • Thirdly, the signatories consider all coalitions formed outside of Syria as illegitimate and refuse to recognize the provisional government led by Ahmad Tumeh.
  • The final point is a call on all military and civilian opposition factions to unite their ranks, set aside their differences and “put the interests of the nation ahead of those of the individual group.”

Included among the eleven groups that have signed on to this Islamic Alliance are those moderate Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood persuasion with the closest ties to the SNC, such as Liwa al-Tawhid or the Brigade of Unity, the Suqour al-Sham Brigades, and Liwa al-Islam; three groups that had formed a coalition back in September of last year called the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF). Also joining the alliance are such hardline Salafi Islamists  as Ahrar al-Sham and the Fajr Islamic Movement, who had formed a coalition of their own called the Syrian Islamic Front. The leading force in the alliance are the Salafi-Jihadist, Al-Qaeda branchAl-Nusra Frontwhich is considered the most extreme and the most militarily capable of opposition groups, comprised mainly of Syrians who fought in the Iraqi insurgency. (Source: SyriaReport) Conclusion: the Western-backed moderate/secular camp and the Islamist camp have now firmly ensconced themselves in the latter.

Fighters of Kurdish Popular Committees in Syria have killed at least 83 foreign terrorists affiliated to the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front in northern province of al-Raqqa. The clashes broke out in Tal Abyad village on Monday Sept. 23th 2013  when the al-Nusra terrorists were attempting to infiltrate into the area that is under control of the Kurdish fighters. Militants from Libya and Tunisia were among the dead, our correspondent says. (Source: Al-Alam )

The insignia of the Al-Nusra Front (whose full name is the Front for Assistance to the Residents of Greater Syria). It shows the map of Syria, the Islamic crescent and the silhouette of a jihad fighter

The insignia of the Al-Nusra Front shows the map of Syria, the Islamic crescent and the silhouette of a jihad fighter

The Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra)

The Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra) seeks to overthrow the Assad regime and set up an Islamic Caliphate ruled by religious Islamic law (the Shari’ah) in Greater Syriaincluding Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. During the Syrian civil war two branches of Al-Qaeda established themselves among the rebel organizations fighting to overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. The most prominent is the Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra), directly subordinate to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The other is The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria, subordinate to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. In addition, other Salafist-jihadi military organizations not necessarily affiliated with Al-Qaeda operate in Syria. The two Al-Qaeda branches have an estimated 6,000-7,000 operatives, and in our assessment the number is growing.

Related to chemical weapons of the opposition side an indictment from the Adana Public Prosecutor’s Office has declared that anti-Assad gangs are known to be producing chemical weapons inside of Turkey.Prosecution attorney presented the court with a 132-page document which contained prosecution attorney’s gathered evidence of the suspects’ links to terrorist groups in Syria including al-Nusra Front and al-Qaeda-linked Islamic States on Iraq and Levant (Ahrar al-Sham).On May 28 Turkish security forces found a 2-kg cylinder with sarin gas after searching the homes of terrorists from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front who were previously detained.

A thorough analysis about Al-Nusra Front can be found from here (Analysis: The Al-Nusra Front, 167 p also in my document library).

Related articles

Poster against US intervention on Syria


Syrian Rebels Admit Chemical Attack In Damascus???

August 31, 2013

I just collide with an amazing article Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack by Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh. There Free Syrian Army Rebel has come out and admitted that the rebels were responsible for the chemical attack in Syria blamed upon Syrian government forces. If this information isn’t bad enough, the rebels also admit that the weapons were supplied to them by US ally Saudi Arabia. I have not yet could confirm different sources and facts so I can not say if this information is true or false. However if it is a true story it puts the case upside down compared to mainstream media info and actions taken based to earlier picture.

After quote there is also a video showing rebels launching chemical ammunition probably on July 2013.

EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack by Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh

Ghouta, Syria — As the machinery for a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria gathers pace following last week’s chemical weapons attack, the U.S. and its allies may be targeting the wrong culprit.

Interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders said at least 355 people had died last week from what it believed to be a neurotoxic agent, appear to indicate as much.

The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack, which mainly targeted civilians. U.S. warships are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch military strikes against Syria in punishment for carrying out a massive chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and others are not interested in examining any contrary evidence, with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry sayingMonday that Assad’s guilt was “a judgment … already clear to the world.”

However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.

My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.

Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.

They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”

When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.

A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named ‘J’ agreed. “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.

We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.

Doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers to be careful about asking questions regarding who, exactly, was responsible for the deadly assault.

The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders added that health workers aiding 3,600 patients also reported experiencing similar symptoms, including frothing at the mouth, respiratory distress, convulsions and blurry vision. The group has not been able to independently verify the information.

More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.

Saudi involvement

In a recent article for Business Insider, reporter Geoffrey Ingersoll highlighted Saudi Prince Bandar’s role in the two-and-a-half year Syrian civil war. Many observers believe Bandar, with his close ties to Washington, has been at the very heart of the push for war by the U.S. against Assad.

Ingersoll referred to an article in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph about secret Russian-Saudi talksalleging that Bandar offered Russian President Vladimir Putin cheap oil in exchange for dumping Assad.

Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord,” Ingersoll wrote.

I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Bandar allegedly told the Russians.

Along with Saudi officials, the U.S. allegedly gave the Saudi intelligence chief the thumbs up to conduct these talks with Russia, which comes as no surprise,” Ingersoll wrote.

Bandar is American-educated, both military and collegiate, served as a highly influential Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., and the CIA totally loves this guy,” he added.

According to U.K.’s Independent newspaper, it was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first brought allegations of the use of sarin gas by the regime to the attention of Western allies in February.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the CIA realized Saudi Arabia was “serious” about toppling Assad when the Saudi king named Prince Bandar to lead the effort.

They believed that Prince Bandar, a veteran of the diplomatic intrigues of Washington and the Arab world, could deliver what the CIA couldn’t: planeloads of money and arms, and, as one U.S. diplomat put it, wasta, Arabic for under-the-table clout,” it said.

Bandar has been advancing Saudi Arabia’s top foreign policy goal, WSJ reported, of defeating Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies.

To that aim, Bandar worked Washington to back a program to arm and train rebels out of a planned military base in Jordan.

The newspaper reports that he met with the “uneasy Jordanians about such a base”:

His meetings in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah sometimes ran to eight hours in a single sitting. “The king would joke: ‘Oh, Bandar’s coming again? Let’s clear two days for the meeting,’ ” said a person familiar with the meetings.Jordan’s financial dependence on Saudi Arabia may have given the Saudis strong leverage. An operations center in Jordan started going online in the summer of 2012, including an airstrip and warehouses for arms. Saudi-procured AK-47s and ammunition arrived, WSJ reported, citing Arab officials.

Although Saudi Arabia has officially maintained that it supported more moderate rebels, the newspaper reported that “funds and arms were being funneled to radicals on the side, simply to counter the influence of rival Islamists backed by Qatar.”

But rebels interviewed said Prince Bandar is referred to as “al-Habib” or ‘the lover’ by al-Qaida militants fighting in Syria.

Peter Oborne, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, has issued a word of caution about Washington’s rush to punish the Assad regime with so-called ‘limited’ strikes not meant to overthrow the Syrian leader but diminish his capacity to use chemical weapons:

Consider this: the only beneficiaries from the atrocity were the rebels, previously losing the war, who now have Britain and America ready to intervene on their side. While there seems to be little doubt that chemical weapons were used, there is doubt about who deployed them.

It is important to remember that Assad has been accused of using poison gas against civilians before. But on that occasion, Carla del Ponte, a U.N. commissioner on Syria, concluded that the rebels, not Assad, were probably responsible.Some information in this article could not be independently verified. Mint Press News will continue to provide further information and updates .

Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News and the Associated Press. Gavlak has been stationed in Amman, Jordan for the Associated Press for over two decades. An expert in Middle Eastern Affairs, Gavlak currently covers the Levant region of the Middle East for AP, National Public Radio and Mint Press News, writing on topics including politics, social issues and economic trends. Dale holds a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. Contact Dale at dgavlak@mintpressnews.com

Yahya Ababneh is a Jordanian freelance journalist and is currently working on a master’s degree in journalism,  He has covered events in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Libya. His stories have appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News, Gerasa News and elsewhere.

Source: Article printed from Infowars: http://www.infowars.com

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Read more:

Syria: From War To Dissolution With Help Of Media

 

Appendix

Syrian Girl Clears The Air on Chemical Attack in Syria:


Syria: From War To Dissolution With Help Of Media

August 28, 2013

What are some irrelevant Syrian lives in the grand scheme of things, when the status quo’s wealth must be preserved at all costs.” (Opinion in web forums)

Coat_of_arms_of_SyriaThe Syrian opposition on has accused the government of launching a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs that killed large numbers of civilians as they slept and packed makeshift hospitals with hundreds of victims convulsing and gasping for breath. Photographs and videos posted online showed the bodies of men, women and children, many appearing to be dead, without visible wounds. Varying opposition claims put the death toll in the hundreds, with some saying it was more than a thousand.

While the public is shocked about news the Pentagon is making the initial preparations for a Cruise missile attack to punish Al-Assad regime. So has the “free and democratic world” forgotten the Iraq WMD disinformation campaign? In my opinion they should think twice as the right address might be Qatar-funded mercenaries led by Al Qaeda.

Mediawar

Most people think the horrendous news they watch on TV, read in the newspapers or hear on the radio is real. It is not as the question is more about media-war than neutral unbiased newscast.

One should again remember that in the Middle East there is a medi-awar ongoing. Some examples from recent shows:

a) The shooting session of the fake photos in Egypt: A part of film can be seen also via this link  or this youtube

Plyywood shooting session in Egypt

b) Video of MB sit-in where the dead bodies in their coffin wrappings were being dragged out of the ice tanks to the center of the sit-in, minutes before the Police raid:

c) Picture supposed to show a victim of ‘the gas attack’ in Damascus. The picture has also been used to show a victim of an attack in Egypt as well to show a victim of an attack in Palestine.

d) Related to Syria it was the rebels who use chemical weapons and Jihadists, not Assad, apparently behind reported chemical attack in Syria.

e) More media-war practice in the Middle East e.g. in Minimizing Collateral Damage In Gaza Conflict

There is a tendency for the concept to be invoked in the heat of action, giving the appearance of propriety for Western television viewers, but that it neglects the conflicts that are forgotten by the media or occur based on chronic distresses than sudden crises. For example the US launched two military campaigns against Serbia while ignoring real and more widespread slaughter in Rwanda .

Old practice new theatre

The pattern of U.S. collaboration with Muslim fundamentalists against more secular enemies is not new. In the 1980s Washington’s secret services had assisted Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Then, in 1990, the US fought him in the Gulf. n both Afghanistan and the Gulf, the Pentagon had incurred debts to Islamist groups and their Middle Eastern sponsors. By 93 these groups, many supported by Iran and Saudi Arabia, were anxious to help Bosnian Muslims fighting in the former Yugoslavia and called in their debts with the Americans. Bill Clinton and the Pentagon were keen to be seen as creditworthy and repaid in the form of an Iran-Contra style operation – in flagrant violation of the UN Security Council arms embargo against all combatants in the former Yugoslavia. One could add that Ayman al-Zawahiri, later the leader of al Qaeda, came to America to raise funds in Silicon Valley for Bosnian jihadists.in 1993, Mr. bin Laden had appointed Sheik Ayman Al-Zawahiri, to direct his operations in the Balkans.

Image shows a M60 recoilless gun (YU) being used to attack an army outpost,Hajez Barad, in Busr al-Harir, Daraa, on March 2nd.

Image shows a M60 recoilless gun (YU) being used to attack an army outpost,Hajez Barad, in Busr al-Harir, Daraa, on March 2nd.

Unfortunately, history is repeating. From my point of view it remains to see if this newest U.S. clandestine recycling operation has better success that earlier in Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya … I doubt. More in U.S. Recycles Its Old Balkan Practice With Syria .

Only bad options

We can do this with no boots on the ground, from stand-off distances(US dream)

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, may have made the case. In a letter to Congressman Elliot Engel, Dempsey said the American military is clearly capable of taking out the Syrian air force. He wouldn’t do it because it would “offer no strategy for peace,” he wrote. “is a deeply rooted, long-term conflict among multiple factions, and violent struggles for power will continue after Assad’s rule ends. We should evaluate the effectiveness of limited military options in this context.” (Source: American Thinker )

Centcom’s Forward Command in Jordan is manned by 273 US officers. This underground facility near Amman is linked to US, Israel, Jordanian and Saudi Air Force commands ready for an order from President Barack Obama to impose planned air-strike as well a partial no-fly zone over Syria. There are today some 1,000 US military personnel in the Hashemite Kingdom, plus a squadron of F-16 fighters and several Patriot anti-missile batteries strung along the Jordanian-Syrian border to shield Jordanian and American bases and the capital, Amman. Obama’s final decision on a no fly and a buffer zone in Syria is expected in the coming two to three weeks.

Syria, cradle of civilizations, compared e.g. with US

Syria, cradle of civilizations, compared e.g. with US

Arming rebels and pushing for military intervention will not solve the problem Syria is facing but indeed could lead to the death of thousands of Syrians and to the breaking-up of the country falling under the control of violent fundamentalist Jihadist forces. It will mean the further fleeing of Syrians into surrounding countries which will themselves become destabilised. The entire Middle East will then become unstable and violence will spiral out of control.

Anyway if USA decides to bomb Syria wouldn’t the right address be Qatar-funded mercenaries led by Al Qaeda instead of the Assad regime.

Russia as a peacemaker?

While Obama/US is now in the corner with his ”red lines” Russia has became more reliable player in the Middle East as it is emerging:

as a vocal defender of Christianity against Muslim persecution around the world;

as a plausible peacemaker in the Middle East, with far better relationships with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria than America has today;

as the monopoly natural gas supplier for Germany, with the consent of the Franco-German axis;

as the only country with a credible a nuclear umbrella to protect its friends and deter its enemies;

To show Russia’s seriousness in the Middle East, President Putin has paid personal visits and kept contacts with all the players, including the Sisi regime in Egypt, Israel, Syria’s Assad, and Saudi Arabia.

Who has smoking gun?

It would be very peculiar if it was the government to do this at the exact moment the international inspectors come into the country(WMD inspector Rolf Ekeus)

Syrian President Bashar al Assad has now survived two years of civil war, and indeed he is even winning it.Only foreign intervention especially by the United States could defeat him. If so why he would do the one thing Obama said would trigger US action? Since both sides have been highlighting atrocities carried out by the other to garner support from outside Syria, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that some unscrupulous rebel faction could have launched a so-called ‘false flag’ operation to discredit the regime even further.

At the moment, it is difficult to see what desperate situation would have caused al Assad to use chemical weapons and risk the worst. His opponents however have the motivation – using chemical weapons to force the United States to intervene and depose al Assad. It might be possible that lower-ranking officers in al Assad’s military used chemical weapons without his knowledge and perhaps against his wishes. While all options are open what happened in relation of chemical weapons from my perspective it is crucial to wait untill we know more, for example after investigations made by U.N team.

U.N., Israel and Syria hypocrisyBtw the latest news out of Syria is confirmed, namely that the the Syrian army has discovered rebels’ storehouse in the Damascus area, where toxic chemical substances, including chlorine, have been produced and kept,

Dissolution of Syria

In normal cases the United States and its coalition partners, are using humanitarian pretexts to pursue otherwise unacceptable geopolitical goals and to evade the non-intervention norm and legal prohibitions on the use of international force. This false pretented humanitarianism has become a legitimizing ideology for projection of U.S. hegemony in a post–Cold War world. For example NATO intervention in Kosovo was conducted largely to boost NATO’s credibility. With case of Syria US doesn’t have big geopolitical interests to go war, the main cause might be that Obama draw his red line – use of chemical weapon – and he now have to act on the red line principle or be shown to be one who bluffs. If Obama doesn’t act this would show US weakness.

Despite how US acts one should notice that there is already lot of foreign intervention in Syria: Russia, Hizbollah etc are giving weapons and support to al Assad regime; US, Saudis etc are giving weapons to sc freedom fighters; Qatar etc are financing al Qaeda’s fighters and Kurds get support e.g from Iraq. US might launch its air-strike but bottom line is that foreign fighters have already their boots on the ground. The Israelis are privately reluctant supporters of the al-Assad regime. It is a known quantity, with whom negotiation within established parameters is  possible. The alternative, of divided Sunni Islamist politics presenting a potentially existential danger to the Jewish state and the region as a whole, is all the more destabilising. EU is bystander as usual however ready to throw their money in when dirty job is done.

Balkanization of Syria Map credit The Economist

Balkanization of Syria

In my opinion the majority of the people of Syria are calling out for peace and reconciliation and a political solution to the crisis. The probable short term result will be dissolution of Syria – some kind of new balkanization or Somalization as it already happened in Iraq. The country might fragment, as Kurds and Alawites form their own mini-states. The positive outcome might be that second piece– after North Iraq – of Kurdistan will be established while it remains to see when regions from Iran and Turkey will join to this long-felt need.

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Appendix:

SYRIAN GIRL 8 Reasons Why The NWO Hates Syria


U.S. Recycles Its Old Balkan Practice With Syria

April 5, 2013

The Syrian rebellion began in earnest on March 11, 2011, when protests erupted. Since then, the Syrian civil conflict has become increasingly violent. About 70,000 people have died in the country’s civil war over the past two years. Millions of people have been displaced, both internally and abroad. For months regional and Western capitals have officially held back on arming the rebels, in part out of fear that the weapons would fall into the hands of terrorists.

Now however U.S. has begun to support arms delivery to Syrian opposition with recycling its old practice in Balkans. Multiple planeloads (some estimates are up to 160 cargo-planes, 3,500 tn) of weapons have left Croatia since December 2012, when many Yugoslav weapons, previously unseen in the Syrian civil war, began to appear in videos posted by rebels on YouTube. Saudi Arabia has financed a large purchase of infantry weapons from Croatia and quietly funneled them to anti-government fighters in Syria. American intelligence officers have helped the shipment with their earlier practice during Balkan wars. Earlier compared with the heavy weaponry employed by the Syrian regime, most of the equipment of Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been light so now the game is changing.

In Syria, a recoilless gun from the former Yugoslavia. Photo credit The NYT

Some foreign arms have been making their way to the Syrian opposition; the vast majority of guns were bought right from the regime – corrupt regime officials sold them. Another portion of their weapons was bought off the black market from Turkey or Jordan, which made them very expensive.

The opposition began as a secular struggle to overthrow the Assad regime. But many of the loosely linked brigades fighting the Assad regime have incorporated Islamist aims into their mission. These groups range from moderately Islamist outfits such as Liwaa al-Tawhid to more conservative groups such as Ahrar al-Sham, whose members have called for the countrywide implementation of Shariah, or Islamic law. There are also jihadist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN), which operates as an extension of al Qaeda’s Iraqi franchise and has been declared a terrorist organization by the U.S. JAN boasts foreign connections and members with years of fighting experience, making them invaluable to the uprising.

The M79 Osa, an anti-tank weapon of Yugoslav origin, seized from Syria’s opposition.

Officially besides about $385 million in humanitarian aid has been disbursed by the U.S., there is an additional $115 million in nonlethal support for the fighters. On the other hand U.S. (unofficial) decision to send in more weapons is aimed at another fear in the West about the role of jihadist groups in the opposition. Such groups have been seen as better equipped than many nationalist fighters and potentially more influential. U.S. is covertly working to get those weapons into the right hands. Western officials agree that helping Syrian rebels defeat the brutal Assad regime is a worthwhile cause, but recent reports suggest some of that assistance has already benefited jihadist groups – e.g. JAN fighters have been using weapons originating in Croatia. (Sources: NYT , IBT , Debkafile)

Weapons from Croatia

A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment” (Hugh Griffiths, SIPRI, who monitors illicit arms transfers)

Persian Gulf states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been orchestrating weapons shipments into the conflict for months. Weapons from the former Yugoslavia were spotted in Syria this winter, after a series of military cargo flights from Zagreb to Amman. The arms are typically sent to Turkey and shipped into Syria via ground transport. The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports. Also from Jordan and Turkey, trucks take the weapons to the border with Syria.

The anti-Assad front is not like-minded: Riyadh – and Prince Bandar in particular – accuses the Qataris of conspiring to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Damascus, including radical groups tied to Al Qaeda. Qatari Prime Minister and Secret Service Chief Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem has shot back with the charge that Saudi Arabia is maneuvering for control of the Syrian rebel movement.

The below video posted by the jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham, a collection of various smaller groups based in the north of Syria, mainly around Idlib, Aleppo, and Hama, and not part of the Free Syrian Army, demonstrates that the Yugoslavian weapons – supplied via Croatia – being provided to FSA have now begun to reach the hands of jihadists. These include RBG-6 40mm grenade launcher , the M79 Osa rocket launcher, M79 rocket pods, Yugoslav-made recoilless gun, as well as other assault rifles, grenade launchers, machine guns, mortars and shoulder-fired rockets for use against tanks and armored vehicles.

Youtube video

 One should add that Croatia’s Foreign Ministry and arms-export agency has denied that such shipments had occurred. Croatia, poised this year to join the European Union, now strictly adheres to international rules on arms transfers. However, export figures obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) show that last December, Jordan suddenly began buying Croatian weapons.

MLRS in Syria too?

On March 2013 Syrian rebels in Aleppo have begun receiving their first heavy weapons – 220-mm MLRS rocket launchers – from a large-scale supply operation headed by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan. According Debkafile in Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, his agents produced snapped up Russian-made MLRS (Smerch) and Hurricane 9K57 launchers capable of firing scores of 220-mm rockets to a distance of 70 kilometers.

I have some doubts how this Russian made MLRS has came from Croatia. First only one source (Debkafile) indicates so, second I don’t have any confirmation that this system was for sale in Balkans, third some youtube videos from Syria which I have seen about this MLRS are so unclear that the question could be about some similar type of MLRS.

Image shows a M60 recoilless gun (YU) being used to attack an army outpost,Hajez Barad, in Busr al-Harir, Daraa, on March 2nd.

The Saudi operation for shipping heavy rocket launchers from the Balkans to Aleppo is complicated. The rockets are fixed to vehicles weighing 43.7 tons each. The rockets themselves are 7.6 meters long and weigh 800 kilograms. To arrange the transfer of this heavy artillery to the rebels in Aleppo, Prince Bandar contacted Hakan Fidan, head of the MIT-Turkish National Intelligence Organization. They agreed to set up an overland route from the Balkans via Turkey and across the Syrian border to Aleppo, under the protection of the Turkish army.

It may be that Syrian rebels have now also the BM-30 Smerch (tornado), the most powerful multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) in the world. It was developed in the early 1980s and was accepted to service with the Soviet Army in 1987. It is also in service with Belarus and the Ukraine, and has been exported to Kuwait (27 systems) and Algeria (18 systems).India placed an order for an initial 38 systems. Deliveries began in May 2007.

The heavy MLRS rocket launcher in Syrian rebel hands

Former Yugoslavia had three types of MLRS: M 63 Plamen(32 /128),M 77 Ogan(32/128) and M 87 Orkan(12/262) which was produced in cooperation with Iraq and army of Iraq used this system. The M87 Orkan (hurricane) is a MLRS, jointly developed by Yugoslavia and Iraq. Most of development was made in Yugoslavia and some manufacturing took place in Iraq. It was first publicly revealed in 1988 during defense exhibition in Iraq, labeled as the Ababil-50. The Orkan MLRS project was finished in the early 1990s due to collapse of the Yugoslavia and it is estimated that only few system were built. The most modern – 2011 – MLRS in Balkans is LRSVM, which is a modular self-propelled multitube rocket launch system developed by Serbia-based Vazduhoplovno Tehnicki Institut (VTI). Also Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Defense Technologies (EDT) has developed, manufactured and delivered the first unit of the MLRS, which was designed and manufactured locally in UAE but in collaboration with a leading Serbian defence contractor. Perhaps some of these are now in operation theatre.

M87 Organ (YU)

Aleppo is the key to win

The Saudi operation for shipping heavy rocket launchers from the Balkans to Aleppo is complicated. The rockets are fixed to vehicles weighing 43.7 tons each. The rockets themselves are 7.6 meters long and weigh 800 kilograms. To arrange the transfer of this heavy artillery to the rebels in Aleppo, Prince Bandar contacted Hakan Fidan, head of the MIT-Turkish National Intelligence Organization. They agreed to set up an overland route from the Balkans via Turkey and across the Syrian border to Aleppo, under the protection of the Turkish army.

On the other hand Russia brings down its cargo planes loaded with weapons and replacement parts for the Syrian army at Nairab air base attached to Aleppo’s international air port, after the air facilities around Damascus were targeted by rebel fire. Recently Russian and Iranian arms lifts to Nairab were doubled, after rebels seized many Alawite villages in the Aleppo and Idlib regions of northern Syria.

The Saudis hope to expedite the rebel capture of the big Syrian Nairab air base attached to Aleppo’s international air port. The Saudi prince has personally taken the Nairab battle under his wing, convinced that it is the key to the conquest of Aleppo, once Syria’s national commercial and population center, after more than a year’s impasse in the battle for its control. The fall of this air base would also substantially reduce the big Iranian and Russian airlifts to Assad’s army. Moscow has since warned the rebels that if they attack incoming or outgoing Russian planes at Nairab, Russian special forces will come in to wipe out their strength around the base and take over its protection themselves.

U.S., Croatia and common history of clandestine operations

It is not surprising that U.S. is using Croatia for its clandestine operations. Radical Islam has enforced and widened their activities in Balkans last 15 years. During Bosnian war many foreign Islamists came to fight in mujahedeen brigade also many Al Quida figures – including Osama bin Laden – were supporting Bosnian Muslims 1990’s. US took the side with these “freedom fighters” in Bosnia and later in Kosovo. US involvement in the Balkans is not about helping any of the people in the region — Muslims, Croats, Serbs, or Albanians. The only interest of the Pentagon is in creating weak, dependent puppet regimes in order to dominate the entire region economically and politically.

In the 1980s Washington’s secret services had assisted Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Then, in 1990, the US fought him in the Gulf. n both Afghanistan and the Gulf, the Pentagon had incurred debts to Islamist groups and their Middle Eastern sponsors. By 93 these groups, many supported by Iran and Saudi Arabia, were anxious to help Bosnian Muslims fighting in the former Yugoslavia and called in their debts with the Americans. Bill Clinton and the Pentagon were keen to be seen as creditworthy and repaid in the form of an Iran-Contra style operation – in flagrant violation of the UN Security Council arms embargo against all combatants in the former Yugoslavia. One could add that Ayman al-Zawahiri, later the leader of al Qaeda, came to America to raise funds in Silicon Valley for Bosnian jihadists.in 1993, Mr. bin Laden had appointed Sheik Ayman Al-Zawahiri, to direct his operations in the Balkans.

The recent history of this issue in Balkans started in June 1993, when President Clinton received the head of the Saudi Arabian intelligence service, Prince Turki al Faisal – a close adviser to his uncle, the King. The Prince urged Clinton to take the lead in the military assistance to Bosnia. The American administration did not dare to do so: the fear of a rift within NATO was too great. However, the United States did consider the Saudi Arabian signal to be important, and therefore a new strategy was elaborated. Its architect was to be Richard Holbrooke, who started to look for a way to arm the Bosnian Muslims. In the summer of 1993, the Pentagon was said to have drawn up a plan for arms assistance to the Bosnian Muslim Army (ABiH), which included supplies of AK-47s and other small arms. This operation was to demand almost three hundred C-130 Hercules transport aircraft flights.The first consignment from Iran landed in Zagreb on 4 May 1994, with sixty tons of explosives and military equipment on board. The arms were transported in Croatian army trucks along the Adriatic coast to Bosnia. Because the supplies attracted too much attention at Pleso Airport in Zagreb, the flights subsequently went mainly to the Croatian island of Krk. Shortly after Iranian cargo aircraft had landed there, a number of Croatian helicopters arrived to continue transporting the load after dusk.

Besides weapons the arrival in the Balkans of the so-called Afghan Arabs, who are from various Middle Eastern states and linked to al-Qaeda, began in 1992 – mujahedeen fighters who travelled to Afghanistan to resist the Soviet occupation in the 1980s later migrated to Bosnia hoping to assist their Islamic brethren in a struggle against Serbian Croatian forces.

In the summer and autumn of 1994 plans were elaborated for training the ABiH. An US ‘mercenary outfit’ was to arrange this training. This was carried out by Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), a company based in Virginia that employed various retired American generals and intelligence officials. With the consent of the State Department, MPRI trained the Hrvatska Vojska (HV, the Croatian Army) and later also the ABiH. MPRI’s role arose from the signing of the agreement between the United States and Croatia on military collaboration. By engaging MPRI, Washington also reduced the danger of ‘direct’ involvement. The CIA settled on 14,000 tons between May 1994 and December 1996. According to the State Department from May 1994 to January 1996 Iran delivered a total of 5000 tons of arms and ammunition via the Croatian pipeline to Bosnia. (Source Bill Clinton’s Bastard Army by Ares Demertzis ,Feb. 2009 in New English Review)

Links between drug trafficking and the supply of arms to the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) were established also mid-90s. In West KLA was described as terrorist organization but when US selected them as their ally it transformed organization officially to “freedom” fighters. After bombing Serbia 1999 KLA leaders again changed their crime clans officially to political parties. This public image however can not hide the origins of money and power, old channels and connections are still in place in conservative tribe society.  (More e.g in Quadruple Helix – Capturing Kosovo )

The pattern of U.S. collaboration with Muslim fundamentalists against more secular enemies is not new.In both cases all sides committed atrocities, and American intervention in fact favored the side allied with al-Qaeda. Similarly the cause of intervention was fostered by blatant manipulation and falsification of the facts.

Assad is not the only war criminal

Reports of a chemical weapon attack in Syria’s Aleppo Province end of March 2013 provoked leaders and politicians, particularly in the West, to advocate more fiercely for the overthrow of the Assad regime, despite the vague details surrounding the attack. Current data seem to suggest, however, that it was not government forces behind the attack, but rebel forces.The attack, intelligence sources appear to agree, was launched by rebel fighters and not government forces. Since the victims were overwhelmingly the Syrian military, this was not a huge shock, but is important to reiterate. Likewise, the Assad forces called upon the United Nations to launch an investigation into the attack.

Last October, the rebel forces were responsible for four suicide bombings in Aleppo that killed approximately 40 civilians and wounded many more. Jebhat al-Nusra, a group linked to al-Qaeda, has taken credit for the bombings. Additionally, the rebels were also responsible for the massacre of over 90 people in Houla last year. Immediately following that event, the U.S., France, Great Britain, and Germany blamed Assad for the killings and expelled Syria’s ambassadors from their countries in protest. Later reports, however, pointed to evidence that the massacre was in fact carried out by anti-Assad rebel forces.

From the other side Iranian supplies are what keep Assad’s army functioning and his regime in Damascus and other Syrian towns able to survive the rebellion. Iraqi Al Qaeda is also preparing to push trucks loaded with Chlorine gas-CI trucks into Syria for the jihadists to use against Assad’s forces. U.S. has been unable to persuade Iraq cut short the Iranian airlift and land route through his country to Bashar Assad of weapons, fighters and cash.

From my point of view it remains to see if this newest U.S. clandestine recycling operation has better success that earlier in Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya … I doubt.

P.S.

Some sense of proportion should be applied with different conflicts:


Anti-Muslim Film Camouflaged Terrorist Campaign

September 20, 2012

Article (shorter version) first published as Anti-Muslim Film Camouflaged Terrorist Campaign on Technorati.

Muslim-protests, targeting symbols of US influence ranging from embassies and schools to fast food chains, have been spreading around the world after the showing of an anti-Muslim film – “Innocence of Muslims” – on Youtube. In my opinion, this substandard film portraying the Prophet Muhammad in a negative light, might however be just an excuse and cover up not only for riots and angry protests across the Muslim world, but also for a more serious terrorist campaign. This campaign might well put recent U.S. Foreign policy in question, as well the re-election of President Obama.

I have been watching this film on Youtube. The film – “Innocence of Muslims”, dubbed version – depicts Muhammad variously as a cartoon-ish lecher, fool and thug. I am not any kind of expert with movies, but for me this film was amateurish, silly, low-budget ($ 5 million – LOL), and a miserably acted unpleasant piece of trash without any meaningful content.

Anyway, Mr Nakoula (a Copt Christian, born in Egypt) from Los Angeles – if he is behind this art work – is more known as a small criminal than from being part of the movie industry. That said, understanding Muhammed’s status within Islam even this kind of rubbish really can offend many Muslims.

The al Qaeda flag has been raised in Benghazi, Tunis, Sinai, and Syria

From Morocco to Indonesia — and even in Sydney, Australia — the Muslim masses continued their rioting over the weekend. U.S. embassies in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen were once again under attack.

Al-Qaida’s most active branch in the Middle East has called for more attacks on U.S. embassies to “set the fires blazing,” seeking to co-opt outrage over the film, as waves of protests have swept 20 countries during this last week.

The most serious violence took place in Libya, where U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate compound in the eastern city of Benghazi, the birthplace of the revolution that last year overthrew Moammar Gadhafi. The exact circumstances of the ambassador’s death remain unclear. On Tuesday night a group of extremists attacked the U.. consulate building, setting it on fire, and killing U.S. diplomatic officer with three of his staff.

Earlier in June there was an attack on the UK ambassador to Libya, Dominic Asquith. Two British bodyguards were injured after a rocket was fired at Asquith’s convoy in Benghazi, hitting his security escort. There have been similar attacks in Benghazi on the Red Cross and the UN.

U.S. Mission in Tirana has issued some travel warnings for Albania like around Muslim world. However dismissing rumours to the contrary, Albania’s League of Imams said they had no plans to stage any public protests against the notorious film that has caused such unrest in the Islamic world.

Protests against the film intensified in Tunisia and Sudan, and spread in Lebanon, with three Tunisians, three Sudanese and one Lebanese killed as clashes between demonstrators and police ensued on Friday (14th Sept.2012). Protesters briefly stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Tunisia’s capital, tearing down the American flag and raising a flag with the Muslim profession of faith on it as part of the protests. Protesters also set fire to and looted an American school adjacent to the embassy compound and prevented firefighters from approaching it.

Amid the recent wave of riots dozens of Salafist Islamist gunmen stormed a Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) base in Al-Jora in the Sinai Peninsula, leaving four officers wounded in an exchange of gunfire, as well as causing heavy damage to the base. The attackers tore down the international peacekeeping force’s flags from the guard posts, raising black flags that symbolize the militant Islamic groups operating in Sinai. During the incident, the protesters managed to easily overtake the MFO security detail, jump over the barbed wire fence, enter the base and wreak havoc once inside, where they seized control of radio equipment and ammunition depots.



Despite all mentioned above one must notice that this is in no way a “mass movement” of reaction. It is in fact very small and is actually being hyped up by the world media to look far bigger than it really is.

Film Camouflaged Terrorist Campaig

Related to Benghazi Debkafile’s counter-terror sources report that far from being a spontaneous raid by angry Islamists, it was a professionally executed terrorist operation by a professional Al Qaeda assassination team, whose 20 members acted under the orders of their leader Ayman al Zawahri after special training. They were all Libyans, freed last year from prisons where they were serving sentences for terrorism passed during the late Muammar Qaddafi’s rule.  In a video tape released a few hours before the attack, Zawahri called on the faithful to take revenge on the United States for liquidating one of the organization’s top operatives, Libyan-born Abu Yahya al-Libi in June by a US drone in northwestern Pakistan.

The protest in Benghazi exposed the alarming presence of al-Qaeda elements in Libya. When the “Arab Spring” erupted in Libya last year, Muammar Gaddafi warned that al-Qaeda would take Libya over if he is overthrown. US intelligence agencies were also aware of the presence of al-Qaeda elements in Libya and knew of their training in Afghanistan. The timing of the attack, a day after the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, was not coincidental.

U.S. Response

President Obama does not want to entangle his country in any foreign conflicts. It seems he would prefer to have the U.S. stay in the background. Quite descriptive, if not surprising, was that one of the first responses to the Benghazi events by the White House was to attack the Romney campaign and his remarks rather than to first and foremost condemn and address the murders of American citizens.

Rose Corona hits the nail in the head in her column in Forbes. A Quote:

This is not the first time the Obama administrations or the media’s response has been to focus on the distraction rather than the real issue. I liken it to the argument that they prefer to focus on a particular style of dishwasher for the kitchen or color of wallpaper in living room while all the time ignoring that fact that the house is on fire. The dishwasher and wallpaper does not matter if the house burns to the ground.

Obama gambled with the Middle East during his first term. He not only promised successful dialogue with Iran and, of course, to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he also assured us that he would be able to reconcile cultures.

On the other hand the Islamic view could be that Stevens previously was Obama’s representative to America’s puppet Libyan National Transition Council. It helped Washington and NATO partners ravage the country mercilessly. They’re responsible for killing tens of thousands of civilians, causing widespread destruction, leaving countless numbers homeless, displaced, and impoverished, as well as ending cherished social programs Gaddafi instituted.

Despite reports about a planned attack the White House and its minions continue to try to use this anti-Muhammed YouTube video as the “reason” for what is happening. This was not a terror attack carried out by a few people; it was initiated by thousands who wanted to convey the message that they do not want the Americans around. This is how they are trying to get rid of the Americans, who helped them rise to power.

Just as former President Jimmy Carter’s single term ended with the abduction of American diplomats in Tehran, Obama is now facing the collapse of his policy of support for the Islamic groups. He also has to deal with questions surrounding the fiasco in Benghazi.


Some of my articles related to Arab Street:

Israeli Vs Palestine Refugees – In, Out and No Return ,
US Giving a “Yellow Light” to an Israeli Strike
Days of Rage on the Arab street
Support for Iranian Opposition
Egypt at crossroads – theocrazy, democracy or something between
PaliLeaks, land swaps and desperate search of peace
Cyber war has became a tool between political and military options
Is Yemen the next target for the War on Terror?
Saudi-Israeli cooperation for attacking Iran
Fragments of the Middle East peace efforts
The Three-State Option could solve Gaza Conflict


Sinai Emerged as New Front in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

August 27, 2011

Besides political pressure due the Palestinians’ upcoming bid for statehood at the U.N. in September, Israel is suffering heaviest bombardments since Operation Cast lead in early 2009. Over 150 Qassam and Grad rockets has been fired at Israeli communities since last Thursday when Palestinian terrorists implemented a terrorist attack via Sinai in Southern Israel near tourist resort Eilat. The attack and quick response by Israel Defence Force (IDF) have now escalated and the situation is dangering also Egyptian-Israeli relationship and peace agreement.

The Sinai attack

A string of terrorist attacks took place near the Israeli-Egyptian border near of the Netafim crossing, about 20 km north of Eilat (Israel’s southernmost city) on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011. The attack left 8 Israeli citizen dead, 5 Egyptian police- and army officer died as well 10 of attackers. Some victims are still in critical condition.

Assailants crossing in from Sinai used automatic and anti-tank weapons, mortars and roadside bombs for separate attacks on two buses, two civilian cars and a military vehicle on Highway 12 which runs close to the wide open Egyptian Sinai border. All three gunmen who attacked the bus were killed in a firefight with an Israeli special police force. Israeli military sources first estimated that 20 terrorists took part in the attacks – some reaching their targets through Israel, others providing them with mortar cover from Sinai. Seven were killed. Two bodies were rigged with explosives. The Egyptian military told the IDF that its soldiers also killed two terrorists in the Sinai. Now Israel is involved in a dispute with Egypt after three Egyptian officers were killed by Israeli gunfire.

At least three of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on the road to Eilat last Thursday were Egyptian citizens, according to a report in the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Yaoum. In addition to the three, five Egyptian policemen and soldiers were also killed in the various firefights. Haaretz has learned that 12 terrorists, in four groups, carried out the attack. The groups were dispersed over an area 12 kilometers long. At least some of the attackers wore brown uniforms, similar to those used by the Egyptian Army. The investigation by the Egyptians has shown that Israeli troops entered into the Sinai Peninsula chasing after the terrorists. During the pursuit, fire was exchanged with Egyptian police. Moreover, an Israeli helicopter, according to the Egyptian probe, fired two rockets at the terrorists and fired machine guns at Egyptian policemen. (More: Haaretz )

The Israeli Defense Minister Barak noted the importance of the Peace Agreement with Egypt and emphasised Israel’s appreciation for the level-headedness and responsibility demonstrated by the Egyptians. “Israel is sorry for the deaths of the Egyptian policemen during the attack on the Israel-Egypt border.” (PMO/press)

According analysis made by The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center the attack was planned in the Gaza Strip by the Popular Resistance Committees and perpetrated by terrorists who crossed from Gaza into Sinai via smuggling tunnels. They then travelled some 200 kilometers to reach an area of the border protected only by a tattered wire fence, about 15 kilometers north of Eilat.

The week after: Response, Escalation and fragile Ceasefire

I have set out a principle – when the citizens of Israel are attacked, we respond immediately and with strength. That principle was implemented today. Those who gave the order to murder our citizens, while hiding in Gaza, are no longer among the living.” (Benjamin Netanyahu, PM/Israel after Sinai attack)

Israel claimed that the Sinai attack was carried out by terror cells affiliated with the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in the Gaza Strip, whose leaders were killed in response to the attacks in an Israel Air Force strike later Thursday afternoon. The PRC members killed in the retaliatory IAF air strike included the head of the terror group Kamal Nirab, who the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said had personally directed and planned the attack. Another man killed in the strike was identified as Amas Hamed, commander of the PRC’s military wing and a resident of Rafah. (Source and more e.g in The Jerusalem Post -article )

On Friday, one day after coordinated terror attacks killed eight in southern Israel, 30 Grad and Qassam rockets were fired throughout southern Israel. The rocket attacks on southern Israel continued Saturday in areas near Be’er Sheva and in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. (Source: Haaretz ). Israel Hayom reports that Southern Israel continued to absorb rocket fire from the Gaza Strip over the weekend, in the heaviest bombardment the country has seen since Operation Cast Lead in early 2009. By Sunday afternoon, over 100 rockets had been fired at Israeli communities since Thursday. More than a million Israelis within rocket range of Gaza have been warned to heed the instructions of the Homefront Command and remain alert.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad issued a statement detailing the rocket attacks in which the organization was involved between August 19 and 21. According to the announcement, the organization fired 17 standard Grad rockets, nine 107mm rockets, three Quds rockets [of local manufacture], and 22 mortar shells (PIJ’s Jerusalem Battalions website, August 23, 2011). The main faction of the PRC (the Salah al-Din Brigades) reported that its operatives had fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel during the last round of attacks. Thus it can be seen that both organizations played a major role in rocket attacks against Israel in the latest round of escalation (160 rockets were fired at Israel, 120 of them landing in Israeli territory).(Sources: The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and MFA/Israel )

Iron Dome in action

IDF sources have reported that Iron Dome batteries had shot down 20 incoming rockets fired by Gaza militants in the first five days of cross-border violence. Iron Dome guardens Gaza borderzone in few places and even if their amounth would be multipled the cover would not be 100%. An additional problem is economic one as every anti-rocket launch cost 40.000 – 100.000 USD; in future Skyguard laser beam system – still at development stage – might be the answer as one launch costs only 1.000 – 2.000 USD. More about Israeli missile defence in article Will Iron Dome balance the Hamas Terror? .

After a week of violence escalation now is at least temporary over as informal and fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is more or less prevailing. Egypt was active brokering an armistice between Israel and Hamas in an effort to stop the violence of recent days from escalating further, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported on Saturday. According to the report, Cairo has delivered an Israeli communiqué to Hamas, saying that its actions following Thursday’s deadly terror attacks near Eilat meant to target their perpetrators alone; and that it will cease its air strikes on Gaza if Hamas and the Strip’s other militant groups cease their rocket fire on Israel. The newspapers added that Egypt’s efforts are focused on both preventing the violence in southern Israel from spiralling out of control, as well as preventing an wide-scale Israel military campaign in Gaza. (Source: Ynetnews )

Sinai as new front

In 2005 Debkafile intelligence sources reported following:

Al Qaeda has established local terror networks in northern Sinai – centering on el Arish, as well as strongholds in the inaccessible central mountains of the peninsula around Jebel Hillal. In all, the jihadists control roughly one-fifth of Sinai total area (61,000sq. km or 23,500sq. miles). Egyptian forces of law and order have learned not to venture into these bastions or into the areas commanded by age-old smuggler clans who currently collaborate with al Qaeda. This leaves about half of the forbidding desert peninsula inaccessible to Egyptian security forces.

Description above is six years old, however it gives some background to challenge as this was situation during stabile Mubarak time, now after events in Libya and Egypt the thread can be even bigger.

Before Sinai attack early August Israel stopped what would have been a spectacular border terrorist attack planned from inside the Gaza Strip, according to Egyptian security officials. The attack was aimed at the sole pipeline that supplies Gaza with gas. The Egyptian officials said members of Jihadiya Salafiya, an al-Qaida-allied group in Gaza, are suspected of attempting the major attack along with elements of the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad. Since the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February, similar attacks have been carried out three times now on an Egyptian pipeline located in the Sinai desert that supplies Israel with about 35 percent of its gas needs. All three attacks have been blamed on Jihadiya Salafiya and likeminded Islamist jihad groups. Unlike other radical Islamic organizations such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, which have demonstrated some pragmatism in aspects of political life while still holding an Islamist worldview, the new al-Qaida organization believes in a strict interpretation of the Quran and that only the Quran can dictate how to act. The Islamist group believes violent jihad is the primary way to spread Islam around the world, including jihad against secular Muslim states. (Source: WND/Did Israel just stop ‘spectacular’ terror attack? )

It seems reasonable, that members of al-Qaeda and other groups affiliated with Global Jihad exploited the security vacuum in Sinai especially after “Arab Spring”. Egypt has accused Sinai terror groups not only blowing up the gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan but also of attacking police patrols. Earlier on Sunday 14th Aug., three Egyptian army brigades of 1,700 men backed by tanks, an equal number of special policemen and 3,400 security personnel drove into the northern towns of El Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, which is divided between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. In their first clashes with Islamic Liberation Army gunmen, they killed one and detained 11, four of them Palestinians, he Egyptian military communiqué reported. The aim of this operation is/was to retake control of the territory from lawless and terrorist elements rampant there since the Egyptian revolution and responsible for sabotaging the Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan and Syria. It is estimated that some 2,000 well-organized and heavily armed Islamist gunmen resides in Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian forces have fought for control of these mountains several times but failed, ending up with accommodations of sorts with the 350,000 Bedouin tribes sheltering the Islamists and sharing in their smuggling trade. The tribes always came out of these deals in control of the region.

Debkafile’s military sources report that the Islamic Liberation Army – which has declared its objective as the seizure of all of Sinai and its transformation into a Muslim Caliphate – is a conglomerate of five terrorist groups:

  1. Indigenous Bedouin tribes who have a score to settle with the Egyptian army;
  2. Palestinians from the Gaza Strip drawn into extremist Salafi sects which are integral parts of al Qaeda.
  3. Hundreds of adherents of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the murderous Jamaa al-Islamiya who escaped Egyptian prisons on January 29 at the peak of the popular revolution which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. The former jailbirds made a beeline for Sinai and today constitute the hard operational core of the movement.
  4. Al Qaeda adherents, who made their way to Sinai after violent careers in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  5. Followers of various Egyptian Sufi and dervish orders.

A bit similar information about current relationship between Hamas and more radical groups in Gaza can be found from folloing quote in Israel Hayom :

A senior military source told Israel Hayom on Saturday that a Gaza-based terrorist organization known as the Popular Resistance Committees was responsible for the rocket fire on Beersheba and Ofakim, along with global jihad groups associated with al-Qaida. The source added that Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, was attempting to prevent missile fire in order to prevent continued escalation.

One of the terrorist leaders in Sinai, formerly Osama bin Laden’s doctor, Dr. Ramzi Muwafi, was recently captured by the Egyptian military. Muwafi commanded a terrorist training camp of 40 Al Qaeda operatives near El Arish, the capital of Northern Sinai. It also claimed that hundreds of organization activists were sent to the Sinai peninsula in order to establish an Islamic emirate. (Source e.g: Walla ) Early Wednesday morning, the IDF assassinated Islamic Jihad figure Ismail Zadi Ismail Asmar, who organized the smuggling of Iranian Grad missiles into Gaza via Sinai. Asmar also provided the funding for the 15 or so terrorists who shot up the Eilat highway in southern Israel.

To address the worsening security situation in the Sinai, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told that Israel would agree to let Egypt station thousands of soldiers in the Sinai following last week’s cross-border attacks. Barak said he would agree to the deployment of soldiers and that the Egyptians would be able to “have helicopters and armored vehicles, but no tanks beyond the lone battalion already stationed there.” The new deployment, if it happens, will require modifications of the Egypt-Israel peace accord, which stipulates that the Sinai Peninsula remain a demilitarized zone, with precise and limited numbers of Egyptian forces and the types of weapons they are allowed to bear. (Source: Israel Hayom )

Possible follow-ups

The Sinai attack will sure have consequences and especially in Israel there is now need for for new situation analysis. Some of the considerable aspects of revised positions might be the following:

  • The Sinai attack will change military outlook on borderzone. For three decades since concluding a peace treaty with Egypt, Israel regarded their common 200-kilometer border as safe and non-belligerent. Tank units, armored infantry, airborne radar and early warning electronic capabilities will be strung the length of the Egyptian border. Also building a security fence on Egyptian-Israeli border will be speeded up so that 100 km will be implemented this year in addition to 30 km which is already constructed.
  • The attack on Eilat highlighted how Egypt’s military government is losing control of the Sinai Peninsula. During the midday raid, gunmen ambushed a civilian Israeli bus and attackers also detonated a roadside bomb targeting military vehicles responding to the attack.
  • In Israeli internal politics the events have boosted political parties to seek more cooperation as e.g. Interior Minister Eli Yishai worked to bring the Kadima party into a unity government.
  • Al-Qaeda might be emerging in Sinai. The Arab Spring has made it possible that different Islamist actors, such as Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists and Sufists, can now use constitutional means to come power putting more radical groups, such as Al-Qaeda in marginals. By exploiting the Israel-Gaza situation jihadists however can indirectly confront Egyptian regime and complicate matters for Israel and the outcome may well be unravelling the Egyptian-Israeli relationship most serious way since the signing of the 1978 Camp David Peace Accords.
  • Iran may have cut off all financial support to Hamas due to the latter’s failure to support embattled Syrian leader Bashar Assad, diplomatic sources told Reuters on Sunday. Hamas’ 2010 budget reportedly totalled some $540 million, with only a tenth of that covered by tax revenues from local commerce and on goods smuggled in through the Egyptian border.
  • Shiite Crescent scenario

    One alarming scenario is that when U.S. is pulling out of Iraq at the end of this year the country could allow Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Iraq and Syria (if al-Assad is not ousted) to form the “Shiite Crescent” in preparation for war with Israel. Hezbollah has 50,000 missiles, which can destroy targets in Israel and if Syria and Iran join the war, the situation in Israel could be worrying despite the fact that Israel probably would win the war.

  • Israel therefore conceivably could face conflict in Gaza, a conflict along the Lebanese border and a rising in the West Bank, something it clearly knows. This could mean risky three-front war. In a rare move, Israel announced plans to call up reserves in September. Though preannouncements of such things are not common, Israel wants to signal resolution.



Fragments of the Middle East peace efforts

November 12, 2010

With the recently launched Palestinian-Israeli peace talks receding into a state of limbo and while Yemen is slowly disappearing from headlines a smaller stories from the Middle East are going on in the marginals of western mainstream media. However these some times crueler actions may change situation on the ground even more than high level official diplomacy.


Knesset. Jerusalem

News from peace talks too often are limited to photo opportunity to see negotiators and host making theatrical handshake – of course studying the outcome of talks one has some base to claim that this staging indeed was the (only) content of meeting. However outside cabinets in theatre of operations actions are following one another although they are not dominating front pages of mainstream media. Here I have collected some fragments of information flow from first part of November.

U.S. strikes to Gaza

A missile fired from an American warship in the Mediterranean hit the car in which Muhammad Jamal A-Namnam, 27, was driving in the heart of

Missile struck Al Qaeda operative's car in Gaza, made by U.S.

Gaza City Wednesday, Nov. 3 and killed him. Namnam was an operational commander of the Army of Islam, Al-Qaeda’s Palestinian cell in the Gaza Strip. He was on a mission on behalf of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – AQAP to plan, organize and execute the next wave of terrorist attacks on US targets after last week’s air package bomb plot. The Al Qaeda operative’s death by a US missile is the first American targeted assassination in the Gaza Strip against an Al Qaeda target. Up until now, US missions of this kind took place in Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. (Source: DEBKAfile)

U.S. aids both sides with different methods

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Wednesday that $150 million dollars in direct aid was being transferred to the Palestinian Authority. The latest U.S. aid brings the amount of direct funding for 2010 to $225 million and total assistance to the Palestinian Authority including that through third parties to $600 million, Clinton said. Same time the U.S. government is to move an additional $400 million worth of military equipment to emergency storage in Israel over the next two years. Equipment to stand at Israel’s disposal in an emergency; hike will bring the value of American military equipment stockpiled in Israel to $1.2 billion by 2012. (Source: Haarez)


Other side of refugee issue

Speaking about refugees in the Middle-East a new initiative promoted by the Foreign Ministry calls on Palestinians to “recognize Jews who exiled from Arab lands as refugees.” According to the initial outline of the plan, Israelis hailing from Arab countries will be eligible to demand financial compensation for the property they left behind. “We must remember that more than 850,000 Israelis came from Arab lands without any property, and therefore they are considered refugees. It is definitely an issue that must be raised during our negotiations on a permanent agreement,” said Deputy Defense Minister Danny Ayalon. (Source: Ynetnews)


Targeted killing authority

Lawyers for the Barack Obama administration told a federal judge Monday that the U.S. government has authority to kill U.S. citizens whom the executive branch has unilaterally determined pose a threat to national security. That claim came in federal court in Washington, D.C. in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). The two human rights legal advocacy organisations contend that the administration’s so-called “targeted killing authority” violates the constitution and international law. The ACLU and the CCR were retained by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government’s decision to authorise the targeted killing of his son, Anwar Al- Aulaqi. (Source: Obama Lawyers Defend “Kill Lists” By William Fisher).

These “democratic” western values are not so unknown to Yemeni as a Yemeni judge ordered police Saturday to find a radical US-born cleric – Anwar al-Aulaqi – “dead or alive” after the al-Qaida-linked preacher failed to appear at his trial for his role in the killing of foreigners. (Source. Jerusalem Post/AP)


US Predator UAVs now in Yemen – the drone war is expanding

Targetted killing of Anwar al-Aulaqi is coming easier now. In the first week of November, directly after the discovery of two explosive parcels mailed from Yemen to the United States, Washington moved a squadron of Predator drones to a secret base at the Yemeni Red Sea port of Al Hodaydah. Until now, the covert facility – finished in April on a site CIA director Leon Panetta has selected last January – was allotted to US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) units for mounting clandestine raids against Al Qaeda cells deep inside Yemen.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen

Yemen has so far claimed that the war on Al Qaeda is carried out exclusively by the Yemeni army, however for some time now, US warplanes and drones have been crisscrossing Yemeni skies from their bases in Djibouti and the decks of aircraft carriers offshore. Officials in Sanaa have habitually claimed those sorties were the work of the Yemeni air force, although it has neither the aircraft nor the air crews able to conduct these precision attacks. DEBKAfile‘s Middle East sources note that it is the first time in seven years that US air strike forces are stationed on Arabian Peninsula soil. In 2003, the American Air force dismantled its Saudi base and withdrew to Qatar and Oman.

US Predator - Now in Yemen too

In Washington there is debate going on whether the drone war should be conducted by the U.S. military or the CIA. Both the CIA covert operations directorate and U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) brass regard the outcome in Yemen as the key to the larger struggle over control of a series of covert wars that the Obama administration approved in principle last year. The CIA directorate and the two major figures in the Iraq- Afghanistan wars, Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, lobbied Obama in 2009 to expand covert operations against al Qaeda to a dozen countries in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Central Asia. On Dec. 17, less than three months after the Petraeus order, a cruise missile was launched against what was supposed to have been an al Qaeda training camp in Abyan province in south Yemen. The Yemeni parliament found that it had killed 41 members of two families, including 17 women and 23 children. After this and later strikes and when JSOC stumbled badly and failed to generate usable intelligence on al Qaeda targets, the CIA went on the offensive to get the administration to take control of the drones away from the SOF. (Source: DEBKAfile and IPS)

Attacking Iran?

Obama may save Presidency by attacking Iran

At a special White House security consultation last week, Obama said it was time to plant America’s military option against the Iranian nuclear threat visibly and tangibly under the noses of Iran’s political and military decision-makers. In the last few days, three aircraft carriers, four nuclear submarines and marine assault units have piled up opposite Iranian shores. Early Sunday, the influential Senator Lindsey Graham (R. South Carolina), member of the Armed Services and Homeland Defense committees, said: “The US should consider sinking the Iranian navy, destroying its air force and delivering a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guards.”As part of this strategy, two weeks ago, the White House requested the heads of NATO to draw up operational plans for attacking Iran’s nuclear and military facilities.


Axle of Gaza-Damascus-Tehran

A further round of conciliation talks between PLO/Fatah and Hamas broke up in Damascus Wednesday, Nov. 10, without accord. The Fatah delegation insisted that the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas be the sole sovereign authority for all security services in both territories, Hamas didn’t agree. This dispute will decisively influence the US-sponsored talks between Israel and the Palestinians – if they ever take off. It means that the only accommodation attainable would be, at best, a partial one covering only the West Bank.

Same time the Hamas government’s deputy foreign minister Dr. Ahmed Yousef is actively campaigning for the Gaza regime to form a strategic partnership with Iran on the same lines as the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah alliance. He also invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Gaza. Close ties between Gaza and Tehran will bolster the Palestinian extremists’ military and intelligence ties with Damascus and Hizballah. This will in turn boost the bloc led by Iran and Syria and add to its leverage for derailing any fence-building moves between the feuding Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah and perpetuate the division between the two Palestinian entities – one in Gaza and the other on the West Bank. This stronger alliance may also threaten the stability of Jordan, where already Hamas-Damascus controls the local Muslim Brotherhood branch.

The evolving partnership between Hamas and Iran and its negative impact on the prospect of an Israel-Palestinian peace may be the key determinant of the impasse between Israel and the Palestinians in recent weeks – not, as claimed in Washington and Jerusalem, the row which has sprung up over 1,300 new Israeli apartments in old-established East Jerusalem suburbs. (Source: DEBKAfile)

My related articles:

The Three-State Option could solve Gaza conflict”

Gaza War: Could Balkan history show way out?”

Will (East) Jerusalem be the End of Two-State Illusion?

Placebo effect for people and society with 20 bn bucks”


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