Smokescreen meant to cover open-backing of foreign Al Qaeda terrorists inside Syria, while panicking & disrupting Syrian unity.
Tony Cartalucci, Contributor
Predictably, the Western arranged confab in Doha, Qatar has seen the selection and approval by the US and its allies of a “new opposition coalition” to serve as the face of militants fighting inside Syria.
This was in response to overwhelming international condemnation to what has become an open proxy war fought against Syria by Western interests and its regional allies. It is a repeat of the now catastrophically failed NATO intervention in Libya that has left the nation mired in genocidal sectarian and tribal violence, a weak, ineffectual client-regime, and human rights abuses dwarfing in reality, the now confirmed fabrications used by NATO ahead of military operations early in 2011.
France and the Arab League have already reapplied their stamp of approval on the “new” coalition, following their support for the same political front they have attempted to prop up for the last nearly 2 years.
Beginning at least as early as 2007, the West and its allies, primarily the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, began quietly organizing, funding, and arming a regional front of sectarian extremists across the Arab World to be used against Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Exposed in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s “The Redirection,” published that same year in the New Yorker, it was revealed that many of these sectarian extremists were in fact affiliated directly with Al Qaeda.
The article stated specifically (emphasis added):
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
In essence, the West would be intentionally and knowingly funding the very adversaries Western troops had just spent the better part of a decade allegedly fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and upon lesser known battlefields in Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen, as part of the “War on Terror.”
From the very beginning of the so-called “Arab Spring,” armed elements were active in Syria actively seeking to widen what was the final execution of 2007’s plans to undermine and overthrow first Syria, then Lebanon and finally Iran. The so-called “Syrian National Council” (SNC), as well as street protests and online activism served as but a smokescreen for what was in reality an invasion of Syria by Western armed and backed foreign extremists sent to augment Muslim Brotherhood militants prevalent in the Dar’a, Idlib, and Dayr Al-Zawr regions of Syria – also coincidentally the “cradles” of the current so-called “revolution.”
The influx of foreign fighters spiked after NATO had finally succeeded in 2011 at overthrowing the government of Libya and placing into power militants from the eastern city of Benghazi. It was from Benghazi that an overwhelming proportion of Al Qaeda fighters had be sent to fight in Iraq during the US occupation. Like in Syria, the “cradle” for the so-called “Libyan revolution” was also coincidentally the epicenter for extremist activity. In Libya’s case, Benghazi served as the center for the the US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terror organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).
This was documented extensively in the West Point Combating Terrorism Center reports, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” and “Bombers, Bank Accounts and Bleedout: al-Qa’ida’s Road In and Out of Iraq.”
Both reports exposed Libya as a global epicenter for Al Qaeda training and recruitment, producing more fighters per capita than even Saudi Arabia, and producing more foreign fighters numerically than any other nation that sent militants to Iraq, except Saudi Arabia itself.
Image: Libya, despite its relatively small population, came in second overall, producing foreign fighters to wage sectarian war in Iraq. Libya exceeded all other nations per capita in producing foreign fighters, including Al Qaeda’s primary patrons, Saudi Arabia. These diagrams were produced by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, on pages 8 and 9 of its “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” report.
The reports specifically identify eastern Libya (Cyrenaica) as terrorist hotbeds, precisely where the so-called 2011 “pro-democracy revolution” also began, and where most of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s attention had been focused over the course of at least three decades, fighting militant extremists. The cities of Darnah, Tobruk, and Benghazi in particular fielded the vast majority of foreign fighters sent to Iraq and also served as the very epicenter for the 2011 violent, NATO-backed uprising.
Image: (Left) West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” indicates that the vast majority of Al Qaeda terrorists arriving in Iraq from Libya, originated from the country’s eastern region, and from the cities of Darnah and Benghazi in particular. (Right) A map indicating rebel held territory (red) during Libya’s 2011 conflict. The entire region near Benghazi, Darnah, and Tobruk served as the cradle for the so-called revolution. The US government is just now revealing the heavy Al Qaeda presence in the region, but clearly knew about it since at least as early as 2007, and as other reports indicate, decades before even that.
Clearly, the US military and the US government were both well aware of the heavy Al Qaeda presence in eastern Libya since as early as 2007. When violence flared up in 2011, it was clear to many geopolitical analysts that it was the result of Al Qaeda, not “pro-democracy protesters.” The US government, its allies, and a the Western press willfully lied to the public, misrepresented its case to the United Nations and intervened in Libya on behalf of international terrorists, overthrowing a sovereign government, and granting an entire nation as a base of operations for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).
A similar scenario is now playing out in Syria, where the West, despite acknowledging the existence of Al Qaeda in Benghazi, Libya, is using these militants, and the exact same networks used to send fighters to Iraq, to flood into and overrun Syria. This, after these very same Libyan militants were implicated in an attack that left a US ambassador dead on September 11, 2012.
Image: Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), addressing fellow terrorists in Syria. Harati is now commanding a Libyan brigade operating inside of Syria attempting to destroy the Syrian government and subjugate the Syrian population. Traditionally, this is known as “foreign invasion.”
LIFG terrorists are documented to be flooding into Syria from Libya. In November 2011, the Telegraph in their article, “Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group,” would report:
Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, “met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,” said a military official working with Mr Belhadj. “Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim Libyan president) sent him there.”
Another Telegraph article, “Libya’s new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels,” would admit
Syrian rebels held secret talks with Libya’s new authorities on Friday, aiming to secure weapons and money for their insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, The Daily Telegraph has learned.At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested “assistance” from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers.
“There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria,” said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see.”
Later that month, some 600 Libyan terrorists would be reported to have entered Syria to begin combat operations and have been flooding into the country ever since.
Image: (Left) West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” also indicated which areas in Syria Al Qaeda fighters filtering into Iraq came from. The overwhelming majority of them came from Dayr Al-Zawr in Syria’s southeast, Idlib in the north near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border. (Right) A map indicating the epicenters of violence in Syria indicate that the exact same hotbeds for Al Qaeda in 2007, now serve as the epicenters of so-called “pro-democracy fighters.”
In Syria, the southeastern region near Dayr Al-Zawr on the Iraqi-Syrian border, the northwestern region of Idlib near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border, produced the majority of fighters found crossing over into Iraq, according to the 2007 West Point study.
These regions now serve as the epicenter for a similar Libyan-style uprising, with fighters disingenuously portrayed as “pro-democracy” “freedom fighters.” These are also the locations receiving the majority of foreign fighters flowing in from other areas described in the 2007 report, mainly from Saudi Arabia via Jordan, and from Libya, either directly, through Turkey, or through Egypt and/or Jordan.
The CIA is confirmed to be operating in these areas, allegedly “to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups,” according to the New York Times in their article, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition.”
Image: The most prominent routes into Syria for foreign fighters is depicted, with the inset graph describing the most widely used routes by foreign fighters on their way to Iraq, as determined by West Point’s 2007 Combating Terrorism Center report “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” (page 20). These same networks are now being used, with the addition of a more prominent role for Turkey, to target Syria directly. (Click to enlarge)
Posturing and Threats meant to Weaken/Splinter Syria’s Unity.
Even as the West postures as if only now weapons will begin flowing to the “new opposition coalition,” militants in Syria have been receiving Western backing, funding, and arms through a variety of networks, years before the so-called “Arab Spring” had even begun, and certainly well before this current juncture in the conflict. However thus far, clearly to no avail.
The West, primarily the US, UK, and France, its NATO ally Turkey, and the Persian Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are intentionally assisting known terrorists in the overthrow of the sovereign, secular government of Syria – a repeat of the now clearly failed, and already backfiring NATO intervention in Libya. In fact, the exact same terrorists the US claims it is “hunting” in the deserts of Libya for having killed its ambassador, now stand poised in Syria to receive expanded political recognition and military support from the West after this latest round of window dressing in Doha, Qatar.
International support has waned significantly for the West and its narrative. The tepid support the West garnered for its military operations in Libya seem now a long-lost luxury.
The SNC itself is politically, tactically, socially, culturally, and above all ideologically disconnected with both the fighters in Syria, as well as any legitimate opposition that may exist. While the SNC consists of Syrians, many of the fighters in Syria are in fact foreign militants who hold an allegiance to Saudi Wahhabism, opposed by even many of the current Syrian government’s critics – critics who also denounce the SNC and their calls for foreign intervention.
In coordination with this political charade, Israel and Turkey have been pressing the borders of Syria. Turkey, led by the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has allowed its territory along the border with Syria to be used as a sanctuary and staging ground for foreign terrorists entering into and fighting against the government and people of Syria. Israel has recently been firing at Syrian forces conducting security operations against militants in the Golan Heights.
The two-pronged encroachment by Turkey and Israel is not the spontaneous response by both nations to an escalating conflict on the ground. Rather it was prescribed, verbatim, by corporate-financier funded policy think-tank, the Brookings Institution, in their report, “”Assessing Options for Regime Change” as a means of increasing psychological pressure on Syria.
The report states specifically:
In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.
The prospect of foreign military intervention, or NATO’s already depleted terrorist forces succeeding even with increased weapon shipments from the West, is still unlikely. As Brookings indicates, much of what is being done is aimed at psychologically undermining the stalwart defense thus far put up by the Syrian government and its people.
The “fear” of possible military intervention and/or the increase in terrorist capabilities is meant to splinter the Syrian population’s overwhelming support and unity against what is now clearly foreign aggression, not rebellion. Likewise, the seemingly unstoppable advance of Western aggression against Syria is meant to undermine the support of Syria’s allies.
Western aggression however has already reached its limits – and while it could embark upon a wider military confrontation with Syria, should both the Syrian people and Syria’s allies remain committed to the defense of the nation’s sovereignty, not only will this aggression fail, it will create momentum that will roll the West and its extraterritorial interests back significantly, if not entirely. Unity is still Syria’s only option.