CIA gun-running: Qatar-Libya-Syria.

A report from CNN’s Jake Tapper has reintroduced “Benghazi-Gate” to the US media spotlight. The report claims that “dozens” of CIA operatives were on the ground in Benghazi on the night of the attack, and the CIA is going to great lengths to suppress details of them and their whereabouts being released. The report alleges that the CIA is engaged in “unprecedented” attempts to stifle employee leaks, and “intimidation” to keep the secrets of Benghazi hidden, allegedly going as far as changing the names of CIA operatives and “dispersing” them around the country.

One suspects this has a single and defined purpose – to hide the CIA’s culpability in supplying arms to known extremists in Libya and Syria. Moreover, the CNN report alludes to the CIA supplying “surface-to-air missiles” from Benghazi to rebels in Syria, but this may only be the tip of the iceberg. The report goes on to state: (my emphasis)

Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret. CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency’s Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.

Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency’s missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency’s workings. The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress. It is being described as pure intimidation, with the threat that any unauthorized CIA employee who leaks information could face the end of his or her career.

Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.

Although Saudi Arabia have recently been kindly given “the Syrian card” by the United States – with Prince Bandar once again becoming “Prince of the Jihad”; it has become common knowledge that since the onset of the Syrian crisis, it was Qatar at the forefront of supplying arms and funds to both the political and militant elements of the so-called “opposition”. This has undoubtedly included tacit support of the dominant radical elements among the plethora of brigades on the ground in Syria; with Jabhat al Nusra being the most obvious beneficiary of Qatari largesse. Earlier this year it was reported that the CIA had been in direct “consultation” with the Qatari Monarchys’ network of arms smugglers – run primarily from the Emir’s palace in Doha. Accordingly, it seems certain that both the CIA and Qatari intelligence were involved in an operation to ship arms stockpiles from “rebels” in Libya; to the “rebels” in Syria: both varieties of which are inextricably linked to Al Qaeda affiliates and radical Salafi-Jihadi militants.

A New York Times report from 30th March 2011 reveals that the CIA had been active in Libya “for weeks”, to “gather information for [NATO] airstrikes, and to contact and ‘vet’ the rebels battling “Gaddafi’s forces”. The New York Times report also states that Obama had signed a presidential finding in the weeks previous, which gave authority to the CIA to arm and fund the rebels. Furthermore, the Independent revealed in March 2011 that Obama had requested Saudi Arabia supply arms to the Libyan militants. Obama had also given his blessing for Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to ship arms into Benghazi, urging them to supply non-US manufactured arms to avert suspicion – in violation of the No-Fly Zone and arms embargo he helped to enforce, and all in total violation of the US Constitution and International Law.

The current Libyan authorities have made little effort to disassociate themselves from reports of large-scale arms shipments bound for Syria, leaving from the port of Benghazi. As stated in a UN Security Council report; the sheer size, monetary and logistical requirement to organise such delivery would almost certainly require at least some local government knowledge and assistance, one Libyan congress-member has openly admitted as such. Moreover, in a Telegraph report from November 2011, it is noted that the post-Gaddafi Libyan military commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj – widely regarded as the former leader of Al Qaeda affiliate: the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and a lead figure in the militant uprising against Gaddafi – visited members of the Syrian opposition “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) in Turkey to discuss sending “money and weapons”, and also discussed “Libyan fighters to train troops”.

In a Fox News report from December 2012  an “International Cargo-Shipper” candidly revealed that arms shipments from Libya to Syria commenced “almost immediately after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi” (Oct 2011) and had continued on a weekly basis from multiple ports including Misrata and Benghazi. Some of the “sources” shipments were reported to be in excess of 600 tons. The report goes on to quote anonymous “sources” on the ground in Benghazi as alleging that: “Weapons and fighters were absolutely going to Syria, and the U.S. absolutely knew all about it – though most shipments have stopped since the attack on the American Consulate,”

Furthermore, an extensive UN report from the Security Council group of experts, from April 2013, also highlights the rife lawless proliferation of arms throughout Libya, and seeping beyond its borders. The report states that arms are fueling conflicts from Syria to Mali, and spreading from Libya at an “alarming rate”. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were singled out in the UN report for blatant violations of the arms embargo during the 2011 “uprising” against Gaddafi; the report revealed that multiple Qatari arms shipments had been allowed to flow into Libya with the full knowledge and acquiescence of NATO – in much the same way they have been allowed to flow into Turkey from Qatar, with Syria being the final destination.

Elements of the Libyan “military” leadership undoubtedly have strong links to former Al Qaeda affiliates, and were brought to power via Qatari largesse and special forces, CIA coordination, and a NATO airforce. Considering this, it is not hard to imagine the same actors would be willing to at least “turn a blind eye” to what has become an overt and unabated Libyan arms-smuggling route into Syria, as is once again demonstrated in this June 18th 2013 report from Reuters, titled: “The adventures of a Libyan weapons dealer in Syria:

Abdul Basit Haroun (former comander of “February 17th brigade”) says he is behind some of the biggest shipments of weapons from Libya to Syria, which he delivers on chartered flights to neighboring countries and then smuggles over the border….  A Reuters reporter was taken to an undisclosed location in Benghazi to see a container of weapons being prepared for delivery to Syria. It was stacked with boxes of ammunition, rocket launchers and various types of light and medium weapons.

Haroun says he can collect weapons from around the country and arrange for them to be delivered to the Syrian rebels because of his contacts in Libya and abroad. “They know we are sending guns to Syria,” Haroun said. “Everyone knows.” His weapon dealing activities appear to be well-known, at least in Libya’s east. Senior officials in Libya’s army and government told Reuters they backed supplying weapons to the Syrian opposition, while a member of Libya’s congress said Haroun was doing a great job of helping the Syrian rebels.

Furthermore, according to a recent New York Times report from June 29th 2013, Qatar have been carrying out arms shipments to “rebels” in Syria from Libya, since at least the same time they “stepped up efforts” to oust Colonel Gaddafi. Consequently, this can only be interpreted as Qatar commencing shipments of arms to Syria – from Benghazi – before Gaddafi had been killed, which means before October 2011.

It is highly plausible that Benghazi was indeed a CIA-run arms “buy-back” program – with the further “possible” intent of forwarding those arms to Syria. As the State Department has confirmed, it allocated $40 million dollars for the purchase and “collection” of arms used during the conflict in Libya, including a “missing” stockpile of up to 20,000 MANPADS – which at least 15,000 are still unaccounted for. A report written by former US special forces operatives who served in Libya titled “Benghazi: the definitive report”, alleges that the “consulate” and weapons stockpile program was entirely run by John Brennan – Obama’s National Security Advisor at the time and now Director of the CIA – and outside the usual CIA chain of command; with the sole purpose of “moving the stockpiled weapons to the another conflict – possibly Syria”. Furthermore, it should also be noted that several prominent US government figures (Clinton, Brennan, Patreaus, et al) were openly lobbying for that precise policy; this adds the possiblity that certain players within the government or the many factions of the Military Industrial Complex may have been acting outside of the Obama administrations specific consent – or building the logistics to fulfill such policy in the future. Thus, a possible explanation of the attack on the “consulate” – which we can now assume was a CIA operated arms cache – was the Obama administrations’ public reluctance to supply MANPADS or other specific heavy weaponry to the rebels fighting in Syria. Moreover, the authors of “Benghazi: the definitive report” claim that John Brennnan was targetting hardline Islamist militia in Libya via drone strikes and special operations, which may provide another pretext for the attack. Certain rebel factions, their regional donors, or their Libyan affiliates may have felt aggrieved and decided to act against the CIA and attempt to seize the weapons under their own volition.

The Libyan weapons route to Syria has quite possibly been ongoing since Qatari (and Western) special forces and their Libyan Al Qaeda affiliated proxies took a hold of Benghazi. In turn the shipments to Syria have gradually increased as Gaddafi’s stockpiles became available and the lawless possibilities inside Libya expanded. These developments could also explain fighters of Libyan origin representing a large percentage of foreign fighters within the oppositions ranks; with a recent study finding Libyan fighters making up over twenty percent of foreign fatalities in Syria. If Qatar were indeed coordinating arms shipments from Libya to Syria during the early stages of the Syrian crisis in 2011, and the CIA have also been “consulting” the Qatari shipments and their follow-on transit points through Turkey; then the simplistic mainstream narrative and timeline of the conflict in Syria merely erupting from the suppression of peaceful protesters, and in turn spiralling into full-blown civil-war, is again brought into doubt.

Uncovering the chain of events that led to the attack on the US “consulate”, and the variety of militia the US and its allies were arming in Libya; could in turn reveal the full extent of the Obama administrations’ support of extremist proxy-forces in Syria. Which may help to explain the administrations’ zealous attempts to stifle any debate or serious questioning of the events that surround Benghazi.

The CIA, Qatar, and the creation of Jabhat al Nusra.

A recent interview given by, yes, you guessed it: an ‘anonymous’ Qatari security official, has shed further light on CIA-led covert arms shipments to militants fighting in Syria. In this Reuters article, the security official and several ‘anonymous’ rebel Commanders confirm that Qatar has “tightened coordination of arms flows [plural] to Syria,” under alleged concern of weapons ending up in the hands of Al Qaeda linked Islamic extremist militants; the very militants as noted previously, that have continually formed the spearhead of the insurgency against the Syrian Government: (my emphasis)

“Rebel fighters in Syria say that in recent months the system for distributing arms has become more centralized, with arms being delivered through opposition National Coalition’s General Command, led by Selim Idriss, a general who defected to the opposition and is a favorite of Washington.”

What has been long confirmed by ‘official sources’ in the mainstream press, is that these arms shipments commenced in at least “early 2012”. We can be sure, as with the majority of the official timeline, that leeway has been given in these statements: its highly likely smaller arms shipments/smuggling into Syria started much earlier. Statements from eyewitnesses in Libya confirm that arms shipments from the port of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group stronghold Misrata, commenced rapidly after the fall of Gaddafi. Sibel Edmonds also reported in November 2011, long before any corporate media revealed, that the CIA, along with its Turkish and NATO counterparts had been working from the “nerve centre” at the joint US-Turkish air-base in Incerlik, Turkey, since April/May of 2011, coordinating ‘rebel’ elements and ‘activist’s’. Edmonds posits the likely theory that this was one of the initial staging grounds used by the CIA and its regional partners, to smuggle weapons, fighters and materiel into Syria as the insurgency took hold.

Enough of this background information, ‘official sources’ and timeline discrepancies gives the impression that the ‘news’ media is not releasing information when it receives it, and is holding back crucial pieces of the timeline, to fit into the desired narrative of “Assad forces killing peaceful protesters”.

What we learn from the Reuters report is that until Qatar (acting directly under CIA auspices) chose to “tighten” the coordination of their arms supplies into Syria, there was no coherent or structured way of the arms being distributed once they reached the Syrian border:

“The Qataris are now [May 2013] going through the Coalition for aid and humanitarian issues and for military issues they are going through the military command,” a commander in northern Syria interviewed from Beirut said.

This raises the immediate question: who were Qatar (under CIA auspices) distributing thousands of tonnes of arms to before April 2013?  The report goes on to state: (my emphasis)

“Before the Coalition was formed they were going through liaison offices and other military and civil formations. That was at the beginning. Now it is different – it is all going through the Coalition and the military command.”

There’s a lot of consultation with the CIA, and they help Qatar with buying and moving the weapons into Syria, but just as consultants,” he said. The CIA declined to comment.

At least a pinch of salt needs to be taken with this piece of misinformation. What exactly are “liaison offices, military and civil formations?” The ‘opposition’ has never had anything resembling a military formation. Regardless, this raises several important questions and draws several distinctions into the timeline of the Syrian conflict.

We have long known, the main supplier of arms to ‘rebels’ was and still is Qatar, acting directly under the CIA’s “consultation”. We also know that these arms shipments became a considerable amount in “early 2012” and continued to rise in both quantity and frequency. A New York Times investigation confirmed this to be the case, reporting that eighty-five military cargo planes flew from Qatar to Turkey carrying arms bound for Syria between January 2012 and March 2013. (the maximum load of an average military cargo plane is around 50-60 tonnes.)  What other synonymous distinctions in the conflict do we know about, that commenced and progressed from “early 2012”?

The clearest and most glaring dynamic that occurred along this timeframe, and also continued to rise and greatly increase, is both the death toll, and displacement within Syria. As covered extensively before, the monthly death toll in Syria almost doubled in “early 2012”, and continued to rapidly increase. All available resources and ‘activist’ or opposition groups death toll figures roughly confirm this, as can be seen in this graph compiled by Reuters:

BKO-BeRCIAAuaye.png large

One other critical factor is directly synonymous with both the arms flow increase, (under CIA/Qatari auspices) and the huge rise in death toll. That being: the success, proliferation and bolstering of Jabhat al Nusra and similar Salafi/Jihaddi militant groups. Jabhat al Nusra, or, as they are now known: the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham, (ISIS) were active in Syria under their ‘parent’ group the Islamic State of Iraq’s (Al Qaeda in Iraq – AQI) auspices for years prior to the Syrian uprising. Indeed, ever since the formation of AQI following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003; the eastern regions of Syria bordering the west of Iraq, and the notorious Anbar province have been a hotbed for Al Qaeda activity.

It is beyond doubt that Jabhat al Nusra and other Salafi/Jihaddi groups working alongside them have been the driving force of the armed insurgency. Throughout the majority of the armed conflict, it has been Jabhat al Nusra that has led insurgent attacks on key Syrian military installations; air-defense bases; coastal and major highway routes in attempts to block SAA supply lines; the vast majority of suicide attacks in civilian areas; and assassinations on key Government security officials. These extremist groups have become the best equipped, most organised, consistently well-funded and importantly, the most successful on the ground. While the US and its Gulf allies claim to have only armed, trained and supported ‘vetted’ and ‘moderate’ rebels, the reality inside Syria bears absolutely no resemblance to these claims.

We are now left with some theoretical options, first: the CIA will claim, as the US administration has been claiming, that they only ‘coordinated’ arms to, and supported moderate groups; how they found their way to extremists is beyond the CIA remit. Thus passing sole culpability to Qatar or the smugglers in Turkey that transported the arms into Syria. Again, the Qatari intelligence service can also claim plausible deniability, passing the buck to smugglers and rebels controlling the flow on the Turkish border. Do the ramifications of this policy, even if it were true, absolve the sheer recklessness of it? The evident destruction it has caused? And bolstering of extremists it has permitted?

Another probable outcome, or denial of association with these groups, will be that the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian Government, down to its alleged majority Alawhite leadership; made a conscious decision to instill sectarianism into the conflict in order to quell the protest movement. When one takes a close look at the Syrian Governments overtures toward the peaceful protest movement, and concessions the Assad government made during the early stages of protests, it is again, hard to see any reality to confirm it was Assad’s intention to divide Syria and start a full-scale sectarian war. Indeed, many concessions were made, including; mass political prisoner releases; a new constitution promising political plurality and maximum presidential terms; the dismissal of several regional governors and the complete dismissal of the Syrian Cabinet. These concessions do not bear the hallmark of a leader looking to marginalize his countries largest demographic. In which the Sunni population was, and still is heavily represented in both the Government and the army.

What is most probable, is that the CIA, along with its Qatari partners, knew full well of the ideologues they were arming and bolstering and chose to pursue this policy; simply because it was the most effective at weakening the Syrian Army and dividing the peaceful, multi-ethnic fabric of Syrian society. As stated above, it is Jabhat al Nusra leading the fight in Syria, it is they that have taken out Syria’s air defense bases, on many an occasion. What threat anti-aircraft missiles and defense radar’s pose to small, lightly armed insurgent groups is hard to fathom, suggesting these groups were acting on outside orders, or state supplied intelligence provided to them with the desired outcome of weakening Syria’s strategic defense capabilities.

For those that study the US governments unrelenting attempts of subversion and destabilization, this tactic of fomenting and supporting Islamic extremist militants will come as no surprise. It is not just Jabhat al Nusra’s (AQI) tactical capability and battle experience that has pushed them into the leadership role, without money, weapons, and indeed, psychological appeal to win recruits, experience means nothing.

These groups, supposedly of “Al Qaeda” origin, which represents a loose and malleable ideology, far more than a coherent functioning group of militants capable of international war; form the sectarian “shock troops” the US and their allies long ago agreed upon to foment and support in their attempts to block the “resistance” within the “Shiite crescent”. Qatar (under CIA “consultation”) has tacitly encouraged, sponsored and armed the very same groups that are prominent now: those of an extremist Salafi/Jihaddi ideology that espouse sectarian hatred against Shia and minority groups to promote division and social chaos. This supposedly happened directly under the CIA’s nose, with their tacit “consultation” and they failed to notice this extremist dynamic developing and rapidly expanding? Another possible added bonus for the US and its allies was recently pointed out by Lebanese political commentator Dr. Asad Abu Khalil who noted:

by listing Nusrah Front as a terrorist organization, the US government has basically licensed all other Syrian armed groups to engage in all sorts of war crimes.  So all an armed group has to do to get away with war crimes, is merely to fly the flag of Nusrah.  That is all what it takes.  So an armed group belonging to the Free Syrian Army umbrella, for example, can engage in a war crime, and then the next day issue a condemnation.  It is an unlimited license for war crimes.

A fully fledged and totally malleable proxy fighting force, promoting subversion, sectarian division, and outright chaos to gain the desired US objective of the destruction of the Syrian state, ergo: removing a key ally of Iran, and the resistance to western hegemony in the Middle East. When the extremism and brutality become too exposed to allow overt western support, the US designates them “terrorists”, and within a change of clothes, they become the falsehood that is the “FSA”.

Terrorism has spread in Syria and so has chaos. This is reality.

As the death toll in Syria continues to rise, the month of March 2013 was the Syrian war’s most deadly to date. With estimates of death tolls in the region of 6,000 people in one single month. The US, along with its regional allies in the Middle East is now undoubtedly coordinating and waging a multinational covert war against the Syrian government, its security apparatus and the civilian population caught in the crossfire. In a recent article I attempted to show a synonymous rise in casualty numbers and refugees fleeing Syria, with the parallel increase of US/GCC military operations on Syria’s borders, along with CIA coordinated illegal arms programs. Another parallel is that since the US/GCC have stepped up their military efforts against the Syrian govt, it has only been the more extremist Salafi dominated groups that have gained in recruitment, equipment, funding, and ultimately success on the ground. Whether these things are mutually exclusive remains to be seen or proven. How much exactly US/GCC efforts have affected the composition of the Syrian insurgency and groups fighting on the ground emerging from US coordinated “nerve centres” or ‘staging grounds’ also needs more investigation. Here I will try to provide some more, and continuing evidence to bolster what is, whilst highly unorthodox, becoming a popular theory: that the US and its Gulf allies are responsible for at least vastly exacerbating the conflict in Syria, at most engaging in a full on proxy war, once again in the name of ‘humanitarianism’.

As anyone who has followed the Syrian conflict knows, data of any verifiable nature has been more than difficult to come by, especially when analysing the conflict from afar. The graph below gives us an idea of the periodic increase of casualty since the Syrian conflict erupted in Daraa in March 2011…

Weekly_deaths_over_the_course_of_the_Syrian_civil_war

As we see above, overall casualty figures took a dramatic increase toward the end of 2011, early 2012. Almost doubling in week 45 and continuing to rise, taking a dip around March of 2012 and rapidly increasing again around June/July 2012. What do we know happened from a US/GCC perspective around this time? According to this NYT report, US officials state that the illegal CIA involvement in GCC arms programs to Syrian ‘rebels’ began on a “small-scale” around “early 2012”. Obviously it can only be coincidental that this illegal CIA/GCC arms program into Syria coincides exactly with the same period the death toll takes a dramatic increase. Or not so coincidental, as CIA/US military history tells us. Diplomatically speaking, the end of 2011 also saw Russia and China declare their intentions to veto any US led plans of a No Fly Zone over Syria. Scuppering any Libya-esque ideas of rapid regime change, via illegal NATO bombing campaign. (3,000 plus NATO bombing sorties as a “rebel” airforce in the name of humanitarianism, quickly followed by Gaddafi’s sodomy with a bayonet and assassination.) We also learn from extensive reports that the CIA’s involvement in the ‘nerve centre’ at Adana in Turkey also started around this time, in the above Reuters report it is claimed the US’ involvement in Adana began around June/July 2012, again, this directly correlates with a rise in death toll increase. Rebel operations took a massive upsurge in and around Aleppo and Turkish border towns in this period. Later still the US chose to push for “defensive” Patriot missile batteries to protect Turkey from mortar shells fired from Syria. How a Patriot battery is supposed to defend against random mortar shells I will never know. (The origin or type of shell that struck a house in a Turkish border town is still to be identified.) The last of which was successfully installed in February along the Turkish border. This US “nerve center” in Adana simply could not have popped up overnight, it sits right beside the huge joint US/Turkish airbase Incirlik. So to recap, we know the US’ plans for a NFZ were put down, early 2012, we know that US operations (including “early 2012” CIA arms program) on the Turkish border increased a great deal, in turn, Salafi/Jihaddi groups were starting to become ever more exposed and prominent. Crucially, we also know, that violence and the death toll in Syria increased dramatically at the same time. Mere “coincidences” one might argue.

This brings us to what the US, along with its Gulf allies and the UK and France, have been implementing on Syrias southern border with Jordan, in Russeifeh, close to the town of Mafraq. In turn we need to assess the immediate ramifications throughout the southern province of Daraa and along the Quneitra region, reaching to the Golan heights. Contrary to Leon Panettas claims of a small training force of 150 soldiers being sent to Jordan, in a report in October 2012 from the National Post we learn that “thousands” of US special forces are training supposed rebels. The report claims that “troops, including intelligence officers, are coming from France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as from the US and the United Kingdom.” Quotes from Jordanian and Western diplomats allege “more than 1500 elite US soldiers have been moving across Jordans border for several months now” and that “hundreds of French troops are doing their work in the Northern city of Mafraq, let alone the assistance from the Gulf”. The report goes on to state that International involvement in Jordan began in May of 2012 when 1200 Arab soldiers from Gulf states held a chemical weapons attack response simulation. In a recent report from RT on March 11th 2013 on rebels being trained in Jordan, it states in the past three months, some 200 men have already received military training that focuses on anti-tank weaponry. Again, in a report in todays Washington Post titled “US, Jordan Stepping up training of Syrian opposition” it spells out the military measures being taken by the US and its allies in full knowledge of who is making gains in Daraa: “Training begun last year has been expanded and accelerated after rebel gains in the south, including capture of a stretch of the Jordanian-Syrian border near the Golan Heights, two military outposts and the country’s main border crossing with Jordan. Jordanian security officials said a previous timetable to complete training of about 3,000 Free Syrian Army officers by the end of June has been moved up to the end of this month in light of the border victories.”  This “training base” which sits next to both a Jordanian airbase and refugee camp (exact set up as that in Adana, Turkey) in Russeifeh Jordan, has undoubtedly been used as another staging ground where US/GCC military and intelligence agencies are providing training and support to supposed rebels currently attacking Syrian government forces.

What are the immediate ramifications of opening up this staging ground and corresponding increase in rebel activity on the southern front? And which ‘opposition’ groups are gaining ground in the same regions? In the majority, its the same Salafi/Jihaddi ‘rebels’ that have been gaining ground across the rest of the country. A speech on the 23rd March by a Daraa lawmaker in Syrian parliament, which was broadcast live on Syrian TV, helps to give us an idea of what is happening in Daraa.  Walid al Zohbi told parliament: “Syria is no longer going through a crisis. It is plunged in total war. Terrorism has spread in Syria and so has chaos. This is reality, and all Syrians know it,” Zohbi goes on to warn: “This is also happening in all towns and villages in Daraa province, which is torn from east to west after the army withdrew from many positions,” Under pressure from fellow MP’s to stop, Zohbi refused to be silenced and continued to tell MP’s that the Jordan border crossing, and subsequent highway leading to Damascus is under the control of “armed groups”, this proves to be correct. After a 16 day siege Jahbat al Nusra had taken a major border crossing, several checkpoints and crucially the highway and military base Zohbi was alluding to. That location was air defense Base 38 near the town of Saida, on the road linking Damascus to Amman. A key supply route if rebels are to make any inroads toward Damascus from Jordan.

These “armed groups” that are currently overrunning checkpoints and bases in Daraa are primarily Jahbat al Nusra and the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, the former being a US designated terrorist group and the latter, whilst being under investigation for the extra judicial killing of SAA soldiers decided to kidnap 20 UN peacekeepers from the Golan heights.  Democratic grassroots revolutionaries? Or extremist shock troops? Unless these groups, whose main source of funding, arms and prominence is still somewhat an unsolved mystery, have extremely proficient intelligence, it seems impossible for them to pre-empt US/GCC operations in the same region. This suggests that at least to some extent, members of rebel battalions and groups in Daraa are acting in collusion/coordination with those being trained and supplied from the multinational HQ just across the border in Mafraq. Sporadic battles have broken out in towns all across the Daraa province, resulting in large gains of territory and rebels taking the key town of Dael. This long battle was  orchestrated by the Dawn of Islam Brigade. In this NYT report The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is quoted as saying that Dael was a specific rebel target due to its strategic position on the highway to Damascus from Jordan, and that weapons were funnelled for this battle from Jordan (Mafraq multinational HQ) to Dael.

Despite the obvious bolstering becoming apparent of what are determined extremist groups in first the North, and increasingly Eastern regions of Syria. As the militarism, fighting and violence spreads. The southern regions of Syria and Daraa are evolving in much the same fashion. Not that it appears to deter the US and Jordans attempts to “expand” and “accelerate” military training and enablement of such ideologues as Abu Molem :

“Whether we fight under the banner of Jabhat al-Nusra or the Free Syrian Army, we are all defending our families in the name of God,” said Abu Momen, who crossed the border last week along with the nightly influx of about 2,000 people. The 22-year-old said he was a fighter with the Jabhat al-Nusra group, which the Obama administration has said is a wholly owned subsidiary of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

“No buffer zone can stop our jihad in Syria,” Abu Momen said.

The CIA continues to collude with radical Islam.

Following a recent “revelation” in the New York Times,  corporation media has finally started to reveal what has been foretold by most with an ounce of honesty and historical knowledge of CIA and Gulf state covert activity in the middle east. That fact is that the CIA, together with intelligence agencies from Gulf autocracies such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, aswell as no doubt many a wealthy donor from the U.A.E. With tacit cooperation and involvement from Turkish and highly likely, UK and French secret services have been directly coordinating, funding, and shipping huge amounts of arms, which are then funneled illegally through Jordanian and Turkish border regions to self ascribed ‘rebels’ in Syria.

US ‘anonymous officials’ have stated that US intelligence officers “helped Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia”. A procurement originally uncovered by blogger Brown Moses and released via the NYT. The NYT article also states that US intelligence officers apparently “vetted” rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons. One thing the report skirts briefly is that US officials state the arms procurement operation has been ongoing since “early 2012”. Two prominent issue arises from this admission, and the fact this report states the Croatian operation, believed to have started in Oct/Nov 2012 was an “increase” in an arms smuggling program that began in at least “early 2012”.

The first issue is what directly correlates with this CIA arms program, and that is a synonymous increase in both civilian casualty and refugee numbers, particularly in the regions that have served as staging grounds for rebel insurgents to enter Syria. The second issue, and what is the most obvious sign of the repeat failure to implement this destructive, age-old strategy with any nuance of responsibility, is who exactly has received the lions share of the weapons? And which groups have been bolstered since the arms program commenced?

Since 2012 numbers of refugees crossing the borders of Turkey and Jordan have increased dramatically, as have casualty numbers in both populated border regions and towns, intense fighting has become a staple of supply routes funneling from Turkey and Jordan into Syria, resulting in mass exodus in regions and the levelling of entire residential blocks in towns and cities close to the borders. One overarching tactic is promoting this outcome, and that is rebel groups using border towns and villages close to CIA/GCC/Turkish “nerve centers” that enable rebels to stage attacks, resupply and receive medical treatment, as staging grounds to attack Syrian government forces. In turn the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) retaliate, often with disproportionate force and have often targeted residential areas, the government claims it is only targeting “terrorists”, but the evidence clearly suggests that the SAA’s targeting isn’t as precise as it claims to be. One must also seriously question the objectives of western-advised rebel forces, that continually set up camp in residential areas, and also continue to attack them.

The second prominent issue of what is now by the US’ own admission at least a 15 month CIA arms program into Syria, is exactly which groups of ‘rebels’ have directly benefitted from these weapons, contrary to State department rhetoric on “non-lethal” aid to “moderate” rebels, the huge rise in Salafi ideologues within the ranks of the militants can no longer be subverted or ignored, this also came to prominence toward the end of 2011. Are these things linked? One theory and obvious advantage to groups becoming or adopting Salafist ideology or branding is to appeal to hardcore Gulf donors. This tactic appears to have paid off, and whether the Syrian protesters yearning for democracy and self-determination who took up arms in early 2011 were intending on allying with Salafist extremists or not, that is certainly the case today, and the Salafist ideology is the one winning the recruitment battle. Mutual cooperation of supposed “moderate” rebel groups with hardcore Salafist battalions in several highly visible and key operations such as Taftanaz and the recent taking of Raqqah show “moderate” forces have no qualms fighting alongside extremistss. Indeed, when the western backed leader of the opposition states “we are all Jahbat al Nusra”, confusion may be excused as to what exactly the “opposition” represents. A secular democracy does not seem high on the agenda.

We learn in Aron Lund’s essay titled “The Rise of the Syrian Islamic Front” in which he documents the main Salafist battalions currently operating in Syria, that in early 2013 eleven Salafist battalions have now formed under the SIF as an umbrella group, Jabhat al Nusra was invited to the party, but declined to join the coalition presumably on the basis of its strict recruitment policies and intolerance of “moderation”. With numbers of fighters estimating in the region of 30,000 fighting for various Salafi dominated rebel groups throughout Syria, Ahrar al Sham and the SIF present a formidable fundamentalist militia.  Ahrar al Sham, is thought to dominate the leadership of the SIF, which for all intents and purposes looks like a Gulf attempt at a front for the Salafi dominated groups to appeal to precious Western benefactors fearful of public reaction to State support for what are supposedly “enemies” of the “civilised world”.

This brings us back to the CIA/Gulf weapons, which have not only been seen in several of the groups fighting under the banner of the SIF hands, but also in the hands of US designated terrorist group Jahbat al Nusra. These “coincidences” and the identical footprint of UK/US led strategy of using Gulf funded Salafi/Wahhabi inspired militants in the middle east for 60 years tells us the CIA is tacitly arming, funding and coordinating with Gulf fomented and sponsored extremists all over again. And much to the detriment of the Syrian people. The US, under its self-serving strategic objectives is wilfully arming and funding the very same ideologues it claims to be fighting in the never-ending “war on terror”. Recently on the Iraqi Syrian border, when a convoy of Iraqi army vehicles escorting 48 Syrian soldiers back into Syria was ambushed and all aboard (including Iraqi army escorts) were killed the US State department felt obliged to call it a terrorist attack. This attack was undertaken by the group “The Islamic State of Iraq”, which has direct links to Al Qaeda in Iraq, of which Jabhat al Nusra is an offshoot, who just happen to cooperate with Ahrar al Sham inside Syria. The links between Salafi groups the CIA/GCC are supporting and groups the US itself deems terrorists are once again obvious. The blatant hypocrisy and moral expediency being displayed here is a continuation of western policy in the middle east for the last 60 years. Namely, using Gulf sponsorship and propagation of extremist ideology as a tool to foment radical opposition to enemy govts and in turn undermine and subvert, ideally remove regimes or governments out of the wests (and therefore the GCC’s) sphere of influence.

So, we can now safely assume that western intelligence agencies are once again allowing their Gulf client states to arm Salafist inspired militants to wage war to meet their strategic goals, either that or the CIA “vetting program” was a complete 100% failure, (which hasn’t been rectified or altered in a year, only increased). The type of militants both the KSA and Qatar have been proven to fund and sponsor, and the inevitable power these groups will demand in any post-Assad Syria, along with the intolerant and often extremist policies and ideologies promoted in their respective states do not bode well for the people of Syria.