ISIS: An expression of imperialism in Iraq.

While recent developments in Iraq are being portrayed as spontaneous “spillover” from the imperialist war on Syria – still commonly referred to as an uprising, or “revolution” – they are in fact nothing of the sort and in reality represent a culmination of years of covert planning and premeditated imperial policy.

Yet before we come to any concrete conclusions on the renewed insurgency and its wider ramifications, it is first important to concretely demarcate the political actors involved, their aims and objectives, their fleeting alliances and contradictions, and in turn their concrete historical moments of unity. After all, it is not as if we are fooling ourselves with the theories of “headless capitalism” here.

On the contrary. The national classes making conscious decisions and building years of conscious planning to uphold, maintain, and increase their dominant social condition do not act in solely abstract manner under the whims of theoretical “market forces”, bumbling their way into wars of aggression in resource-rich areas; they act consciously, definitively, yet also opportunistically, using all means available – primarily violence and reaction. In turn building decades of objective history and current realities that we can, and must, learn from. It is therefore vital that we first acknowledge and incorporate the concrete history of these competing classes, their actions and aims, into the current objective situation. Then, and only then, can we start to address the many contradictions and interconnections  between these classes and come to the correct conclusion with regard to those aims, actions and culpability, within the Iraq equation.

To achieve sound conclusions, we must first eliminate the white supremacist ideology that permeates the majority of western political commentary [1]: the idea that the western empire, led by the United States, is an inherently altruistic force, begrudgingly acting as global arbiter for the good of all mankind. Simple history proves this twisted ideology to be nothing other than a (white) bourgeois invention. Monopoly capitalism – imperialism – is the never-ending search for profit and domination at the expense of competing productive forces; the fundamental contradiction of capitalism at its highest stage. For imperialism to survive and expand, it must consciously subsume, devour, and dominate all the productive forces in competition with it.

As Lenin said, “the supplanting of free competition by monopoly is the fundamental economic feature, the quintessence of imperialism.” [2] Translated to the modern era, this means that fascism forms the vital expression of the desperately decaying (ie: the moribund, parasitic capitalist, the imperialist) capitalist class; the class that uses extreme violence, reaction and demagogy as replacement for its gradual yet fluctuating loss of strictly economic ability to bribe, extort, extract and control resources, to monopolise markets for profit “peacefully”; to avert the inherent contradiction within its ever-diminishing – yet still superior – social condition. In this regard, we can and must view the United States as the ultimate fascist state from the international perspective, the historic examples of extreme American violence and demagogy employed by the American capitalist class in the conscious aim of upholding superior economic position on the world stage are long and plentiful, and should not need repeating.

When viewed in this historically concrete way, perceptions and the concepts formed regarding US imperial objectives – in Iraq or elsewhere – immediately begin to transform and detach themselves from the false ideological structures avowed to furnish western capitalism its unwarranted moral platform, endlessly recycled in all avenues of western culture. The harsh reality that “political reaction all along the line is a characteristic feature of imperialism” [2] becomes most evident.

Once this historically concrete concept of US imperialism is applied, it becomes necessary to further analyse the various capitalist classes and states that are both in competition with US imperialism and those that are temporarily united, or more specifically, dominated by it. As there is no unity without contradiction, it would be folly to believe that any state or class currently or previously allied to the dominant imperialist class is a permanent static feature, or that contradictions may not exist even during long periods of perceived unity.

In this context, the alliance of states currently allied under US imperialism in its attack on Iraq are primarily its long-held and loyal clients, those of the Gulf Cooperation Council, led by Saudi Arabia, alongside Israel, Turkey, and western Europe, this alliance will be referred to as the NATO/GCC axis. It is by no means a permanent static alliance, and has historically found many contradictions along the road to its temporary current unity on Iraq, but the fundamental feature of this alliance is the American imperialist class holding it together, dominating it, and dividing it for its own benefit.

The opposing force of this contradiction is the Iraqi state, or more broadly speaking, Iraq and its regional allies, namely: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and a subdued yet resurgent Russia acting in a minimally supportive role, this alliance will be referred to as the Resistance axis. As with the imperialist alliance, there are many historical contradictions within that of the Resistance, but it is imperialism itself that produces its current fundamental aspect: in that its social condition and temporary unity is predicated on the necessity of its battle against imperialist predation. Any sound historical analysis of the economic stature, features, and all other aspects leading from the economic particularities of this alliance shows that it cannot be classed as imperialist, and is therefore the oppressed party in the equation when correctly conceived from the totality of the international perspective.

Analysing the political actors involved in crises, processes and conflict in their international totality using such concrete dialectical methods is a fundamental starting point if we are to reach sound conclusions on any of todays antagonisms.

From this starting point, we must then address the specific aims of the NATO/GCC axis as opposed to those of the Resistance axis. On the one hand, the imperialists and their allies (clients) are consciously employing militarism – the “vital expression” of capitalism – upon Iraq, Syria, Iran, and all other “lesser” nations in the inevitable quest for domination to expand their superiority and avert their imperial decay – this is the quintessential feature of predatory imperialism. On the other hand, as a consequence, the far weaker, yet competing productive forces of the Resistance axis are forced to defend their social condition from the threat of imperialist annihilation.

Now that the political forces are correctly conceived and the relationship between the opposing aspects of the contradiction is apparent, we must address the perceptions being promulgated to form false concepts that obscure and even work to reverse this objective balance of forces. One such critical false concept, that of an empire as impartial benevolent peace broker between the antagonism of a “Sunni and Shia” divide – peddled endlessly by western media, commentariat and culture – has three distinct purposes in its current usage: firstly, to detach imperialist (NATO/GCC axis) culpability for the insurgency and its inevitably reactionary sociopolitical ramifications; secondly, to further incite the Iraqi Sunni population by portraying the Shia-dominated Maliki government and its ally Iran as cozying-up to imperialism against percieved Sunni foes; thirdly, and subsquently, this helps to conflate the insurgency as a natural expression of legitimate Sunni discontent, affording false equivalence and a moralistic smokescreen, therefore removing culpablity from the NATO/GCC axis and placing it at the door of the “sectarian policies” of the Maliki government, supported by Shia Iran. This false concept enables the NATO/GCC axis to exert the required pressure to achieve its goal of partition and the subsequent domination of the Iraqi state, while upholding the crucial image of impartiality.

Yet contrary to all such critical imperialist false concepts, a correct analysis reveals the antagonism within Iraq is in fact entirely political and a result of the principal aspect of the contradiction: the age-old imperial policy of fomenting and excacerbating sectarian and ethnic antipathy to divide, destroy, and dominate the productive forces – a policy employed with varied, yet invariably brutal and reactionary results in Iraq since the US invasion of 2003. The political actors that have implemented this deepening of the sectarian divide since the occupation departed with its tail between its legs are the clients of the United States, primarily Saudi Arabia, and it is this dominant aspect of the contradiction that drives the antagonism in Iraq. To conclude: “the principal aspect is the one playing the leading role in the contradiction. The nature of a thing is determined mainly by the principal aspect of a contradiction, the aspect which has gained the dominant position.” [3]

The forces allied to, and aiding the ISIS insurgency further expose this concrete reality. The Naqshbandi militia, the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries (MICR), the former Ba’athists, Sunni politicans and defecting Iraqi army officers are largely the proxies and stooges of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, ergo: the NATO/GCC axis. The Kurdish regional government – now calling for de facto partition in the anticipation of gaining the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, and making deals with the very actors tied to the ISIS insurgency – is also in alliance with NATO-member Turkey and Israel, ergo: the NATO/GCC axis. The actors responsible for the historic rise of ISIS et al in neighbouring Syria are of course the NATO/GCC alliance, as has been thoroughly documented [4,5,] and objectively proven regardless of the propaganda and misinformation [6,7,] that aims to depict otherwise.

These actors primarily responsible for the fall of Mosul and the anticipated partition of Iraq are the de facto regional clients of dominant imperialism – ISIS are merely the shock-troop proxies that implement such policy, creating “facts on the ground” when diplomacy and old-fashioned economic coercion no longer suffice. To deny this rational knowledge is to deny concrete analysis, deny historical materialism, the totality of imperialism, to suggest it does not exist beyond the abstract, and that there are no classes employing all means available to uphold it.

In addition, the narrative of the spontaneous rise of ISIS, and its apparent takeover of the western and northern regions of Iraq is a fantastically ahistorical concept built from years of media misinformation and propaganda. ISIS, its former incarnations and confrère across the region – particularly those of the last three years operating in Libya and Syria – are most definitely not abstract spontaneous expressions of Sunni discontent or a “Sunni-Shia divide”; nor the Iraqi governments mismanagement and corruption; nor the alleged “sectarian policies” or the threat of Iranian “Shia expansion”. While there may well be minimal truth within such malformed and distorted perceptions promulgated by the lackeys of imperialism, they are secondary to the fundamental reality that ISIS et al are the organised, concrete manifestation of western imperial policy and its reactionary clients who implement it; they represent nothing more than the corollary of the extremist-dominated Syrian insurgency, in turn nothing more than a tool of imperial machinations. They are mercenaries, private military contractors, intelligence operatives, thrill-seekers and deluded zealots, hoodwinking the desperate and vulnerable subjects of social immiseration; a paramilitary force that is by no means autogenous and whose social condition is reliant upon the imperial class that has engineered and now sustains it.

Sensational tales of bank robberies and extortion rackets that span entire cities represent crass exaggerations and propaganda built to extricate the imperial sponsors of reaction in Iraq. To posit the absurd theory that a “rag-tag militia” has built an illegal cross-country organisation capable of producing billions in revenue from Syria’s dilapidated and war-ridden oil industry is a fantastical sophism detached from reality. In similar vein, we must also ask how exactly this “rag-tag militia” has not only successfully sustained itself during a war, but has superseded the imaginary “moderates” that have received billions of dollars, thousands of tons of arms and logistical support from the NATO/GCC axis – while fighting right alongside them. Are we supposed to believe that the allies (clients) of US imperialism are openly funding and arming such reactionaries against the will of their imperial sponsor, and that it is impotent to stop them? Can anyone but an utter simpleton, charlatan, or partisan hack posit such an apolitical reductionist absurdity?

The argument against this analysis of ISIS and its allies in the insurgency will inevitably be made that it is somehow “denying the agency” of Iraqis – in this case ISIS – exposing an “inverse Orientalism”, and this argument will grow as the insurgency is increasingly conflated and transformed into a “Sunni revolution” akin to its predecessor in Syria. But we have addressed this fallacy before [8] when the opportunists attempted to use it to whitewash their support for the imperialist contras in Syria, we should not need do it again.

The ISIS-led insurgency currently gripping the western and northern regions of Iraq is but a continuation of the imperialist-sponsored insurgency in neighboring Syria. The state actors responsible for arming and funding said insurgency hold the same principal objectives in Iraq as those pursued in Syria for the last three years, namely: the destruction of state sovereignty; weakening the allies of an independent Iran; the permanent division of Iraq and Syria along sectarian lines establishing antagonistic “mini-states” incapable of forming a unified front against US/Israeli imperial domination.



1. White Blindness and Smiley Faces – John Steppling:

2. Imperialism and the Split in Socialism – V.I. Lenin:

3. On Contradiction – Mao Tse-tung:

4. The Reactionary essence of the Syrian insurgency:

5. The Army of Islam: Saudi Arabia’s finest export:

6. Syria Analysts. impartial? Not likely:

7. Brown Moses and “new media”; same as the old media:

8. Western left-opportunism and “denying agency” in Syria:

9. Arabs, Beware the “Small States Option”. – Sharmine Narwani:

10. ISIS in Iraq – Patrick Higgins:

11. A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties – Oded Yinon:

12. The Redirection – Seymour Hersh:

13. America’s Covert Re-invasion of Iraq – Tony Cartalucci:

14. Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East” Mahdi Darius Nazemroya:

15. A Clean Break: A Strategy for Securing the Realm – The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies:








Syria: Qatar’s policy is hand in glove with the United States.

A recent report in the New York Times (NYT) claims, through trusted “sources”, that Qatar began weapons shipments to opposition militants in Syria at the same time they “increased” support for Al Qaeda-linked militants fighting Colonel Gaddafi in Libya in 2011. Gaddafi was ousted (murdered) in October 2011; one must assume that any “increase” in Qatari efforts to arm the militants in Libya were delivered long in advance of Gaddafi’s ouster, meaning the synonymous shipments to “rebels” in Syria also commenced well before October 2011.

This information again sheds further light on a timeline of events in Syria that have been purposefully obscured within mainstream media to suit certain actors agendas, and to enable the false and misleading narrative of “Assad killing peaceful protesters” to become dominant in the discourse surrounding the Syrian conflict. As was revealed earlier this year – known by many for much longer – it has been Qatar at the forefront of efforts to arm and fund the insurgency in Syria. As the resilience of the Assad government and the Syrian Army prolonged the conflict far beyond the timeframe the backers of the insurgency foresaw, more and more evidence has become available as to the exact nature of this US-led proxy-war, and the ideologies of the militants fighting it. In turn, timelines have constantly been altered, misinformed and manipulated to suit the desired narratives of actors who claim to be on the side of “freedom and democracy”.

In sum, previous to the aforementioned NYT article, there had been no reports – in mainstream press at least – of any arms shipments or covert state activity against Syria before “early 2012”. Now that timeline has once again been revised, to at least the same time of an “increase” of Qatari covert policy in Libya, which would have necessarily come before the fall of Gaddafi in October 2011.

The latest revelation in the NYT seems to be an intentional leak, designed to pass responsibility for the extremist dominated insurgency currently destroying Syria, onto Qatar’s doorstep. Considering the timing of this report, and several others in recent mainstream media that have pointed the finger at Qatar being the main sponsor of the Syrian insurgency, it also begs the question: was there more to the Qatari Emir’s, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (and his trusted and longtime Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani’s) recent departure and handover of power to his son Tamim than meets the eye? A slap on the wrist from the US for Qatar’s reckless foreign policy maybe? Who knows, it seems most knowledgable Middle East analysts  really have no clue as to why the Emir chose to suddenly step down and relinquish power. If there is one message coming from this unprecedented handover in the Western press it is this: “what goes on in Qatar, stays in Qatar”.

The NYT cites a “Western diplomat” (anonymous of course) who states that Qatar: “punch immensely above their weight,… They keep everyone off-balance by not being in anyone’s pocket… Their influence comes partly from being unpredictable,” Again, this seems to be a desired caveat to remove culpability from Western actors, and is highly likely the same “source” that provided the leak on Qatar’s covert actions.

What is counterintuitive to the theory that Qatar acts of its own accord in such instance is the fact that Qatar’s military and intelligence apparatus is entirely built and run by the United States. Qatar and the US have held an intimate relationship on all things military since the early 90’s. Qatar is also the Forward Operations center of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), and the US Combined Air Operation Center (CAOC).  The US enjoys the luxury of the use of three airbases in the tiny nation of Qatar, one of which (Al Udeid) is the prime location of Qatari arms flights to Syria. Considering this close military relationship it would be foolish to believe the United States is unaware of Qatari covert activity, particularly when one also considers the broad and global spying and SIGINT powers we now all know the Pentagon, and US government have at their disposal. It should also be noted that Doha acts as a primary base in the region for US diplomacy, as the Taliban can happily attest to.

Furthermore – as covered extensively in a previous article – once Gulf covert arms shipments to Syrian “rebels” became public knowledge, the Obama administration made distinct efforts in the media to portray the CIA as the key “coordinator” and oversight of the shipments to allay concerns of weapons ending up in the “wrong hands”. The US, through the CIA has been using its logistic, diplomatic, and military power to bypass international laws and help to organise a multi-national covert arms supply chain to “rebels” in Syria. Furthermore, in a recent interview for The National Interest given by renowned former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski – a declared advocate of the US policy of arming Osama Bin-Laden and fellow ideologues in the Afghan-Soviet war of the 80’s – went as far as to openly admit the joint US-Saudi-Qatari policy of orchestrating the Syrian crisis, but refrained from revealing an explicit timeline: (my emphasis)

In late 2011 there are outbreaks in Syria produced by a drought and abetted by two well-known autocracies in the Middle East: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He [Obama] all of a sudden announces that Assad has to go—without, apparently, any real preparation for making that happen. Then in the spring of 2012, the election year here, the CIA under General Petraeus, according to The New York Times of March 24th of this year, a very revealing article, mounts a large-scale effort to assist the Qataris and the Saudis and link them somehow with the Turks in that effort. Was this a strategic position?

Yet contrary to this long-revealed policy, the NYT claims: “The United States has little leverage over Qatar on the Syria issue because it needs the Qataris’ help on other fronts.” For the NYT to claim the US has no control of arms shipments from a key ally is disingenuous at best, outright propaganda at worst. Moreover, the CIA has been in direct “consultation” with Qatar on arms shipments, and who exactly those arms should be sent to, (vetted “moderates” of course!!) as Qatari officials stated in this Reuters article from May this year: (my emphasis)

“There’s an operations room in the Emir’s diwan (office complex), with representatives from every ministry sitting in that room, deciding how much money to allocate for Syria’s aid,” the Qatari official said. 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,”

Are we seriously supposed to believe that Qatar, a tiny resource-rich nation that is totally dependent on US militarism and diplomatic protection is acting of its own accord, without any US assistance, right under the US military’s nose? The NYT report goes on to state: (my emphasis)

Qatar’s covert efforts to back the Syrian rebels began at the same time that it was increasing its support for opposition fighters in Libya trying to overthrow the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi...The Obama administration quietly blessed the shipments to Libya of machine guns, automatic rifles, mortars and ammunition, but American officials later grew concerned as evidence grew that Qatar was giving the weapons to Islamic militants there.”

The Obama administration was fully aware of who Qatar were arming, and sending special forces to fight alongside in Libya. It was exactly the same variety of militants and extremist ideologues that are currently waging war upon the Syrian State. Islamic radicals had used Benghazi as a base since the very start of the Libyan “revolution”, and the US knew they formed the core of the militia Qatar were shipping arms to in efforts to oust Gaddafi. The Obama administration’s concern of MANPADS falling into the “wrong hands” (a la Afghanistan) is belied by Obama’s tacit approval of his Gulf allies’ policy of allowing tonnes of arms, explosives and military materiel to reach extremist dominated militia. A few MANPADS simply increases the likelihood of blowback upon a civilian target, and the consequent exposure – which is the Obama administration’s major concern. As the NYT report states, one of the shipments of MANPADS that has entered Syria came from the very same former Gaddafi stockpiles of Eastern bloc weapons looted by Qatari-backed militants in Libya.

In summary, the current media leaks on arms shipments to Syria can be construed as the Obama administration attempting to build plausible deniability. The constant revision of the Syrian timeline also points to the retroactive smoke-screen being applied to US-led covert policies that have already been exposed. Indeed, this tactic of using client states to gain deniability of US aggression is nothing new, such policy has provided the United States with the ultimate get-out-clause through decades of subversion and aggression upon sovereign nations.

If – as is the current trajectory in Syria – the militants that the United States and its clients foment, fund and arm, become an uncontrollable monster and fail to achieve the desired short-term objectives, the US can simply disassociate and point the finger to one of its lesser allies, on this occasion, that finger seems to point directly at the former Emir of Qatar.

One wonders if in twenty years time US “diplomats” will portray the same vacant regret for their role in the creation of Jabhat al Nusra and fellow ideologues; as they do now for their role in the creation of Al Qaeda itself. As the United States continues its divisive and destructive policies to desperately cling to imperialist hegemony in the Middle East the mantra of “lessons have been learned” becomes more hollow than ever.

Ahmed Al-Assir, the pawn in Lebanon.

This weeks conflagration near Sidon, a majority Sunni city in the South of Lebanon has been on the cards for some time. Sheikh Al Assir, the instigator of the street battle’s with the Lebanese Armed Forces, (LAF) has been on a concerted campaign to incite sectarian strife and division between the Sunni and Shi’a sects in Lebanon, with one major goal: to draw Hezbollah into a sectarian-based conflict.

Many commentators on Lebanon have pointed out that contrary to his overt actions and rhetoric, Al-Assir does not enjoy a wide following or support base in Lebanon, he is effectively a pawn that is being fomented and most likely funded by outside actors. These actors share the common goal of removing or weakening Hezbollah, a goal that is also synonymous with certain global actors’ desires and covert policies in the region – primarily France, UK, US, GCC, Israel and Turkey – the results of which have been ongoing in Syria for the best part of two years.

The street battles that occurred in Saida were undoubtedly planned in advance. There have been several attempts in the last few weeks by Al-Assir and his armed Salafi followers to deploy in the streets of Saida, this can be seen as a test of reactions and capabilities to withstand an armed uprising of sorts, a reaction from both the Lebanese Army, and from Hezbollah. In public speeches and rallies, Al-Assir and his followers have been actively attempting to incite a reaction from Hezbollah, who to the time of writing have refrained from openly hostile retaliation against Al-Assir. In Nassrallah’s latest speeches, he specifically called upon his followers and the people of Lebanon to refrain from sectarian language, in efforts to curb the growing resentment of incitement against the party and its majority Shi’a supporters.

The usual suspects: Western corporate journalists and think-tankers alike, immediately jumped at the opportunity when the fighting occurred to spout totally baseless claims such as: “hundreds of Hezbollah fighters attacking Al-Assirs mosque” and “Hezbollah ‘leading the battle'”. Again such stenographers and “analysts” relay false declarations with no evidence to hand, and no possible way of verifying them. Their claims have since (two days later) been thoroughly debunked, and it appears Hezbollah played no major role in the fighting in Sidon. Both the LAF and several leading Lebanese political figures – including those hostile to Hezbollah – have denied any Hezbollah involvement. There are many reasons (that even the occasional observer could point out in almost real-time) to refute these dubious claims. If Hezbollah’s own media outlets are not privy to their military objectives, why would Hezbollah fighters, or “sources” relay military maneuvers to reporters that work for outlets that are hostile toward them?

Sheikh Al-Assir has made his name in Lebanon through being directly and openly hostile to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. This direct and public targeting is what sets him apart from other Salafi clerics in Lebanon. There is undoubtedly a rising current of such ideologues that have been bolstered in recent years in several areas of Lebanon, and this proliferation can be explained by a myriad of factors, but the militant aspect, and specific sectarian and anti-Shi’a/anti-Hezbollah rhetoric, can be explained primarily due to outside actors such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar trying to assert dominance over political bodies that are tied to Iran’s sphere of influence, as opposed to their own.

It is no coincidence the Syrian insurgency, aka “revolution”, was fomented and is still backed primarily by the same actors that support radical clerics in Lebanon. The proliferation of such ideologues inciting sectarian hatred and division – in order to create chaos, strife and destabilization to marginalize the targets of their paymasters – is synonymous because it is part of an overriding Saudi-led GCC policy in the Levant. Needless to say, this policy is fully backed by the United States and the western nations in their “special relationship” with the Gulf autocrats of Saudi Arabia, and new kid on the block Qatar.

This joint “Redirection” policy and its desired outcome upon Hezbollah and Lebanon are specifically cited by anonymous US intelligence officials in Seymour Hersh’s oft-referenced piece from 2007, the results of which can be seen on the streets of Sidon today: (my emphasis)

The United States has also given clandestine support to the Siniora government, according to the former senior intelligence official and the U.S. government consultant. “We are in a program to enhance the Sunni capability to resist Shiite influence, and we’re spreading the money around as much as we can,” the former senior intelligence official said. The problem was that such money “always gets in more pockets than you think it will,” he said. “In this process, we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don’t have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we like and avoid the people we don’t like. It’s a very high-risk venture.”

American, European, and Arab officials I spoke to told me that the Siniora government and its allies had allowed some aid to end up in the hands of emerging Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hezbollah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with Al Qaeda.

As we have found since the battles in Sidon ceased, the majority of the militants that attacked the LAF were of this very type; small radical Sunni groups, aligned to the Syrian insurgency, including Jabhat al Nusra (Al Qaeda). From McClatchy: (my emphasis)

The worst fighting in Lebanon in years, which wracked this coastal city one hour south of Beirut this week, was touched off by an influx of foreign fighters from Syria, Palestinian camps and other Arab countries into the compound of a radical Sunni cleric, according to knowledgeable people on both sides of the conflict. The foreign fighters included members of Jabhat al Nusra, a Syrian rebel group also known as the Nusra Front, which is affiliated with al Qaida, according to the accounts, including that of a Lebanese military official. Nusra is considered the most effective rebel group fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, and its presence inside Lebanon, if confirmed, would provide evidence not just that the Syrian conflict has spread, but that Nusra fighters have extended their influence outside Syria and Iraq.

The Salafi militants causing the current strife in Lebanon are a direct result of the above “Redirection” policy, as former MI6 officer Alistair Crooke pointed out in Hersh’s piece back in 2007, it would be a dangerous and risky strategy to foment and enable such ideologues, and would result in what we are seeing in Lebanon today: (my emphasis)

Alastair Crooke, who spent nearly thirty years in MI6, the British intelligence service, and now works for Conflicts Forum, a think tank in Beirut, told me, “The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous.” Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. “I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah,” Crooke said.

The largest of the groups, Asbat al-Ansar, is situated in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. Asbat al-Ansar has received arms and supplies from Lebanese internal-security forces and militias associated with the Siniora government.

Al-Assir was joined in his camp in Sidon by up to 60 members of Jabhat al Nusra (Al Qaeda), and up to 30 members of Jund al-Sham, another radical group based in the Ain el Hilweh refugee camp. Some reports suggested up to 300 militants were encamped in Al-Assir’s compound. This undoubtedly accounts for the heavy losses the LAF incurred during the first hours of their attempts to storm the stronghold. As the Syrian Arab Army have found to their detriment for the best part of two years; these radical militant groups are well armed, well-funded, and above all, trained in paramilitary expertise. Such battle experience is not gained in a classroom, they are the product of the Syrian insurgency and its supporters. According to the above McClatchy report, Jabhat al Nusra members were leading Assir’s men, and enabled him to escape once the LAF had overcome his compound. Assir’s current whereabouts are yet to be verified, but various reports have suggested he has fled to his fellow ideologues inside Syria.

The proliferation of  radical Sunni clerics in Lebanon should be seen in a much wider context than domestic Lebanese politics alone. Saad Hariri’s Future Movement camp is inextricably tied to Saudi Arabia’s regional policy and their efforts to assert Saudi dominance and curb Iranian expansion, and through Hariri and the Future Movement the joint US/GCC/Israeli “Redirection” policy finds its prominent outlet in Lebanon. Hariri’s Future Movement stance against Hezbollah in Lebanon is an extension of the policies of Washington and Riyadh.

Furthermore, recent developments in Lebanon also shed light on at least part of the motivation behind Hezbollah’s “intervention” in the Syrian/Lebanese border town of Qusair, and their growing alliance with the Syrian government. The incitement from radical clerics and ideologues tied to, and facilitating the Syrian insurgency from within Lebanon and the border regions have posed both a strategic, and ideological threat since the start of the Syrian insurgency – a threat that Hezbollah could no longer ignore, nor Syria fight alone.

The toll that small groups of militants inflicted upon the Lebanese Army in Sidon within two days, and the tens of thousands of Syrian soldiers that have been killed in the last two years, are a testament to the reality of the monster the GCC has unleashed upon the Levant. The “Redirection” has well and truly landed upon Hezbollah’s doorstep.

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…


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.