Posts tagged ‘al Nusra Front’

January 4, 2017

How We Were Misled About Syria: the role of Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF)

by mkleit

Original is from Tim Hayward wordpress

Source

msf-blames

 

I have unbounded admiration for the doctors who volunteer for the invaluable and often dangerous work of Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF). The question concerns MSF’s policy of ‘bearing witness’. MSF will speak out – even against governments – when it thinks a humanitarian situation could and should be dealt with differently by those it holds responsible.[1] It has done so in Syria.

But if none of MSF’s international doctors have been on the ground in Syria’s war zones since 2015,[2] how can MSF claim to bear witness for what is happening there?

MSF has relayed reports from the rebel-held areas to which, exclusively, its supplies and support have been dispatched. The reports – including allegations of government attacks on hospitals and civilians – come from people working with the permission and protection of such groups as Al Nusra, Isis and other foreign jihadis and mercenaries. These anti-government forces are known to exercise a rule of terror and to be not overly concerned about ordinary citizens’ access to medical attention. That is precisely why the MSF doctors withdrew from the areas under their control.[3] So there is scope to ask who the medics on the ground were, and who they were treating.

 

My question, though, simply concerns the reliability of uncorroborated witness statements coming from potentially compromised sources. For while press statements have been issued from various MSF offices around the world, it appears MSF had no independent access to verifiable information from Syria.

In fact, the public unavailability of detailed or verified information is a matter of record: even John Kirby of the US State Department could only assert that ‘relief agencies that we find credible are levelling these accusations’.[4]

The most prominent relief agency, and visible in all video footage linked to the alleged bombings, is the White Helmets.

It is a matter of record that the White Helmets are funded by the NATO and Gulf states whose avowed aim is regime change in Syria; or-38096it is generally believed that they work closely with terrorist organisations (how else could the Netflix documentary have shown them roaming so freely in a zone where MSF and Western journalists dared not set foot?[5]). Their independence and integrity are widely questioned.[6]

So while MSF has often been cited as an independent source of support for White Helmet testimony, its press statements have in fact merely repeated White Helmet claims![7]

Whether intending it or not, MSF thereby became complicit in purveying a particular narrative that suffused the Western media during the period from 22 September to 22 December 2016.[8] Before September, the media had been perfectly clear that the citizens of eastern Aleppo were being held captive, effectively as human shields, by forces dominated by jihadist terrorists.[9] That changed following the uncompromising statement by Samantha Power to the UN Security Council, in which she invoked the White Helmets as victims and witnesses of Russian and Syrian aggression.[10]

Western governments and media re-designated the terrorist groups as ‘moderate rebels’.[11] Concurrently, anti-government activists like Lina Shamy started tweeting in English, the celebrated twitter account in the name of the child Bana was created, and there followed a flow of ‘famous last webcams’ from purported ordinary civilians voicing fears of impending massacre by the Syrian government.

Those of us in the West who were uncertain about the authenticity of all this social media activity in a zone lacking basic infrastructure, let alone wifi,[12] were coaxed to accept the mainstream narrative because a respected organisation like MSF apparently bore witness to it.[13] Few of us realised that MSF was merely repeating White Helmet testimony, not independently verifying it.

The consistent testimony now coming from the people who have been liberated in eastern Aleppo suggests a quite different story from the one that Netflix and our media have promoted.[14] The Helmets themselves appear to have melted away with the departure from Aleppo of the jihadists and mercenaries. If there were any genuinely independent doctors working with them in Aleppo, they too have yet to be heard from. But most telling, in view of White Helmet claims to have saved some 70,000 lives (or whatever exact number we are invited to believe), is that not a single person interviewed in liberated Aleppo has thanked them.

 

So, in seeking to bear witness against the Syrian government, MSF has made claims on a basis that is uncertain and contested.[15]  By so publicly associating itself with the White Helmets and their narrative it may have risked compromising the reputation it relies on to attract international doctors.

Those of us who deeply appreciate the service to humankind of MSF’s international doctors are left to hope the organisation coordinating their work can be more sure to avoid bearing false witness.[16]

The problem with the false narrative is no trivial one, for it perpetuates a fundamental misrecognition of the causes of the war – and thus of all the casualities the doctors have to deal with.  A false narrative not only gives impunity to the guilty but it supports them in moving ever onwards with their murderous designs. It distracts from the ethical truth, too, that the jihadis and the states supplying them with arms and opportunity are in fundamental breach of the law and morality of just warfare.

oberg-5

oberg-6

 

 

[1] The background for this founding principle – of témoignage (‘bearing witness’) – is cited on their website: ‘Hundreds of thousands of people died in the Biafran war because of a deliberate government policy. On their return from the region, a group of young French doctors were frustrated and outraged by the inability of the Red Cross to say publicly what had happened.’ https://www.msf.org.uk/advocacy-and-temoignage

[2] MSF Voice from the Field in Syria: Dr. Nathalie Roberts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61cmnPLk6uE

[3] Dr Nathalie Roberts has described how in the earlier days of the war in Syria, MSF had followed its usual working procedures in opposition-held areas but with the arrival of Islamic State group that became impossible: “they were not allowing all the patients to access the hospital”, they then started appropriating MSF supplies and even kidnapping MSF staff. They could not continue to work in a place where the occupying groups would not allow the doctors to do their medical job. (Dr Roberts interviewed on 13 March 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oQVUssxK-U

[4] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-spokesperson-loses-temper-with-rt-journalist-over-syria-bombing-questions-a7423146.html

[5] I personally first became curious about the White Helmets from viewing the Netflix documentary (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wj4ncIEDxw), and the question I mention in the text here is the one I simply could not get past. I was therefore not surprised to find that others had already offered powerful critiques of the organisation.

I also had trouble imagining how people working in such desperate conditions would have the leisure to keep up with the latest Western craze of the Mannequin Challenge, and also the insensitivity to do a facsimile rescue for the purpose. The video of this PR own goal was quickly removed by the White Helmets’ promoters but remains available elsewhere at time of writing, e.g.:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgl271A6LgQ

A discussion of it is here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8bIupYSZeU

[6] The critical sources now on the internet are far too numerous to mention, but indicative examples include:
https://www.rt.com/op-edge/361957-syria-white-helmets-un/
http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/10/exclusive-president-raed-salehs-terrorist-connections-within-white-helmet-leadership/
https://janoberg.exposure.co/humans-in-liberated-aleppo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmFFvu5H4f4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_bObdZhqyE
http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/23/exclusive-the-real-syria-civil-defence-expose-natos-white-helmets-as-terrorist-linked-imposters/

[7] The spokespersons bearing MSF witness to the public are quite numerous and remote from Syria. They seldom make explicit the source of their information, but when they do we find it is the White Helmets.

Sam Taylor, for instance, who is Syria communications coordinator for MSF and is based in Jordan, uncritically reproduced White Helmets material: ‘The civil defense, also known as the White Helmets, said the hospital and adjacent buildings were struck in four consecutive airstrikes.’ ‘Video posted by the White Helmets showed lifeless bodies, including children, being pulled from a building and loaded into ambulances amid screams and wailing. Distraught rescue workers tried to keep away onlookers, apparently fearing more bombs.’ http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/airstikes-aleppo-hospital-1.3556632

Taylor does mention another authority: ‘Shortly after midday Thursday, new airstrikes in rebel-held areas killed at least 20 people in two neighbourhoods, the Syrian Civil Defense and the Observatory said.’ By ‘Observatory’, he presumably means the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Although this sounds like an independent organisation, it is in fact a single individual named Rami Abdulrahman (sometimes referred to as Rami Abdul Rahman) living in Coventry in the UK; and he is presumably as independent as one can expect from an opposition exile whose small network of informants in Syria consists largely of anti-government activists.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/world/middleeast/the-man-behind-the-casualty-figures-in-syria.html

Certainly, he is no more directly a witness than is MSF’s spokesperson. Needless to say, the Observatory’s credibility and independence is disputed: http://russia-insider.com/en/media-criticism/man-behind-vaunted-syrian-observatory-human-rights-shown-all-his-full-absurdity; http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/syrian-ngos-working-directly-with.html; http://journal-neo.org/2015/12/12/the-syrian-observatory-for-human-rights-is-a-tool-of-western-propaganda/

Despite this lack of verified independent evidence, Taylor was prepared to state on behalf of MSF that a hospital attack ‘was deliberate’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebrpj689Ib8. While the basis for the accusation is not given, the cumulative effect of this sort of public statement is evident.

Pablo Marco Blanco, MSF’s Operations Manager for the Middle East in Barcelona, effectively endorsed the accusation, while admitting that the basis of the information was unconfirmed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI5KMAvfYDU.

Similar communications came from Muskilda Zancada, ‘MSF head of mission in Syria’ in Barcelona. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4s9uEp6Ujs). Zancada also stated that ‘civilians are targeted’ http://www.msf.org/en/article/syria-update-airstrike-al-quds-hospital. Paul McPhun, Executive Director MSF Australia, speaking from Australia (10 October 2016) likewise makes categorial statements about targeted bombings in Aleppo, but without indicating the source of his knowledge.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHyPtcG5a6M

It is even possible that the accusations are true. Yet it is also possible that they are not. The fallibility of MSF sources has been illustrated by how Teresa Sancristoval, Head of MSF’s Emergency Unit for Aleppo, was clearly being fed her information in Barcelona from people with an oppositional stance towards the Syrian Government because they were ‘afraid of the retaliations they can suffer’ http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/east-aleppo-ceasefire-fails-shelling-resumes-and-hope-fades (see note 7).

While I have no doubt that all MSF statements are made from a standpoint of agonised human sympathy, and in good faith, they take on a life of their own when picked up by the media and disseminated for further purposes.

In the end it is clear that what matters from the humanitarian point of view is that the bombing should stop. When MSF call for all sides to stop, they can claim to speak for humankind. When they complain of ‘targeted and indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian and Russian armed forces’ (http://www.msf.org/en/article/syria-crisis-update-28-november-2016) they create unnecessary controversy: if bombing both targeted and indiscriminate is to stop on the government side, that is as much as to say – from the government’s perspective – that it should simply allow the ISIS and Al Nusra terrorists free rein over the people and sovereign territory that it has a duty to defend. MSF do not want to say exactly this, I assume, but my point is that the organisation seems not to have a firm enough grip on its communications policy or a sufficiently coherent approach to defining its extra-medical mission.

[8] MSF statements from Syria condemning the Syrian and Russian governments have been demonstrably lacking in certainty or detail. For instance, in relaying reports of attacks on hospitals around Aleppo in May they note that ‘one was the MSF-supported al Sakhour hospital in Aleppo city, which was forced to suspend activities after being bombed at least twice on consecutive days.’ (https://www.msf.org.uk/country/syria) An inexact statement like this – being equivocal as to whether the number of bombings was two, three, or some other number – may or may not be true; it cannot claim to have been properly verified, since a verification would make clear whether or not a third or further bombings had occurred.

MSF uncritically accepted the veracity of the ‘famous last webcams’ coming out of besieged eastern Aleppo. As late as 14 December 2014 MSF wrote on their own website: ‘Whatever hope remained is rapidly dissipating. People are terrified, almost certain that their own deaths are near. Messages in which they say goodbye to their love ones are proliferating.’ http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/east-aleppo-ceasefire-fails-shelling-resumes-and-hope-fades ]

MSF do not appear to have known as much as one might hope or expect about the doctors they supported in terrorist-held Aleppo and whose words they relay to the public. The doctors communicating from terrorist-held Aleppo whose testimony the MSF publicly cited just prior to the liberation of Aleppo were apparently not looking forward to the end of the siege, and MSF even believed that their forebodings were shared by the ordinary people of Aleppo: ‘Like the rest of the population, “doctors are terrified and losing hope,” says Teresa Sancristoval, Head of MSF’s Emergency Unit for Aleppo. “They are afraid of the retaliations they can suffer. For the last two days, our exchanges have been more about goodbye messages and requests for evacuation than anything else. They feel abandoned to their fate and with no way out.”’ http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/east-aleppo-ceasefire-fails-shelling-resumes-and-hope-fades

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/02/us-syria-policy-tatters-moderate-rebels-disband

[10] As Stephen Cohen has pointed out, the sea change came with the breakdown of negotiations between Obama and Putin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPp8eKBjcyA&t=974s

The view was then forcefully asserted against Obama by Samantha Power.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/22/syria-obama-us-president-putin-russia

In her speech to UN Security Council she singled out the White Helmets as victims and witnesses of Russian and Syrian attacks. She declared: ‘This is not the day, this is not the time to blame all sides, to draw false equivalencies. It is not the time to say that “airstrikes took place,” or “civilians were killed.” It is time to say who is carrying out those airstrikes, and who is killing civilians.’ https://usun.state.gov/remarks/7453
[11] Some insights into the unreliability of the mainstream narrative have occasionally been heard from within mainstream media outlets.

For instance:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-aleppo-iraq-mosul-isis-middle-east-conflict-assad-war-everything-youve-read-could-be-wrong-a7451656.html
http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/time-judge-assads-aleppo-campaign-standards-set-mosul/
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/aleppo-falls-to-syrian-regime-bashar-al-assad-rebels-uk-government-more-than-one-story-robert-fisk-a7471576.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1B2xFqfEgY (‘Tulsi Gabbard tells the truth about Syria’ on CNN)
Carla Ortiz Speaks about her Experience in Aleppo and The Little Syrian Girl
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAE3WawgOX0&feature=share

Criticisms have of course been extensive in the Russian media. Since promoters of the Western narrative do not regard the Russia Today (RT) channel as a reliable source, I mention just a couple of interviews that they might concede have some credibility – one from a Church of England clergyman and one from a former UK ambassador to Syria:
‘Consistent stories of brutality at the hands of the Syrian rebels’ – Rev. Andrew Ashdown
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8iM_eY2viQ

US effectively siding with Al-Qaeda in desire to get rid of Assad – former UK ambassador to Syria
https://www.rt.com/news/345636-us-siding-al-qaeda-ford/

[12] Common sense scepticism on this point is supported by the first hand testimony of Carla Ortiz about trying to get internet connections in Aleppo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il7I1FTRSwY.

[13] I have seen MSF cited as a source to discredit the account of Syria given to the UN by Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uap0GwBYdBA
In fact, I was first prompted to do the research that led to writing this blog because a respected and well-informed friend on Facebook invoked MSF as a refutation of Bartlett’s claims. I believe it has since become clear that events have entirely vindicated Bartlett.

[14] Some examples of interviews with newly liberated citizens in Aleppo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjPpREHEF1Y
https://www.facebook.com/vanessa.beeley/posts/10155907018683868
https://www.sott.net/article/337545-East-Aleppo-Diaries-Testimony-from-Hanano-Shatters-Corporate-Fake-News
https://janoberg.exposure.co/humans-in-liberated-aleppo
https://www.sott.net/article/338019-Bolivian-actress-Carla-Ortiz-exposes-what-went-wrong-with-Western-media-coverage-of-Syrian-conflict

[15] Stronger criticism of MSF than I am making is found in Miri Wood’s ‘Guide to Understanding How ‘Unhospitals’ Cannot Be Bombed’ http://www.syrianews.cc/guide-understanding-unhospitals-cannot-bombed/ ; MSF’s relationship with the Syrian Government is known to be an uneasy one: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/12161437/Medecins-Sans-Frontieres-run-by-French-intelligence-says-Assad-regime.html

[16] MSF takes a certain pride in fostering debate and allowing some plurality of political views to be aired within the organisation: it does not attempt, as ICRC does, to hold a single public line. (Rony Brauman, ‘Médecins Sans Frontières and the ICRC: matters of principle’, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 888, 31 December 2012: https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/article/review-2012/irrc-888-brauman.htm)

Yet the public hears MSF-branded messages and thinks they represent the honest and considered position of a respected organisation. They are encouraged to do so by the fact that press releases and comments are issued by the organisation and not as independent opinions of particular members.

While it is not my place to tell MSF how to conduct its affairs, I would say that their internal plurality of opinion is not necessarily a virtue: if they cannot agree on certain matters of principle about bearing witness, then the wise option might be simply to refrain, as ICRC do. At any rate, some of their internal philosophical debate strikes this reader as unhelpfully verbose and analytically unclear. More specifically relating to Syria, it is reasonable to believe that the geopolitics of the region and the machinations of its various protagonists are as complex and challenging, in their way, as are the medical emergencies in a war zone. Even the most judicious political analyst would not be much use in dealing with the latter. The people in MSF offices might reflect on whether the converse does not also apply.

We are not in a position to know if Syria or Russia should answer any charges in respect of the conduct of war.  We do know that their enemies must, and, more crucially, that they face the more fundamental charge of having attacked Syria and its people without just cause.

I find a rather bitter irony in the MSF position that they distinguish themselves from the ICRC in not being willing to patch up victims simply in order to make possible further harm to them; for that could be said to be what they are doing by wishing that a sovereign people should not use full lethal force against merciless invaders on its soil.

Advertisements
March 25, 2016

Stop Wahhabist School to Fight Terrorism

by mkleit
ap_60095752573_custom-a31414021cfeb3c4f67550e5f9c759cbe8cd7fb2-s900-c85

Young man sitting in front of Brussels’ stock exchange building

 

Terrorist attacks in Europe has caused a two-way incitement between Europeans and Muslims, which is a result that terrorist group ISIL is trying to reach as they’ve said after the Charlie Hebdo attacks on the 7th of January 2015: “compel the Crusaders (Europeans) to actively destroy the garrison themselves… Muslims in the West will quickly find themselves between one of two choices, they either apostatize… or they emigrate to the Islamic State and thereby escape persecution from the Crusader governments and citizens”.

The latest attacks on the Belgian capitol Brussels left 35 dead and 270 injured when suicide bombers hit Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station on Tuesday morning. Recent reports from Belgian media showed that people involved in the terrorist attacks are Muslims and of Arab background.

Mostly, Europeans would blame the millions of Muslims in Europe (and a lot of them have done so) for being the cause of religious incitement, and by far that’s sort of right, since there’s a minority of Muslims whose taking a big part of inciting against the “Crusaders”.

194f8ecf2e3e74125b119bb7eb4a05fb715f643a

Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia hitting several nations

The Arab – Muslims whom are able to go to Europe and live there (aside of refugees and asylum seekers) can afford the living, where the biggest percentage comes from the GCC countries (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Emirates). And the ideology that all of these countries share (except Oman and partially Kuwait) is Wahhabism or Salafism. This sect is considered to be the most fanatic, extremist, and inciting amongt all Muslim sects – consider them as the KKK or the Nazis of Islam. This ideology is also the root of many terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda (Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Egypt, Afghanistan..) ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and Levant/ Syria and Iraq), Boko Haram (Nigeria), al Nusra Front (Jabhat al Nusra/ Syria), Ahrar al Sham (Syria), Jaysh al Islam (Syria), al Shabab(Somalia), Taliban (Afghanistan, Pakistan) etc…

One might think that abolishing ISIL, the most prominent terrorist group would save the world from terrorism, but no! Such an action wouldn’t do anything, because religious fanaticism is not bound by a group, it’s an idea, and ideas don’t die by bombs and bullets; ideas should be fought by ideas.

In their book, Global Terrorism and New Media, Philip Seib and Dana M. Janbek argue that terrorist groups are teaching younger generations (between 10 and 12 years old) their ideology through boot camps and schools that are in their area of control. This strategy elongates the group’s survival for a longer time. They would teach students how to be hate-filled fighters, as well as how much other sects and religious groups are “sinners and blasphemers”, most evidently the crusaders (Euro-Christians) and the Rawafids (Shiites Muslims, the second biggest sect in Islam). And among this, they would teach them that it’s okay to call them blasphemers and punish them for being from a different sect, where punishment varies from flogging to beheading and public execution.

06.05.23.CoreCurriculum-X.gif

These schools of thought are not solely found in areas of terrorist groups, but also in countries like Saudi Arabia. And they’re also expanding to European countries – under Saudi funding – such as France, Belgium, Germany, and Britain; since the mentioned countries have close relations with the Gulf state, as well as big Muslim communities.

When Europeans blame Muslims for this problem, they are partially correct, but they’re mistaken when they blame the refugees for causing the damage. Although some of the latter have took part in the battles in Syria, as many pictures show ex-fighters from extremist factions seeking refuge with the influx to Europe. But the problem is inside Europe itself, where it comes from these school and extremists Salafi-Wahhabi communities that are spreading fanaticism. Thus, they serve as a “shelter” and “sanctuary” for extremists coming from the MENA region and Asia, whether these countries are suffering from turmoil like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, or countries that serve as a holder for this thought like Saudi Arabia.

afa841f3aa9d7de8ac28a6260f6a962c.jpg

The only way to protect the EU, is to do what Tunisia has been recently doing by their campaign “tomorrow is better”, where they are re-educating inmates imprisoned for terrorist act by extracting the extremist thought from their heads and planting patriotic and moderate-religious ideology. As for the schools, the government is keeping an eagle’s eye on academic curricula, so that they would not contain topics of incitement and fanaticism.

If such procedures are made, alongside other educational and security ones, not only in  Europe but also in the countries that are being vastly effected by extremist thoughts like Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and others, we would gradually defeat extremist thoughts and potential terrorism, because it’s not fair nor right to blame millions of people for the acts of a few.

February 22, 2016

حلب: ما قبل وبعد

by mkleit

لا أقمنا في مكان وإن طاب ولا يمكن المكان الرحيل
كلما رحبت بنا الروض قلنا حلب قصدنا وأنت السبيل
فيك مرعى جيادنا والمطايا وإليها وجيفنا والذميل – أبو الطيب المتنبي

حلب للوارد جنة عدن وهي للغادرين نار سعير والعظيم العظيم يكبر في عينه منها قدر الصغير الصغير – أبو العلاء المعري

نفيت عنك العلة و الظرف و الأدبا”
و إن خلقت لها إن لم تزر حلبا
لو ألف المجد سفرا عن مفاخره
لراح يكتب في عنوانه حلبا” – الأخطل الصغير

 

Source: Reuters, Getty Images

January 26, 2016

The Icey Journey to Seek Refuge

by mkleit

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries have a journey different from that of “the death boats”. The slideshow above shows the journey that refugees take while crossing European borders under harsh weather conditions.

The photos belong to Reuters from the Serbian – Macedonian borders (map below of refugees full route since the wave started).

_85604627_migrant_journeys_turkey_to_germany_624_v3

Route line that refugees have taken from Turkey to Germany

March 20, 2015

Israeli army admits aiding al-Qaeda in Syria

by mkleit

Asa Winstanley

ME Monitor

israeli occupation troops with al Nusra terrorist mercenaries at Syrian Golan Heights (unknown source)

An under-noticed news report last week confirmed previously-held suspicions and strong implications that Israeli troops are aiding the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate.

Speaking to Israeli occupation troops last week, a Wall Street Journal reporter on the ground in Mount Bental (part of the occupied Golan Heights) found that Israeli troops receive wounded al-Qaeda fighters, treat them in Israeli hospitals and send them back to continue fighting against the government in Syria.

The Nusra Front in August overran the Qunaitra crossing, the checkpoint between the Israeli-occupied and Syrian-controlled sectors of the Golan Heights. Israeli invaded that region of south-west Syria in 1967 and has illegally occupied most of the Golan Heights ever since.

As I pointed out in a previous column, the reports of UN peacekeeping forces since Nusra took over the checkpoint were highly suggestive of Israeli contacts and even military aid to the al-Qaeda rebels. But this Wall Street Journal report has confirmed the fact.

“We don’t ask who they are, we don’t do any screening,” the unnamed Israeli military official told the paper of the hospital treatment of al-Qaeda fighters. “Once the treatment is done, we take them back to the border [sic – ceasefire line] and they go on their way [in Syria],” he said.

An unnamed military official also said there is an “understanding” between Israeli forces and al-Qaeda fighters there and that “there is a familiarity of the [al-Qaeda] forces on the ground”.

Popular conspiracy theories have it that al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” (also known as ISIS or ISIL) are Israeli- and/or US-intelligence creations. While there’s no evidence for that, it’s certainly true that the US-UK invasion of Iraq in 2003, and its consciously sectarian occupation regime of the country thereafter, created the conditions in which al-Qaeda in Iraq (later known as ISIS) was formed and thrived. Veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn demonstrates this most convincingly in his essential new book The Rise of Islamic State, which I have previously lauded here.

And now it seems that Israel is in a direct alliance with al-Qaeda in Syria. This is a tactical alliance, meant purely to bleed the country and prolong the civil war.

Read the quotes from Israeli officials in recent months about the Nusra Front and you will see a strange sort of soft-peddling of the group, casting them as a kind of “moderate al-Qaeda” if you will.

“Nusra is a unique version of al-Qaeda,” retired Brigadier General Michael Herzog told the Wall Street Journal. “They manage to cooperate with non-Islamist and non-jihadi organizations in one coalition.” Herzog is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP, the think tank of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the première Israel lobby group in the US) and former chief of staff for Israel’s defence minister. The Nusra Front “are totally focused on the war in Syria and aren’t focused on us,” he claimed. “But when Hezbollah and Iran and others are pushing south, they are very much focused on us.”

Hizballah and Iran, allies of the Bashar al-Assad regime, are aiding the government in Syria and fighting on the ground alongside Syrian army troops against al-Qaeda, the “Islamic State” and other Sunni rebel groups.

Even before Nusra took over the Qunairtra checkpoint in August, reports suggested Israel seemed on rather friendly terms with the al-Qaeda affiliate.

In June, army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told Foreign Policy that the Israeli government has provided medical assistance to more than 1,000 Syrians over the past fourteen months. “We give medical aid to people who are in dire need,” he said in a telephone interview with the magazine, echoing the statement made last week to the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t do any vetting or check where they are from or which group they are fighting for, or whether they are civilians.”

Ehud Yaari, an Israeli fellow at WINEP, admitted that Israeli assistance has benefited fighters: “The wounded are both fighters and civilians but there are not too many civilians left because of the fighting raging there … Close to 900 Syrians have been treated in Israel.”

Foreign Policy reports that, even earlier than June 2014, in March 2013: “Some 400 armed opposition fighters, backed by artillery fire from three tanks, seized a Syrian military outpost atop a hill at Tal al-Garbi, planting four black flags and raising concern that extremist groups are moving into the zone.

“More than two weeks later, opposition fighters captured two other strategically important hilltop military outposts in Tal al-Jabiya and Tal al-Sharqi.

“‘In the afternoon of 24 April, two members of the armed opposition displayed the severed head of a presumed Syrian armed forces officer as they passed’ a UN outpost, according to the [UN] report. By the end of April [2013], UN observers ‘detected the flying of black flags believed to be associated with militant groups scattered throughout the central and southern part of the area of separation, including three Syrian armed forces positions captured by the armed members of the opposition.'”

So Israeli aid to al-Qaeda in Syria may have been ongoing for as long as nearly two years now. But what is sure is that Israeli aid to al-Qaeda in Syria has now been confirmed.

February 6, 2015

عبدالله الأردن: ملك داعش

by mkleit
ابراهيم الأمين

الأخبار

كمن جاءته الفرصة ليقدم عرضاً بهلوانياً لافتاً، استعاد ملك الاردن حطّته العربية، وتوجه صوب العشائر، معلناً بدء عملية الثأر لقتل «داعش» الطيار الأردني معاذ الكساسبة. وفي حمأة حفلة مشاعر غير جامعة، بخلاف كل ما يشاع، أغمض المتهور عينيه، وبقي في لباس المقامر، ملقياً نرده على طاولة سوريا، في حركة تعيد تثبيت صورته كسليل عائلة المقاولين الأمنيين عند الغرب وإسرائيل.
وعلينا، نحن الذين نموت يومياً بأبشع ممّا حصل مع الطيار الاردني، أن نصفّق لملك الأردن، ونصدّق بأنه انضم فعلياً الى جبهة مواجهة الارهاب الذي يدمي بلادنا.
ربما، من خارج كل سياق مرافق للمشهدية الدموية خلال الايام القليلة الماضية، وجب الحديث مباشرة عمّا يقوم به الاردن. فهو لا يمثل «انتفاضة شرف»، ولا هو «يقظة وطنية أو عربية أو إسلامية». كل ما يجري، وسيجري، سيظل في سياق الدور الذي ارتضى ملك الاردن ومن يدعمه أن يلعبوه، وهو دور الدمية، أو المرتزق الذي يقدم خدمات أمنية وعسكرية لمن يدفع أكثر، ولكن مع أولوية للأميركي والاسرائيلي. يعرف الجميع أن على الاردن، في حال أراد الدفاع عن أمنه وشعبه في وجه الارهاب، مغادرة المربع الذي يقيم فيه الآن، وهي أمر غير متوقع في القريب العاجل، وربما لن تحصل الاستدارة إلا بعد فوات الاوان، لأن دور ملك الاردن في سوريا، اليوم، هو بالضبط الدور المكمل لما يقوم به «داعش» في سوريا والعراق.

King Abdullah of Jordan

اليوم المسرحي الطويل لن يخفّف من مسؤولية ملك الاردن عن محاولة الهروب من مهمة مكافحة قواعد الارهاب ومدارسه القائمة داخل حدود بلده، قبل أن يتطوع لتدمير إضافي في سوريا. والكل يعرف أن عمان لا تزال، حتى اللحظة، مركزاً لكل أشكال التآمر على كل خصوم أميركا وإسرائيل وحكام الجزيرة العربية، من المقاومة في فلسطين التي تواجه قمعاً أردنياً غير مسبوق على أبواب الضفة، الى دعم المجموعات التي تعمل على تخريب سوريا بإشراف أميركي وفرنسي وبريطاني، وبتمويل سعودي وقطري، الى غض الطرف عن عمليات التجنيد المتواصلة لآلاف الشباب المقيمين أو العابرين نحو «الجهاد في سوريا»، الى المساعدة على تدريب عصابات القتل التي يتم تمييزها عن الاسلاميين بوصفها «معارضة معتدلة»، الى ترك الحدود مع العراق مفتوحة لكل أنواع العربدة السعودية.
ما ظهر في الصوت المرتفع و»السيرك الجوي» لن يغيّر في واقع أن ملك الاردن شريك في معركة إسرائيل والغرب ودول الجنون في الجزيرة العربية ضد سوريا ومحور المقاومة. فقط لنراجع بعض الوقائع:
ماذا يفعل ملك الاردن اليوم في سوريا؟
ــ يستضيف غرفة عمليات تضم أميركيين وسعوديين، وتنسق مع الإسرائيليين، لإدارة المجموعات المسلحة في الجنوب السوري. ينتمي هؤلاء الى «جبهة النصرة» ومجموعات إسلامية تدور في فلك «القاعدة». وغالبية ما قام به المسلحون، من السيطرة على مواقع عسكرية وبلدات كانت تحت سيطرة الدولة السورية، تم بإيعاز وإرشاد وتوجيه تفصيلي من هذه الغرفة

– هو يواصل لعبته المفضّلة: «الكذب على الجميع طوال الوقت». فهو ينفّذ برنامج دعم المعارضة، وعلى رأسها «جبهة النصرة» في الجنوب السوري، ويبعث إلى دمشق برسائل تتحدّث عن ضرورة التعاون لمكافحة الارهاب، وعن تعرضه لـ»ضغوط كبيرة» من أميركا وأوروبا والدول الخليجية. ويحصر تنسيقه مع دمشق بإبلاغ الجيش السوري بالمناورات التي يجريها الجيش الاردني قبالة الحدود، قبل أن يطلب مساندة السوريين له في مكافحة تهريب السلاح والمسلحين إلى الأردن.
ــ وهو يدير، أيضاً، الجماعات المسلّحة في شرق درعا وجنوبها، ممن تمّ تدريبهم في عرعر السعودية والزرقاء الأردنية، وتزويدهم بالأسلحة الثقيلة من قواعد للاستخبارات الأردنية في مدينة الرمثا، مع العلم بأن غالبية قادة «جبهة النصرة» في الجنوب هم من الأردنيين، وبعضهم من ضباط عملوا سابقاً (أو لا يزالون) في الاستخبارات الأردنية. وهو أغلق مستوصفات النازحين في شمالي الأردن، وألزم الذكور منهم بالعودة إلى سوريا والقتال الى جانب المسلحين، من دون أن يتوقف عن فتح معسكرات سرية جنوبي البلاد وشرقيها لتدريب مقاتلين سوريين من قبل الولايات المتحدة ، ثم صدرت تأكيدات بأن العديد من هؤلاء المقاتلين الذين تم تدريبهم في الأردن انضموا الى «داعش» لاحقاً.
عن أي جيش أردني نتحدث؟
عندما يلجأ ملك الاردن الى استخدام مقدراته العسكرية، يكون الحديث عن جيش جرى تعريضه لتغييرات هيكلية منذ الاتفاق مع إسرائيل (وادي عربة)، وتعززت بعد تسلم الملك السلطة. فقُلّصت القوى البرية وأُوقفت تنمية قدراتها الهجومية في مقابل تقديم طائرات مجانية للأردن (أكثرها اف-16 فائضة لحلفاء أوروبيين) قابلة للدمج ضمن المنظومة الاميركية، بينما تمثل مناورات «الأسد المتأهب» السنوية الدور المتخيّل للقوى المسلحة الأردنية في المنطقة اليوم. كذلك تم إلغاء التجنيد الإلزامي وتقرر التوجه صوب جيش صغير «محترف».
وبحسب بعض المختصين، فإن التشبيه الأنسب لحالة الجيش هو أنه جيش انشأه البريطانيون أساساً كقوة حرس حدود، تحفظ حدود «الإقليم» واستقراره من الغزوات البدوية والحركات التي لا تعترف بالحدود، وهو عاد، بعد عام 94، الى أداء مهمة مشابهة (محاربة إرهاب، دعم جهود غربية، ومساندة إسرائيل).
وعندما شعر الملك بأن في الجيش من يفكر عكس هذا المنطق، وسمع مطالبات من عسكريين كبار بالعمل على منع تقسيم سوريا والامتناع عن دعم الاسلاميين المتشددين هناك، عمد قبل أقل من عشر سنوات الى إنشاء «قوات الدرك»، وهي «جناح ميداني مستقل عالي الجاهزية بمهمات مختلفة عن مهمات الأمن العام، ويرتبط مباشرة بوزير الداخلية»، علماً بأنه يتبع عملياً لديوان الملك وسلطته المباشرة، من دون المرور بالقوات المسلحة. ونظراً الى طبيعة المهمات الفضفاضة، تمكن هذا الفصيل من توسيع قاعدته البشرية وخدماته لينافس أجهزة الامن التقليدية، وكذلك مهمات القوات المسلحة.
إن ما يحاول ملك الاردن، ومن معه داخل البلاد أو خارجها، الإيحاء به، لا يعدو كونه جزءاً من مناورة لن تغير في الوقائع الصلبة. وإذا كان إطلاق سراح الداعية المقدسي لأنه ضد «داعش»، أو إكراما لدوره في المفاوضات الفاشلة الشهر الماضي، فإن الأخير ليس سوى أحد آباء «القاعدة» وفرعها السوري المعروف بـ»جبهة النصرة». تلك التي تعلن التحالف مع إسرائيل، ليس بحجة أنها تقبل من الشيطان دعماً ضد حكومة بشار الاسد، بل لكونها صارت طرفاً في الحرب ضد المقاومة التي صار الجولان وجنوبي سوريا وحدود الاردن مسرحاً طبيعياً لعملها.

%d bloggers like this: