All posts tagged: Al-Qaeda

Idlib – Reportage from the Last Front in Syria

Andre Vltchek For a while, all the guns have fallen silent. I am near Idlib, the last stronghold of the terrorists in Syria. The area where the deadliest anti-government fighters, most of them injected into Syria from Turkey, with Saudi, Qatari and Western ‘help’, are literally holed up, ready for the final showdown. Just yesterday, mortars were falling on villages near the invisible frontline, separating government troops and the terrorist forces of Al Nusra Front. The day before yesterday, two explosions rocked the earth, only a couple of meters from where we are now standing. They call it a ceasefire. But it’s not. It is one-sided. To be more precise: the Syrian army is waiting, patiently. Its cannons are pointing towards the positions of the enemy, but the orders from Damascus are clear: do not fire. The enemy has no scruples. It provokes, endlessly. It fires and bombs, indiscriminately. It kills. Along the frontline, thousands of houses are already ruined. Nothing gets spared: residential districts, sport gymnasiums, even bakeries. There is an established routine: assaults …

George and the ‘ISIS Bride’

Kevin Smith Two things I gave up in the New Year after many years were smoking and reading the London Evening Standard. I used to pick up the newspaper at the tube station on the journey from work back to the sticks. ​The newspaper over the last year has got worse in many ways, not least the reporting of Syria and foreign affairs. It’s that bad that there should be an Off-Evening Standard – set up by people who read it so Londoners don’t have to. The Evening Standard is one of those newspapers which is so inept or/and dishonest on these matters it always forces me to pick up my pen and write just to get it out of my system. So in a way it’s a source of negative inspiration for my writing and last year I wrote this for Off- Guardian, about an article Jeremy Hunt published in it. However my son who works in London brings it home and the other day, venturing out into my garden for a crafty vape …

Turkey’s dangerous game causing Idlib catastrophe

Firas Samuri The meeting of the heads of Russia, Turkey and Iran dedicated to the Syrian settlement was held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on February 14, 2019. Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Recep Erdogan discussed possible ways of the political resolution of the Syrian crisis, joint steps that would help to calm the situation in Syria and seriously advance the peace process by showing respect for international law and the agreements undertaken by the parties concerned. Speaking of the peaceful settlement in Idlib, the sides have agreed to continue working on the implementation of the Sochi summit. The certain adjustments on transferring Idlib’s largest part under Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (former Al-Qaida terrorists or HTS) control would be made. As of yet, it is not clear whether the hostilities against terrorists would open. The detailed answer could be given only after having analyzed the Turkish activity on implementing all the points of the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in Idlib as well as after having studied the development of the situation …

Reasons to be Cautious About US ‘Withdrawal’ from Afghanistan

James O’Neill The weeks before and since Christmas have seen and acceleration of efforts to achieve a peace settlement in Afghanistan. What is interesting is that the countries that have an important stake in there being a peaceful Afghanistan are driving this process: Russia, China, Pakistan and the Central Asian republics adjoining or proximate to Afghanistan. Officials from these countries have met in Moscow and Astana and are due to meet again in Moscow on 5th February 2019. They are meeting with Taliban officials, Afghanistan Government representatives (although not in an official capacity) and in the case of the Moscow talks, a representative from the United States embassy. The United States has had separate talks with Taliban officials in Qatar, and on 25 January announced an agreement in principle on two crucial and linked elements: that foreign forces would be withdrawn within 18 months from the signing of a ceasefire agreement; and a pledge by the Taliban that Afghanistan would not be used as a basis for attacks by Islamic extremists on the United States. …

China’s Uyghur Problem — The Unmentioned Part

by F. William Engdahl, via NEO In recent months Western media and the Washington Administration have begun to raise a hue and cry over alleged mass internment camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang where supposedly up to one million ethnic Uyghur Chinese are being detained and submitted to various forms of “re-education.” Several things about the charges are notable, not the least that all originate from Western media or “democracy” NGOs such as Human Rights Watch whose record for veracity leaves something to be desired. In August Reuters published an article under the headline, “UN says it has credible reports that China holds million Uighurs in secret camps.” A closer look at the article reveals no official UN policy statement, but rather a quote from one American member of an independent committee that does not speak for the UN, a member with no background in China. The source of the claim it turns out is a UN independent advisory NGO called Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The sole person making the charge, American committee member Gay …

Washington’s Long War on Syria Isn’t About to End

by Stephen Gowans, September 10, 2018 The United States has a new strategy for Syria, according to The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. The new direction, however, is simply the old, largely unrecognized, one, transformed from a de facto status to official one by presidential authorization. In other words, an aggressive US policy on Syria will continue to be implemented—one the US president had, for a time, openly mused about reversing, but has now accepted. The strategy, crafted by “the steady state”, and now acquiesced to by the US president, features the continued illegal and indefinite occupation of roughly one-third of Syrian territory by US forces as well as US interference in Syrian attempts to liberate Idlib from the control of Al Qaeda forces allied to Washington, its Arab monarchist collaborators, and their partner, Israel. It also features US pressure, military and otherwise, to confront Iranian forces and to drive them out of Syria. The overarching goal of the strategy, clearly articulated by US officials, is to dictate the form, nature and raison …

So DID the Guardian back war on Iraq?

Philip Roddis If I and a hundred likeminded others devoted ourselves 24/7 to rebutting the drivel above and below the line in the Guardian, we couldn’t make a dent. It would be like despatching midges, in August on a Highland bog, by crushing them one by one between thumb and forefinger. So I seldom bother. But a few instances this year have seen me obliged to make some sort of response to twaddle too egregious to let pass. One was Matthew d’Ancona’s smug desire to see market forces rein in the purveyors of ‘fake news’ via the kitemarking of such online crusaders for truth as Full Fact, led by tory party donor Michael Samuels. The other two were below the line. In an exchange with one btl commentator, back in April and over – what else? – Syria, I was told the idea of oil being a factor in the invasion of Iraq had been ‘thoroughly debunked’. I felt it incumbent, though it’s generally easier on such matters to spout nonsense than refute it, to put him straight on this …

Why is NATO moving its Airbase from Turkey to Jordan?

Text and Photos by Andre Vltchek, previous published by New Eastern Outlook People in the Middle East are joking, cynically: “From Incirlik, Turkey to Al-Azraq, Jordan with love.”. That is, if they pay any attention to the movement of NATO troops in this part of the world. They should. At least one substantial part of an incredibly deadly and aggressive force has been gradually relocated, from an ‘uncertain’ and according to the West suddenly ‘unreliable’ country (Turkey), to the impoverished but obedient Kingdom of Jordan. It is now clear that NATO is not sure, metaphorically speaking, which direction is Turkey going to fly in, and where it may eventually land. It is panicking and searching, ‘just in case’, for an exit strategy; almost for an escape plan from the most important regional power. Is the West really losing Turkey? Nobody knows. Most likely, nobody in Ankara is sure, either, including Mr. Erdogan. But what if … What if Erdogan moves closer to Russia, even to China? What if Turkey’s relationship with Iran improves? What if …

Pentagon Think-Tank Praises Al Qaeda as ‘Moderate’ Islamists

by Eric Zuesse An October 24th article by Colin P. Clarke of the Rand Corporation — the main think-tank for the Pentagon — is headlined “The Moderate Face of Al Qaeda”, and a section of it is headed “A Moderate Alternative,” presenting Al Qaeda as the moderate alternative to ISIS. That article praises the 5 July 2005 decision, by Al Qaeda’s then #2 leader — who now is their #1 leader after the killing of Osama bin Laden — Ayman al-Zawahiri; Clarke’s article praises there Zawahiri’s decision to chastise the founder of ISIS, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was then in Iraq. Zawahiri chastised Zarqawi for slaughtering Shia Muslims. However, if one looks at the Zawahiri letter, Zawahiri actually says there that Shia ought to be slaughtered, but not now, because most Muslims won’t understand why Shia deserve death. The matter is presented by Zawahiri as a severe PR problem for jihadists at this stage of building the fundamentalist Sunni movement to establish a global Islamic Caliphate or theocracy, if they slaughter Shia Muslims (such as …

Signs Indicate Trump Continuing Obama’s Support for Al Qaeda in Syria

by Eric Zuesse, September 22, 2017 According to a report issued on September 22nd by the most accurate reporter on the current status of forces in the war against Syria — the anonymous military and geostrategic blogger who owns, and posts exclusively at, the “Moon of Alabama” blog — the effort by the previous U.S. President Barack Obama in support of Al Qaeda in Syria, is continuing under the current U.S. President Donald Trump. However, that report isn’t the only indication of Trump’s continuing Obama’s war against Syria, and of the U.S. Government’s continuing pro-Al-Qaeda policy in Syria. And, furthermore, the U.S. Government even supports ISIS in Syria when ISIS is being attacked by Syria’s secular and non-sectarian Government, which Government the U.S. Government has been trying to overthrow and replace by Saud-financed fundamentalist-Sunni Islamists, ever since 1949. Back on 14 October 2016, Patrick Cockburn appropriately headlined in Britain’s Independent, “We finally know what Hillary Clinton knew all along – US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding ISIS”, but any reference to the government …

The US takes Syria’s Al-Qaeda off Terror Watch-lists

by Nauman Sadiq According to a recent report [1] by CBC Canada, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, which was formerly known as al-Nusra Front and then Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) since July 2016, has been removed from the terror watch-lists of the US and Canada after it merged with fighters from Zenki Brigade and hardline jihadists from Ahrar al-Sham and rebranded itself as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in January this year. The US State Department is hesitant to label Tahrir al-Sham a terror group, despite the group’s link to al-Qaeda, as the US government has directly funded and armed the Zenki Brigade, one of the constituents of Tahrir al-Sham, with sophisticated weaponry including the US-made antitank TOW missiles. The overall military commander of Tahrir al-Sham continues to be Abu Mohammad al-Julani, whom the US has branded a Specially Designated Global Terrorist with a $10 million bounty. But for the US to designate Tahrir al-Sham as a terrorist organization now would mean acknowledging that it supplied sophisticated weapons to terrorists, and draw attention to the fact that …

Russia Reports Discovery of Rebel-Held Chemical Weapons at Site of Idlib Gas Attack

This frame grab from video provided on Tuesday April 4, 2017, by the Syrian anti-government group, the Edlib Media Center, shows victims of a suspected chemical attack, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria. (Edlib Media Center, via AP)   By Whitney Webb on Mint Press News: MOSCOW– In the aftermath of yesterday’s chemical gas attack in Syria’s Idlib Province, numerous governments – including those that have funded and armed rebels in an attempt to overthrow the Syrian government – have accused the Syrian army of being primarily responsible for the attack, despite no independent confirmation of their claim and no investigation into who was truly responsible for the tragedy. As MintPress recently reported, the only information available regarding the attack so far has come from only two sources: the White Helmets and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Both groups have strong ties to pro-interventionist governments that have armed and funded rebel groups and even have ties to al-Qaeda. However, pro-interventionist elements in foreign governments and within the Syrian opposition seem …

US Has Panic Attack After Libyan Puppets Lose Control of Oil Ports

from Russia Insider Libya was the richest, most developed, most educated country in North Africa. It was a model of much-needed stability in the region, with a government that was considerably less terrible than NATO’s numerous medieval dictator-allies. Before the “revolution”, the Libyan government used oil revenues to subsidize a whole range of social benefits for its citizens. And now that Libya is a moon crater, the U.S. and its European poodles are whining about “returning oil ports to the Libyan people”. Is this a new standup routine that Washington has been practicing? EU states and the US have urged a Russia-backed Libyan warlord to hand back oil ports, amid warnings that Russia was trying to do in Libya what it did in Syria. The British, French, Italian, and US ambassadors to Libya said oil facilities “belong to the Libyan people and must remain under the exclusive control” of central authorities. This statement is of course referring to Khalifa Haftar and his successful attack against “Islamist militias” (fanatics affiliated with al-Qaeda) who seized Sidra and …

The plain truth about terrorism

or why the “oops we accidentally let ISIS get our guns” excuse does not work… We get a few people here saying some variant on “ISIS, al Qaeda etc are all the unlooked-for by-producet of the criminal western policy in the Middle East.” It’s one of the would-be middle-of-the-road positions occupied as much through fear of what lies beyond it than for any inherent value it contains. It’s still possible to be considered relatively mainstream and hold this position. Sensible people like Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky promote it. There’s only one problem with it really, namely that it is not true. Recent leaks/releases of government documents have put it beyond question that the US, its Gulf allies and NATO at very least willingly got behind the creation of extreme jihadist groups and have been funding such groups in their attempts to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government. So we thought we’d address that claim very quickly with the help of this graphic originally made by professor Tim Anderson. It makes the point more clearly than …

Libyan Labels: a journey through the Guardian’s coverage of the Libyan disaster

In this analysis we examine Libya’s recent history looking through the eyes of the Guardian, the flagship of liberal western outlets, and its reporting. As with most other western media, the Guardian was an enthusiastic supporter of the NATO intervention that overthrew Gaddafi and threw the country into the disaster that we are about to describe. Faithful to western interests then, the Guardian remains faithful afterwards as well. But imperial designs are laden with contradictions and sometimes drastically change course, but the Guardian dutifully follows.

Just Back From Syria, Rep. Gabbard Brings Message: ‘There Are No Moderate Rebels’

by Susan Jones from cnsnews.com Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) meets with Syrian religious leaders in Aleppo, led by Archbishop Denys Antoine Chahda of the Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo, and joined by Archbishop Joseph Tabji of Maronite Church of Aleppo, Rev. Ibrahim Nseir of the Arab Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Aleppo, and others. Each called for peace, and an end to foreign support of terrorists who are trying to rid Syria of its secular, pluralistic, free society. (Photo from Gabbard’s website, courtesy of Abraham Williams) (CNSNews.com) – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, says she made a secret, four-day trip to Syria — meeting with ordinary people and even President Bashar al-Assad — because the suffering of the Syrian people “has been weighing heavily on my heart.” “I wanted to see if there was in some small way, a way that I could express the love and the aloha and the care that the American people have for the people of Syria, and to see firsthand what was happening there, to see that situation there,” …

Liberation of Aleppo is the most serious setback for the US in 15 years

by Tim Anderson, via Khamenei In late 2016, at the cost of many young lives, Syrian forces took back the eastern part of the city of Aleppo, occupied by NATO and Saudi backed terrorists for more than four years. The liberation of Aleppo, Syria’s second city and an ancient marvel, represents the most serious setback for the 15-year long Washington-led aggression on the entire region. An effective re-colonization of the region has stretched from Afghanistan to Libya, under a range of false pretexts. Invasions and proxy wars have been backed by economic sanctions and wild propaganda. But this great war of aggression – called the creation of ‘New Middle East’ by former US President George W. Bush – has hit a rock in Syria.  The massive proxy armies bought and equipped by Washington and its regional allies the Saudis, Turkey, Qatar and Israel, have been beaten back by a powerful regional alliance which supports the Syrian nation. The endgame in Aleppo involves a handful of foreign agents – US, Saudi, Israeli and others – said …

Syrian opposition’s response to the offensive in Aleppo

by Sophie Mangal According to The Washington Post, the ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition is considering the possibility of closer cooperation with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.  Bashar al-Assad’s opponents are now afraid to remain without the US support as the CIA began secretly shipping lethal aid to the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad three years ago. It is worth mentioning that the new president-elect of the USA has stressed he adheres to a completely opposite position on Syria.  Moreover, Trump has also noted that it is necessary to stop the supply of weapons to the Syrian opposition because the US has no understanding of what they (the opposition) really are. Realizing the complexity of the situation and the fact that Syrian opposition’s war crimes would never be forgotten and forgiven, its leaders are beginning to look for alternatives. First of all, the rebels’ agenda is to strike a close alliance with the better armed Al Qaeda and other extremist groups.  A massive outflow of the fighters from the ‘moderate’ opposition to groups such as Jabhat …

Al-Qaeda morale in Aleppo collapses, Western campaign against Russian bombing ends

A flyer dropped by the Syria Air Force over East Aleppo, intimating Islamist fighters surrounded there`to “Exit Now!” the area or face the same fate as their killed commanders pictured in the flyer. Alexander Mercuris writes in The Duran: One place where Donald Trump’s election victory has had an immediate effect is in the battlefield around Aleppo. Reports from the area of the battlefield speak of a total collapse of morale amongst the Al-Qaeda led Jihadi forces which have been attacking the city from the south west, as whatever lingering hopes there were of a Western military intervention following a victory by Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential election have turned to dust. The result is that the Jihadi forces have been rapidly losing ground in the south western suburbs of Aleppo over the last three days, a fact which has apparently obliged Al-Qaeda to draw on its last reserves in order to rush reinforcements to the front to prevent a total collapse there. As always the situation is confused, but it seems the Syrian …

No more “deal with the devil”: Obama directs Pentagon to target Al-Qaeda forces fighting Assad

A (failed) Jabhat Fatah al-Sham suicide attack against the Syrian Army in New Aleppo on November 3. The Washington Post: President Obama has ordered the Pentagon to find and kill the leaders of an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria that the administration had largely ignored until now and that has been at the vanguard of the fight against the Syrian government, U.S. officials said. The decision to deploy more drones and intelligence assets against the militant group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra reflects Obama’s concern that it is turning parts of Syria into a new base of operations for al-Qaeda on Europe’s southern doorstep, the officials said. The move underlines the extent to which Obama has come to prioritize the counter­terrorism mission in Syria over efforts to pressure President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, as al-Nusra is among the most effective forces­­ battling the Syrian government. That shift is likely to accelerate once President-elect Donald Trump takes office. Trump has said he will be even more aggressive in going after militants than Obama, a stance that …