Despite propaganda, the ISIS-takfiri terrorists are being supported, trained and armed by the US, NATO and its regional puppets. Washington just signed an agreement with Turkey to train “moderate” rebels to fight in Syria. Isn’t this what the US has been doing in Jordan for more than two year? ZAFAR BANGASH*
The horrific video released on February 3 showing the burning death of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh has sent shockwaves throughout the world. Such barbarism has few parallels in history and certainly none in Islamic history. Islam expressly forbids such cruel punishment despite the demented logic of the takfiris who go by different names: Da‘ish, ISIS, ISIL or even IS.
Al-Kasasbeh was put in a steel cage, doused with kerosene and set on fire. He screamed and writhed in pain as the fire consumed him. Just watching the video was horrifying; one can imagine the pain the young man must have suffered in those agonizing minutes that must have seemed like eternity for him. Prior to setting him on fire, Kasasbeh was walked through the rubble of buildings that were allegedly destroyed by aerial bombings. Al-Kasasbeh’s US-supplied F-16 plane had crashed due to technical problems; the takfiri terrorists captured him near Raqqa around Christmas time.
Horrific though it was, the video was produced to the best of Hollywood standards. Who was behind filming such a fantastic video and that too in the war zone? More critically, who is backing and supporting the takfiris? Muslim leaders — the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei of Iran, Hizbullah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir — have stated quite clearly that the US and its allies or their intelligence agencies — CIA and Mossad — are behind the creation, support, and training of the takfiris. The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has described them as John McCain’s creation.
Even some Western officials, especially former French officials, have blamed the West’s policies for the rise of the takfiris. A few days after the Charlie Hebdo affair in Paris (January 7, 2015), former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said he held Western foreign policy responsible for the multiplication of terrorism hotspots around the world. He added that he regarded ISIS as the “deformed child” of this policy, which he described as arrogant and erratic. He was speaking to France’s BFM TV, according to a report in the Middle East Monitor (January 11, 2015).
The former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, an international lawyer, had provided an interesting insight two years earlier when interviewed by French TV station LCP in June 2013. He told the station, “I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria [started in March 2011] on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate. Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me.”
Dumas pointed the finger specifically at Britain but the US has been deeply involved in instigating conflict in Syria long before the 2011 eruption. There is ample proof of Washington’s involvement that will be addressed later but first let us consider what US officials are currently saying in public.
During a three-day conference at the White House and the State Department in Washington, DC (February 18–20), attended by representatives of some 60 countries including many Muslim countries, President Barack Obama said the US was not at war with Islam but with the extremists who had “hijacked” Islam. He urged Muslim scholars and academics to debunk the extremists’ claim to speak in the name of Islam and the clash of civilizations theory. Fine words indeed but what did he propose to do to confront the extremists? Train “moderates,” of course. Prior to the Washington conference, Obama had already announced that “moderate” rebels would be able to call in US air strikes ostensibly against takfiri targets, but it is clear these will quickly expand to targeting Syrian government forces. He has also asked Congress for authorization of the use of military force (AUMF).
As part of this policy, the US and Turkey signed an agreement on February 19 to train “moderate” Syrian rebels on Turkish soil. This brought into the open what has been going on for several years. Similar arrangements are in place with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Isn’t it interesting that the US always trains “moderate” rebels; after all it could hardly claim to be training “extremists” or “terrorists” but how would the US distinguish between “moderate” and “extremist” rebels?
This is not a new policy. Since October 2012, the CIA and US Special Forces have been training “moderate” Syrian rebels at the Safawi military base in Jordan near the Syrian and Iraqi borders. Presumably, it was some of these “moderate”-turned-extremist Syrian rebels that burned alive the luckless Jordanian pilot on January 3, 2015. American involvement in instigating trouble in Syria predates this barbaric act by nearly a decade as reported by Craig Whitlock in the Washington Post. Citing WikiLeaks cables, he confirmed that the US was funnelling money to Syrian opposition groups as early as May 2005. (Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, April 17, 2011). The London-based satellite channel Barada TV was also set up with US funding in 2009 with the express purpose of beaming anti-government propaganda into Syria. Since the 2011 eruption, Barada TV has ramped up its propaganda as part of the imperialists’ agenda.
“Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development (Harakah al-‘Adalah wa-al-Bana’ fi Suriyah), a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified US diplomatic cables show that the State Department has provided as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 (that is when the group came into existence!) to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria,” reported Whitlock.
As reported by the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, the Syrian crisis was instigated from abroad. There is precise information available, courtesy Dr. Haytham al-Manna‘, a Syrian opposition figure. He revealed that a meeting was convened in a European capital (presumably Paris) in early February 2011 attended by Syrian opposition figures plus US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, former US ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman and then Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan. It was decided that the “uprising” against the Damascus regime would be launched in Der‘a, a small nondescript Syrian town near the Jordanian border, and that weapons paid for by the Saudis and Americans would be smuggled into Der‘a. Dr. al-Manna‘, present at the meeting, was strongly opposed to militarizing the opposition movement fearing it would face a similar fate to the one that befell Hama in 1981. The conspirators had made up their minds and went ahead with the diabolical plot.
Saudi Arabia has admitted to sending weapons to the opposition via Jordan (RT, March 13, 2012). The Washington Post corroborated this by reporting triumphantly that the mercenaries “have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons … paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated … by the US” (Washington Post, May 15, 2012). Even the Mossad-linked Israeli website, debkafile reported that “The Syrian rebels have received their first ‘third generation’ anti-tank weapons. They are supplied by Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies following a secret message from President Barack Obama.” (debkafile.com, May 22, 2012).
Writing in the American Conservative, ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi admitted that the US was involved in Syria and explained how the plan operates, “NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as US proxy. Ankara’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu [now prime minister], has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya.” (theamericanconservative.com, December 19, 2011)
Giraldi further revealed, “Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to… the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers… French and British Special Forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and US Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence.”
Patrick Cockburn of the British daily, The Independent, was even more specific saying British MI6, the CIA and Turkish intelligence are involved in training Syrian rebels to destabilize the government of President Bashar al-Asad. (The Independent, Sunday 13 April 2014). Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky also corroborated this information. Appearing at the NBC News program, “Meet the Press” on June 22, 2014, Paul said the US has been funding ISIS allies and supporting the terrorist group in Syria. “They’re emboldened because we’ve been supporting them… It could be Assad [could have] wiped these people out months ago,” Senator Paul told NBC. “I personally believe that this group would not be in Iraq and would not be as powerful had we not been supplying their allies in the war.”
And as recently as October 2014, Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times reported that “in April 2013, President Obama authorized the CIA to begin a program to arm the rebels at a base in Jordan, and more recently the administration decided to expand the training mission with a larger parallel Pentagon program in Saudi Arabia to train ‘vetted’ rebels to battle fighters of the Islamic State, with the aim of training approximately 5,000 rebel troops per year.” (New York Times, October 14, 2014.)
Rebel mercenary fighters have perpetrated horrible crimes from the start of the anti-government campaign in Syria. These have been confirmed by the UN-mandated Commission of Inquiry report (UN Commission of Inquiry report, February 2012) documenting torture, taking of hostages, and executions by armed opposition fighters, as well as Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch, March 20, 2012) that accused armed rebel fighters of “kidnappings, the use of torture and executions… of security force members, individuals identified as members of government-supported militias, and individuals identified as government allies and supporters.”
According to Spiegel Online, in the Baba Amr neighbourhood of Homs, extremist groups have formed their own laws, courts and death squads. Quoting Abu Rami, a rebel commander in Baba Amir, Spiegel Online reported (March 29, 2012) that in Homs, his group had executed between 200 and 250 people.
Unlike the uprisings in other places — Bahrain and Yemen — the “uprising” in Syria is not indigenous; it is instigated from abroad. Like the turmoil visited upon Libya that left it in shambles including the horrific public lynching of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi by a Western-backed terrorist mob (we came, we saw, he died — Hillary Clinton), the war on Syria is also foreign-inspired and funded. Unlike Libya, however, the Syrian plot did not go according to plan. It was not for lack of trying, shortage of weapons or funding. The Syrian army and establishment have not disintegrated. Similarly, Syria’s allies — Russia, Iran and Hizbullah — have not abandoned it because the stakes are so high. The war on Syria is part of the diabolical plot to undermine and destroy the resistance front to Zionist Israel.
There are two policies at work: the US establishment’s need for perpetual wars, and the protection of Zionist Israel. The first policy has been frequently spelled out starting with the document titled the “Project for the New American Century (PNAC)” prepared in 1997 by what are commonly referred to as the neocons. The group consists of representatives of weapons manufacturers, major corporations and the Israeli lobby. The PNAC called for launching perpetual wars in the Muslim East as a response to a catalytic “Pearl Harbor-type” attack on the United States. This came in the form of 9/11 leading many analysts to dub the September 11, 2001 attacks as an “inside job.”
Soon thereafter, the Pentagon decided to take down seven countries, according to General Wesley Clark, a four-star US Army General who had served as NATO Commander in 1999. In an interview with Democracy Now radio program on March 7, 2007, General Clark revealed that he learned about the plan to attack seven countries during a visit to the Pentagon around September 20, 2001.
Countries on the list included Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and finally Iran. Looking at the mayhem in these countries — some have already been destroyed, such as Somalia and Libya — and others are in various stages of destruction, we can see that the plan is going according to script.
While saving Israel is not spelled out in clear terms, it is always referred to as the US’ “indispensable” or “strategic” ally. Nothing is spared — cash, weapons, and political and diplomatic support — to protect and advance the Zionist project. Zionist rulers can do no wrong even when they kill innocent children in Gaza, Lebanon or elsewhere in the region.
To justify the US’ endless war project, there is need for perpetual enemies. That is where the takfiri terrorists come into play. It is completely hypocritical of the US to claim that it is fighting the terrorists when there is ample proof that the terrorists receive direct support from Washington. While addressing foreign guests at a conference in November 2014, the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei of Iran revealed that on five different occasions, the US had dropped weapons to the takfiri groups in Iraq. Each time, the US claimed to have made a “mistake.” The Rahbar pointed out that one could accept a mistake once or twice, but five times stretches the limits of credulity.
The Americans have also made other “mistakes.” In May 2013, Senator John McCain illegally entered Syria from Turkey. There he met not only General Salim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army but also Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the man who has since declared himself the khalifah of all Muslims! Al-Baghdadi was photographed with McCain and it was released by McCain’s office in what they said was an inadvertent mistake. His office then put out the lame excuse that McCain could not know everyone he was meeting! Really?
Al-Baghdadi had been incarcerated at Camp Buca in Iraq from 2006–2009 and it was there that he was recruited. Given the long history of US plans to destabilize and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Asad in Syria, it is highly unlikely that McCain was unaware of who he was meeting from among the rebels in Syria. Besides, the US has been financing Syrian opposition groups since 2005.
The US launches strikes against Muslim countries killing innocent people that help recruit more people to the takfiri cause. The takfiris perpetrate horrible crimes — public beheadings, burning people alive, etc — to intensify humanity’s hatred for them, and by extension all Muslims, and to build support for more US wars. The takfiris are in fact an essential part of the American and Western establishment’s plan for perpetual war.
*Zafar Bangash is a world-renowned Muslim scholar, editor of Crescent International Magazine in which this article first appeared, author of Power Manifestations of The Sirah, and imam at the York Regional Islamic Centre in Markham, Ontario.