Was Ambassador Christopher Stevens running guns to Syria for the CIA when he was killed in September 2012 in Benghazi? New evidence points in that direction. The United States has been repeatedly accused of arming Syrian Islamists, in part with Libyan weapons shipped through Nato to Turkey and then over the border. An interview in Aleppo by a German reporter (1), released this week and given wide coverage in Germany and Russia but little elsewhere , brings further proof to the allegations. But US complicity with the Islamists goes much deeper.
A commander with the Jabhat Al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, says they “have won battles thanks to US made TOW rockets” given to them by friends of the United States. Abu Al Ezz told the German reporter, Jürgen Todenhöfer, “our tanks came from Libya via Turkey, joined by the multiple rocket launchers.” Al Ezz said his group has the support of the United States.
Al Ezz also told the reporter “Israel is now giving us support because Israel is at war with Syria and with Hezbollah.” He said when Al Nusra were besieged they had “officers from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and America” in Aleppo to help them with “the use of satellites, rockets, reconnaissance and thermal security cameras.” Wounded Islamic fighters have been treated in both Israel and Turkey.
The commander congratulated the West for “paving the way” for fighters to come to Syria. “We have many fighters from Germany, France, Britain, America, from all the Western countries.”
You will remember that Al Nusra changed its name over the Summer to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham under US pressure because of its identification as the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate. But Al Ezz confirmed in the interview that they are still with Al Qaeda. He said they were once in the same group with Islamic State but complained IS had become too political, “drifted away from our principles” and are manipulated. “Most of the IS leaders are working with intelligence services,” Al Ezz said, “and it’s now clear for us. We, the Jabhat Al-Nusra, have our own way,”
Jürgen Todenhöfer, 75, who writes for the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, conducted the interview with Abu Al Ezz in a stone quarry in Aleppo on September 17. He made the front pages in early 2015 when he became the first western reporter to conduct interviews with Islamic State in Mosul and other areas under their control in December 2014. In his book, Ten Days Inside IS, he showed that they are well organized with a functioning infrastructure. They come across as a theological facsist state with a mafia based economy.
Al-Nusra rejected the ceasefire brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in mid-September. In that interview Al Ezz said : “We do not recognize the ceasefire. We will regroup our groups. We will carry out the next overwhelming attack against the regime in a few days. We have regrouped our forces in all provinces, including Homs, Aleppo, Idlib and Hama.” He was not alone in rejecting the US-Russia deal. Generals in Washington also refused to go along with coordinating air attacks with the Russians. This from the New York Times on September 14 :
- “I’m not saying yes or no,” Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, commander of the United States Air Forces Central Command, told reporters on a video conference call. “It would be premature to say that we’re going to jump right into it.”
Two days later, the US bombed a Syrian air base killing 62 soldiers and wounding over 100 others and paved the way for a successful IS offensive in the area. One major problem in dealing with the conflict in Syria is the US and Russia cannot agree on who is a “terrorist” and who is not.
But the very fact the military command can pick and choose what orders it will accept from the US government is frightening. The US military has been given a very free reign since 9/11 and apparently they do a lot of ‘picking and choosing’ including who to arm, train and support. It appears that all those who really want to know, realize the US is arming ‘bad guys’ in Syria to topple the regime of Bachar al Assad.
“This is a game everybody knows,” Todenhöfer told Russia Today. “It’s very clear that the Americans know that their weapons will in the end be in the hands of terrorists.”
Todenhöfer goes on to say: “The CIA was coordinating the weapons’ delivery from Turkey and they brought the weapons to the border…These weapons were taken by terrorist groups, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State. This is well known.”
One tactic to get US weapons to Islamist groups is through third parties such as Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Another tactic has been for these groups to change their names and be proclaimed “moderate” and then receive the weapons.
But given all the evidence, shouldn’t this be the subject of debate on what happened in Benghazi in September 2012, and not emails or reaction time? Or is it that neither Republicans, nor Democrats, want to admit that they have a program to arm, train and finance Islamic terrorists?
- Todenhöfer posted the interview in German on his Facebook page but you can hear it in English on Russia Today‘s website.