ISIS Orphans al-Nusra Front, Cutting Its Funding

Syria: ISIS Orphans al-Nusra Front, Cutting Its Funding

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Opposition fighters open fire taking cover from behind a car during fightings in the Salaheddin district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on 9 October 2013. (Photo: AFP – Karam al-Masri)

By: Radwan Mortada

Published Thursday, October 10, 2013

The conflict between jihadis in Syria is not over. Although the differences have not led to internal armed conflict, the financial impact has hit al-Nusra Front, whose funding was cut off recently by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Attempts at reconciliation have failed, and the ISIS emir rejects arbitration.

The Islamist Spring has only just begun, but its followers are already beginning to split. This is a fatal blow to the jihadis, especially since attempts at arbitration have failed more than once, the reason being Syria. The country used to be “where the heart is” for jihadis, but now they are fighting over its control.

Attempts at mediation by some sheikhs have failed due to the reticence of ISIS emir, Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Following al-Qaeda’s Ayman Zawahiri’s statement calling for al-Nusra Front to remain in the field and for ISIS to withdraw to its bases, Baghdadi rejected the idea through a voice recording titled, “The State [ISIS] Will Remain.”

The dispute among the emirs led to a conflict on the field between the fighters. This led the ISIS emir to boycott al-Nusra Front’s commander Sheikh Abu Mohammed al-Golani, calling him a “renegade who split from the Islamic State.” Additionally, ISIS spokesperson Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, in another audio recording, attacked Golani, accusing him of “going against consent, breaking the stick, and sowing the seeds of discord among jihadis.”

Adding to the boycott, ISIS decided to cut off financial and other kinds of support it used to provide to al-Nusra Front, which negatively impacted the morale of Nusra fighters, since all their needs were provided by ISIS.

According to jihadi sources, ISIS’ main source of funding, in addition to ransoming hostages, are the oil fields they control inside Iraq. This has been supplemented recently by oil fields in the Syrian cities of al-Raqqa and Deir al-Zour.

The funding slash went hand-in-hand with an ideological disagreement over the designation of a leader. The decision of whom to follow was left to the fighters and most decided to remain with Nusra. Their position was supported by Zawahiri, who decided to support Golani in this phase. However, hundreds of fighters switched to ISIS, saying “the banner of the State is bigger than that of the Front. Thus, ISIS is more worthy of allegiance.”

To this effect, information is beginning to surface about an internal debate in al-Qaeda’s Supreme Shura Council on whether ISIS in an intrinsic part of the mother organization or if it became an independent jihadi organization.

Al-Nusra Front is now facing a financial crisis and lack of liquidity, but this does not impact its military equipment since its fighters were able to capture weapons factories in several areas. However, the group is now an orphan, despite being the official arm of al-Qaeda. Islamist sources explain that it fights the battle of unifying the Islamist front.

To this effect, an agreement to unify Islamist brigades active in Syria was signed by al-Nusra Front with several groups, the main components of this alliance being Ahrar al-Sham, led by Abu Abdullah al-Hamwi; al-Tawhid brigade, led by Abdul Qadir Saleh; and Liwaa al-Islam led by Zahran Alloush.

Despite rumors about a disagreement between the alliance’s leadership and Alloush, sources from both sides maintain that “the relationship is more than fine.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Saudi Terrorists Assassinate Another “Rebel” Syrian Leader

[If Bandar’s terrorists continue to murder the Syrian opposition, then there will be NO MORE FREE SYRIAN ARMY, only freaking insane “Islamists” will be left on the battlefield (SEE: Al-Qaeda In Iraq Executes 7 “Brigade of Strangers” Terrorists ).  Obama and the CIA cannot help but see this fact, therefore, if Islamist terrorists are murdering the “moderate” opposition, then it is because that is what Obama wants.]

Syria: Did Saudi Assassinate Armed Opposition Leader?

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An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on September 12, 2013, shows the Liwa al-Tawhid brigade high commander, Abdul Qader Al-Salih, seaking to rebel fighters at an undisclosed location in Syria. (Photo: AFP – Youtube)

By: Suhaib Anjarini

Taliban Adamant That Prolonging Occupation Rules-Out Peace Negotiations

Photo by Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty

Taliban Slams Loya Jirga Bilateral Security Agreement

With the Bilateral Security Agreement between Kabul and Washington in limbo, Taliban commanders say any continued U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan will ensure ‘jihad forever.’

The wizened, battle-hardened Taliban commander, who has been fighting for Mullah Mohammad Omar for the past 15 years, had been considering an option over the past year that he never would have imagined before. He had heard that U.S. and coalition military forces would likely be withdrawing voluntarily from the country by the end of next year. If that proved to be true, he thought, he would seriously contemplate the possibility of leaving the insurgency and trusting that a peace treaty between the Taliban and the Afghan government could be hammered out in the absence of foreign forces.

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai holds a copy of a weekly security report during the last day of the Loya Jirga in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Nov. 24, 2013. (Rahmat Gul/AP)

But his reverie of peace was shattered when a traditional Afghan grand council meeting this past weekend, under the leadership of President Hamid Karzai, unanimously approved a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington that would allow a large contingent of some 10,000 U.S. and coalition troops to remain in Afghanistan for another decade. His immediate reaction to the news was deep disappointment, even outrage. “I was thinking that if all foreign troops left Afghanistan I would seriously consider laying down my weapons and place my hopes in peace,” the commander, who declines to be quoted by name, tells The Daily Beast. “But now I will fight on and never disarm as long as there is a presence of infidel forces in my country. Any hope I had for peace is now dead.”

Like many other Taliban, the commander fails to understand the logic of Kabul wanting to prolong the war for another decade or more, while at the same time killing the prospect of reaching a peaceful settlement to end the destructive 12-year-old conflict. “Doesn’t Kabul understand that peace talks with the Taliban are more important than having foreign forces here,” the commander asks. “The whole point of our long and hard resistance was to expel these foreign troops from the country.”

“Now we will redouble our efforts as more Afghans rally to our cause to fight the remaining invaders,” he adds.

His remarks are echoed throughout the Taliban’s ranks. “This permanent American military presence will continue to fuel the insurgency even more,” says Zabihullah, a senior Taliban political operative who has close ties to the insurgency’s top leadership. “Without the American presence there would have been hope for a negotiated solution but not anymore.”

The new security pact will likely silence forever the moderate Taliban voices that have long been arguing in favor of negotiations. “This is a setback for those Taliban who had been raising their voices in favor of negotiations against those with the ‘jihad forever’ mentality in our ranks,” Zabihullah says. “Now such voices will become weaker, if not silent.”

“With the continuing U.S. military presence, our most militant warriors will have a strong argument for their position of ‘jihad forever,’” he says.

Other Taliban commanders agree. “We have even more justification to attack this government that continues to be protected by U.S. forces,” says Mullah Haji Jan Muhammad Akhund, a Taliban commander in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. “Karzai just sold our precious mud and land to the Americans for another decade or longer. This cannot be tolerated.”

“This is a setback for those Taliban who had been raising their voices in favor of negotiations against those with the ‘jihad forever’ mentality in our ranks.”

One senior Taliban officer is even buoyed by the BSA. He expects it will motivate younger Afghans to flock to the Taliban now that it seems foreign forces will stay in Afghanistan indefinitely, pushing any peace deal off the table. “This long-term presence of infidel forces will definitely attract more Afghans to the jihad,” the officer says. “Now everyone knows there is no hope for peace talks any longer, and that we are now entering into 10 or more years of war.”

Zabihullah believes the pact will also put the Taliban back on the global jihadists’ map. “The continued presence of U.S. troops for years to come will serve to attract worldwide jihadists back to our cause,” he says.

A senior government minister in Kabul is more sanguine about the possibility of eventually restarting peace talks. He doesn’t believe that the prospect of peace negotiations with the Taliban has vanished with the passage of the security agreement. “Perhaps in the short run it is understandable that the Taliban are disappointed, even angry, about the BSA,” the senior minister, who does not want to be quoted by name, tells The Daily Beast. “But peace talks are a long process that should be pursued. We cannot rule out a resumption of the talks at some future time.”

The minister, like many Afghans—particularly those living in urban areas—strongly believes the security pact is in the country’s interests. “The deal secures a commitment of the U.S. and the international community to Afghanistan in the long run,” he says. “It is vital to our security and economy.” A popular Afghan blogger Majeed Qarar goes even further. “This Afghan-American security deal means the end of the Taliban,” he writes.

But Zabihullah, the Taliban political operative, believes the BSA will only strengthen the bonds between rural Afghans and the insurgency. “Our villagers strongly believe that it is un-Islamic to keep non-Muslim forces in our country,” he says. The senior Afghan minister agrees. Although Karzai told the Loya Jirga, the grand council meeting, that all of Afghanistan’s neighbors except Iran supported the deal to maintain a U.S. military presence for another decade, the minister is not so sure. He fears a rural domestic backlash and continued foreign meddling as a result of the pact. “The reaction of many Afghans and our neighbors and the Russians is cautious, even negative,” he says. “But we are doing this in our own national interest.” He, like many Afghans, fears that Pakistan, regardless of the agreement, will continue to intervene, offering safe haven and other means of support to the insurgents.

The minister also worries that a long-term foreign presence may also mean continued cultural and religious clashes between Afghans and U.S. and coalition soldiers. Cultural and religious flashpoints have nearly broken Afghan-U.S. relations in the past, such as when U.S. soldiers inadvertently burned Korans, and when a U.S. sergeant went on a rampage, murdering 16 Afghan civilians and children in their homes. Then there are also the scores of “insider attacks” in which Afghan security forces have trained their weapons on their foreign allies, largely over misunderstandings. The minister fears that now even lesser frictions could scupper the new agreement. “Afghans are sensitive by nature and any cultural or religious misbehavior by U.S. soldiers could have disastrous consequences for the security pact and the U.S. presence,” he says. “Even false propaganda that U.S. soldiers had raped Afghan women would create a huge reaction.”

Yet the BSA is not a done deal. President Karzai’s histrionics at the four-day grand council meeting have left the agreement hanging in limbo even though the some-2,500 hand-picked Loya Jirga delegates unanimously approved it. Karzai had raised a number of emotional issues for Afghans during his fiery speeches, for example, the hated night raids by U.S. soldiers into Afghan homes. Finally, he seemed to put the entire pact on hold, saying he would not sign the agreement until his successor had been elected in next April’s presidential election. This would be a potential deal breaker for the U.S., which had been demanding that the BSA must be signed no later than the end of this year.

The Taliban are not concerned about this or any other deadlines. For them, the damage has already been done. They feel betrayed by the pact and have concluded that peace negotiations are no longer an option, and thus the only option is continued war. As a result, Afghanistan is most likely condemned to a protracted conflict until 2024 and perhaps beyond.

Al-Qaeda In Iraq Executes 7 “Brigade of Strangers” Terrorists

“The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the implementation of the death sentence for “good carrot” Brigades “Sham strangers” with five of its components, and the execution was “shot” at the headquarters of the state in Alatareb.
And attributed to a carrot and a banner to do many of the looting and pillaging, and has already been prosecuted by the Shariah with the help of many factions of the military opposition without being able to stop the excesses, before the Islamic state to arrest him.
I wish all the viewers to put in an impressive Aluotob because such videos are deleted from YouTube!!!”

Ghuraba al-Sham (Arabic: غرباء الشام‎ Ghurabā’ ash-Shām, “Strangers/Foreigners of the region of Syria“) is a group made up of jihadists of Turkish and former Eastern bloc origin[1] who have participated in the smuggling of foreign fighters to Iraq, have intervened in Lebanon during the 2007 Lebanon conflict[6] and have fought in Syria during the Syrian civil war.[1]

Video shows execution of Syrian rebels by al-Qaeda-linked group

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Reuters, Beirut

A still from an unverified video apparently shows masked men executing rival Syrian rebels. (YouTube)

Al-Qaeda-linked militants have executed the commander of a rival rebel faction and six of his men, an amateur video of the public execution showed, part of their campaign to marginalise other groups.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, have taken advantage of a power vacuum in rebel-held areas to assert its authority over more moderate elements of the armed opposition.

The video, posted online by the anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group on Wednesday, shows armed men in black standing below an ISIL banner.

The Observatory said the video was taken in the northern Syrian town of Atarib in Idlib province. Its authenticity could not be independently confirmed.

A masked man on the video identifies seven men kneeling as members of the Ghurabaa al-Sham brigade, a moderate Islamist group that was one of the first to fight Assad. A man who appeared to be Commander Hassan Jazera was among them.

“Hassan Jazera is the most corrupt and the biggest thief,” said the man. He spoke into a microphone to a crowd of men, some of whom used their mobile phones to film the killing.

Tried and shot

The man, reading from a piece of paper, said Jazera’s men were also charged with kidnapping and had been tried in a religious court run by ISIL. They were then shot in the head.

In May, an alliance of Islamist groups moved against Ghurabaa al-Sham following a disagreement over territory and complaints of looting. Jazera’s unit of around 100 fighters was all that was left of Ghurabaa al-Sham’s roughly 2,000 men, fighters from that group told Reuters this summer.

Jazera and his men were arrested by ISIL a month ago, the UK-based Observatory said.

The rise of al-Qaeda in Syria has forced some in the West to temper calls for Assad’s removal from power.

In August, ISIL took control of the northern border town of Azaz, expelling western-backed Free Syrian Army units. On Friday, ISIL captured a second border town, ousting a moderate Islamist rebel unit and detaining its leader.

The Syrian uprising against four decades of Assad family rule started in 2011 and erupted into a civil war after Assad’s forces shot demonstrators and deployed tanks to crush the protest movement. More than 120,000 people have been killed and millions have been displaced.

Saudi/Israeli Terrorist Union

The Wahhabi-Likudnik war of terror

Asia Times

The double suicide bombing targeting the Iranian embassy in Beirut – with at least 23 people killed and 170 wounded – was a de facto terror attack happening on 11/19. Numerology-wise, naturally 9/11 comes to mind; and so the case of the Washington-declared war on terror metastasizing – largely conducted by oozy forms of Saudi “intelligence”.

Yet don’t expect the “West” to condemn this as terror. Look at the headlines; it’s all normalized as “blasts” – as if children were playing with firecrackers.

Whether carried out by a hazy al-Qaeda-linked brigade or by

Saudi spy chief Bandar bin Sultan’s (aka Bandar Bush’s) goons, the Beirut terror attack is essentially configured as a major, Saudi-enabled provocation. The larger Saudi agenda in Syria implies getting both Hezbollah and Iran to be pinned down inside Lebanon as well. If that happens, Israel also wins. Once again, here’s another graphic illustration of the Likudnik House of Saud in action.

Nuance also applies. Bandar Bush’s strategy, coordinated with jihadis, was to virtually beg for Hezbollah to fight inside Syria. When Hezbollah obliged, with only a few hundred fighters, the jihadis scurried away from the battlefield to implement plan B: blowing up innocent women and children in the streets of Lebanon.

While Hezbollah welcomes the fight, wherever it takes place, Tehran’s position is more cautious. It does not want to go all out against the Saudis – at least for now, with the crucial nuclear negotiation on the table in Geneva, and (still) the possibility of a Geneva II regarding Syria. Yet the House of Saud is not welcoming Geneva II anytime soon because it has absolutely nothing to propose except regime change.

On Syria, the main pillar of Bandar Bush’s strategy is to turn the previously “Free” Syrian Army into a “national army” of 30,000 or so fully weaponized hardcore fighters – mostly supplied by the “Army of Islam”, which is nothing but a cipher for the al-Qaedesque Jabhat al-Nusra. King Playstation of Jordan, also known as Abdullah, collaborates as the provider of training camps near the Syrian border. Whatever happens, one thing is certain; expect Bandar Bush’s goons to be carrying out more suicide bombings on both Lebanon and Syria.

The Zionist/Wahhabi/Salafi axis
The dodgy al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades in theory exist since 2005, placing the odd bomb here and there. One sheikh Sijareddin Zreikat tweeted responsibility for the Beirut terror attack. Curioser and curioser, the claim was “discovered” and translated into English by the Israeli disinformation website SITE. [1]

Yet another Israeli intelligence disinformation site, DEBKAfile, claimed the terror attack was an Iran/Hezbollah false flag, based on a “Saudi warning” reaching “Western intelligence agencies, including Israel”. [2] The rationale, according to “Saudi intelligence”, was “to convince Hezbollah fighters consigned against their will to the Syrian battlefield”.

This does not even qualify as pathetic. Hezbollah is basically defending the Lebanese-Syrian border, and has only a few hundred fighters inside Syria. Moreover, no string of suicide bombings will deter Hezbollah and Tehran from regaining control of what really matters in the Syrian strategic context; the Qalamoun area.

Qalamoun, ringed by mountains, is a 50-kilometer stretch bordering the Bekaa valley in Lebanon, between Damascus and al-Nabk, and right on the absolutely critical Damascus-Homs corridor of the M5 highway. The Syrian army is on the offensive in Qalamoun. Recapturing the whole area is just a matter of time. This means controlling the northern approach to Damascus. Hezbollah is helping in the offensive out of Bekaa valley. This does not mean they will camp out in Syria afterwards.

Now for the false flag accusation. As far as real false flags are concerned, one just has to re-examine three recent international bombings that supposed victimized Israel. In India the bomb had no projectiles; it barely injured an Israeli attache. In Azerbaijan the bomb was miraculously “discovered” before it went off. And in Thailand, the bomb exploded too soon, injuring only a nearby Iranian.

Crass Israeli disinformation is unmasked when it leaps into this conclusion:

If Tehran is capable of such atrocities merely as a diversionary tactic, then perhaps Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin ought to take a really hard look at their negotiating partner across the table before signing a major deal Wednesday, Nov. 20, which leaves Iran’s nuclear program in place.

So this neatly ties up with the current Israeli hysteria about the Geneva negotiations, which also includes the umpteenth report by a News Corporation outfit, London’s Sunday Times, that Saudi Arabia will help Israel to attack Iran. [3]

It also ties up with the proverbial US shills spinning, gloating rather, that, “strategically, this de-facto Israeli alliance with the Saudis is an extraordinary opportunity for Israel”. [4]

Even such shills have to admit that the House of Saud is “blocking formation of any government in Lebanon, for example, to obstruct Iran’s ally, Hezbollah”. “Blocking” of course is a euphemism to normalize suicide bombing.

And then comes the ultimate wishful thinking disguised as “analysis”; Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu “bidding to replace the United States as military protector of the status quo”. Translation; the Likudniks dreaming of becoming the new military Mob boss of petrodollar Wahhabis.

The enablers
Bandar Bush’s strategy – weaponizing and providing cover to Salafis, jihadis and every patsy or mercenary in between – will go on unabated. After Bandar Bush convinced Washington to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood-friendly Qataris, the Saudis are the supreme warfare go-to channel. The Bandar Bush machine has ties with virtually every jihadi outfit in the Levant.

It certainly helps that Bandar has the perfect cover; the fact that he knows and has cajoled every significant player in Washington. In the US, Bandar Bush remains a dashing hero, even eliciting fawning comparisons with Gatsby. [5] Right. And my name is actually Daisy.

Even with its own embassy attacked in Lebanon, Iran is maintaining an extremely calibrated approach. The number-one priority is the nuclear negotiations in Geneva with the partner that really matters, the US. This explains Iran blaming the Beirut terror attack on the proverbial “Zionists”, and not Saudi-enabled jihadis posing as “rebels” and part of the whole Bandar Bush nebula.

For the moment though, enough of Orwellian newspeak. What happened in Beirut was a terror attack, cheered by Israel, and fully enabled by Saudis; a graphic display by the Likudnik-House of Saud axis.

Notes:
1. Al-Qaida-linked group claims responsibility for deadly Beirut attack, Ha’aretz, November 19, 2013.
2. Incredible! Beirut bombings killing 25 people were self-inflicted by Iran and Hizballah as a diversionary tactic, DEBKAfile, November 19, 2013.
3. Israel, Saudi Arabia Unite For Attack On Iran, RT, November 17, ’13.
4. The stakes of an Iranian deal, Washington Post, November 15, 2013.
5. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s Gatsby, Master Spy, The Daily Beast, November 16, 2013.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.