US Calls Upon Sponsors of ISIS-Daesh to “Rebuild” Iraq

US Calls Upon Sponsors of ISIS-Daesh to “Rebuild” Iraq

Like a local mafia that breaks car windows by night and repairs them by day, the United States has enlisted its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners – namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates – to “rebuild” in Iraq in the wake of the defeated, self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) these same states sponsored. 

Reuters in an article titled, “Coalition members must help Iraq rebuild, Tillerson says,” would report (emphasis added):

The U.S. leads the coalition and hopes that after a three-year fight to defeat the militants it can count in large part on Gulf allies to shoulder the burden of rebuilding Iraq and on a Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement to weaken Iran’s influence in the country, which is run by a Shi‘ite led government. 

The article also reports (emphasis added):

Donors and investors have gathered in Kuwait this week to discuss efforts to rebuild Iraq’s economy and infrastructure as it emerges from a devastating conflict with the hardline militants who seized almost a third of the country.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be quoted by Reuters as claiming:

If communities in Iraq and Syria cannot return to normal life, we risk the return of conditions that allowed ISIS to take and control vast territory.

Yet even a causal student of history, military affairs, or modern warfare knows that armies tens of thousands strong, with regional, even global recruiting, training, and logistical networks do not spring up out of poverty or economic ruination. The operation capacity demonstrated by ISIS is only possible with significant state sponsorship.

US Enlists Those Who Sponsored ISIS to Rebuild Iraq 

Mention of Kuwait serving as a venue for “donors and investors” seeking to “reconstruct” Iraq is particularly ironic for those who remember the UK Telegraph’s 2014 article titled, “How our allies in Kuwait and Qatar funded Islamic State.”

The article states (emphasis added):

Islamic State (Isil), with its newly conquered territory, oilfields and bank vaults, no longer needs much foreign money. But its extraordinarily swift rise to this point, a place where it threatens the entire region and the West, was substantially paid for by the allies of the West. Isil’s cash was raised in, or channelled through, Kuwait and Qatar, with the tacit approval and sometimes active support of their governments.

And while the article attempts to frame Kuwait and Qatar’s state-sponsorship of terrorism as a betrayal of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, the fact remains that such sponsorship was not only well known to Western intelligence and political circles, it was the GCC’s ability to raise massive legions of terrorists that formed the cornerstone of the US-GCC alliance against Libya, Syria, Iran, and Shia’a majority Iraq beginning in 2011.

It was revealed in a leaked 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo that the US and its GCC – as well as Turkish – allies sought the creation of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria for the specific purpose of “isolating” the Syrian government.

The 2012 memo (PDF) would state specifically that:

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran). 

The DIA memo would also explain who these “supporting powers” are:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

That “Salafist principality” would eventually take shape as the so-called “Islamic” (Salafist) “State” (principality) and be used specifically to both pressure the Syrian government in Damascus as well as create a pretext for the permanent occupation of Syrian territory by US military forces when US proxies stood little chance of holding it themselves.

While the US declares ISIS more or less defeated, the fact remains that militants still fighting on in Syria include ISIS fighters in their ranks – and despite superficial differences – those particularly fighting in and around Idlib province in northern Syria are indistinguishable from ISIS in both terms of extremist ideology and from which states they receive their funding and weapons.

Rebuilding or Retrenching? 

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A similar slash and burn method was used in Iraq to invite a greater US role in Iraqi security in a conflict that cut a swath of destruction across Iraqi territory, particularly in Sunni-majority regions of Iraq.

The conflict created an opportunity for the US to strengthen Kurds in northern Iraq to further isolate and diminish the power of the Shia’a majority-led government in Baghdad, as well as create a pretext for US-GCC “rapprochement” as Reuters put it – to knock Sunni-majority regions of Iraq out of Baghdad’s orbit.

Reports in October last year indicated that the US was particularly interested in Iraqi highways connecting Baghdad with Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Analysts speculated that this was literally an inroad into Iraq the US and its GCC allies could use to not only build a permanent foothold in Iraq upon, but also a logistical corridor the “coalition” could use to bring in a future wave of militants aimed at rolling back Iran and its allies in neighboring Iraq and Syria.

Unlike in Syria where Russian airpower in 2015 quickly targeted and eliminated ISIS’ logistical networks streaming out of NATO territory in Turkey, highways in Iraq controlled by US contractors with a possible US military presence there as well would make repeating Russia’s success infinitely more difficult.

Kurdish media has also reported that the money Secretary Tillerson lobbied the GCC to contribute would also flow into northern Iraq. While under the guise of reconstruction aid, the investments in truth will give the GCC greater influence over the Kurds as well.

Pushing Out Iran 

While the United States attempts to credit itself and its GCC partners with the defeat – rather than the creation of ISIS – it was in fact Iran’s role in both Iraq and Syria that provided the key to the organization’s defeat.

From across the Western media itself, articles like The Atlantic’s “The Shia Militias of Iraq” and PBS’ “Iraq’s Shia Militias: The Double-Edged Sword Against ISIS” admit to the central role Iran and its allies within Iraq played in defeating ISIS.

The wars the US and GCC launched against Syria and Iraq by proxy were aimed primarily at Iran. The rise of ISIS emerged from the proxy conflict’s failure to topple the Syrian government and move quickly onward to Iran.

The momentum of the West’s proxy campaign against Iran has been broken, leaving the West searching for footholds, while it continues whittling away at both Damascus and Tehran.

While the US claims it must “weaken Iran’s influence” in Iraq, it is only because it seeks to impose its own will on both Baghdad and the Middle Eastern region itself. For Iran, ties with Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East are owed to geographical proximity, shared history, and socioeconomic and religious ties that stretch back centuries. For the United States, its presumed role in the region stems solely out of its desire for hegemony – economic and geopolitical – in the same vein as traditional colonialism.

Watching the Footholds 

Iraq has proven a desire to prevent its involuntary reordering in the wake of ISIS. Baghdad mobilized military forces that swiftly rolled Kurdish forces back to their pre-ISIS boundaries after Kurds took, and announced they would then hold them after ISIS forces vacated them.

A similar story appears to have unfolded regarding US attempts to control Iraqi highways leading out of Baghdad toward Iraq’s neighbors to the west and south. Iraq appears determined to assert its control over its own territory.

However, investments in the form of both obvious and more subtle footholds will likely still develop in the wake of ISIS’ defeat. What the US-GCC backed ISIS campaign destroyed will be rebuilt – and likely by US-GCC contractors representing US-GCC interests.

Watching these footholds develop and gauging Baghdad and its Iranian allies’ response to them will be essential in discerning what future opportunities the US-GCC might attempt to exploit amid their next attempt to reassert control over a Middle East quickly slipping away from them.

*

Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published.

All images in this article are from the author.

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US Allies SDF Release Other Primary Pentagon Allies, ISIS, Back Into the Fight Against Assad

Members of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gather at the al-Tanak oil field as they prepare for a military campaign near the city of al-Bukamal, Dayr al-Zawr Province, eastern Syria, on May 1, 2018. (Photo by AFP)
Members of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gather at the al-Tanak oil field as they prepare for a military campaign near the city of al-Bukamal, Dayr al-Zawr Province, eastern Syria, on May 1, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Western-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants, has reportedly released foreign Daesh elements, including Europeans, back to the Takfiri terrorist group through secret prisoner swap deals.

The British Daily Telegraph cited people with knowledge of the talks between the two sides and relatives of those detained as saying that the SDF had struck three agreements with Daesh to exchange terrorists and their families with its own captured members.

The first exchange, which took place in February, involved about 200 mostly Chechen and Arab Daesh terrorists as well as a number of French and at least one German, the report said.

It further noted that the terrorists were bused out of SDF-run detention centers to Daesh-held areas in eastern Syria.

In another prisoner swap deal in April, 15 Daesh elements and 40 women and children, including Moroccans, French, Belgians and Dutch, were exchanged, according to the report.

The third swap also involved wives of Daesh terrorists earlier this month.

However, the report said, four of the 15 mediators of the agreements were later assassinated, causing the remaining negotiators to withdraw from further discussions.

The SDF, which is dominated by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants, controls swathes of northern and eastern Syria.

The group has recently taken into captivity several foreign Daesh members, particularly since it fully captured the northern Syrian city of Raqqah in October 2017.

People walk past rubble of damaged buildings in Raqqah, Syria, on May 14, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

The SDF has complained that it does not have the capacity to keep Daesh prisoners and that the Western countries have refused to take responsibility for their nationals.

Back in March, SDF spokesman Gabriel Kino told the Middle East Eye news portal that the group had called on the Western states to take action regarding the issue of foreign Daesh prisoners.

“The SDF so far has captured thousands of IS (Daesh) militants, both Syrian or foreign fighters that joined IS during the last few years,” he said.

“We send letters to ask foreign governments to take these foreign fighters back and put them on trial, but so far we have not received any responses.”

Earlier this month, SDF officials expressed the group’s readiness to hold talks with Damascus over the future of the territory under its control.

It came after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused Washington of using the “SDF card now” that other US-backed militant outfits have lost ground on the battlefield.

Assad also stressed that his government had two options in dealing with the SDF issue: first, negotiations and second using force against the militants.

“We don’t have any other option. So, this is our land, it’s our right, and it’s our duty to liberate it, and the Americans should leave, somehow they’re going to leave,” he said.

Car Bomb Attack On Taliban/Afghan Army Eid Celebration–20 Reported Killed

Basir Pashteen Atiqzai‏ @BasirAtiqzai Jun 15

#Taliban and #Afghan security forces jointly celebrates in MaidanWardak province. The unprecedented move towards peace and ceasefire is gaining hearts of the #Afghans.

An explosion at a gathering of Taliban, civilians and security forces claimed the lives of 17 people including Taliban.

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An explosion rocked a gathering of Afghan security forces, civilians and Taliban on Saturday at about 5:30pm, killing at least 17 people, local officials confirmed.

Nangarhar spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said the explosion happened in Rodat district at an Eid gathering between Taliban and Afghan security forces who were celebrating the ceasefire.

According to Khogyani, 17 people were killed and a number of others were wounded including Taliban, security forces and civilians.

Explosives in a Taliban vehicle reportedly exploded.

The explosion happened during the Eid ceasefire between Taliban and the Afghan government.

Afghan government has said it will continue operations against other insurgent groups, including Daesh, and only Taliban are part of the ceasefire.

Daesh militants are active in parts of Nangarhar province.

ISIS Video Simulates Terror Attack By Drone Upon Russia’s Sochi Stadium Depicting Mobs in Flames

Pro-ISIS Video Threatens Attacks on World Cup, Shows Russia’s Sochi Stadium in Flames

On June 13, the pro-ISIS media outlet Al-‘Adiyat released a short video threatening attacks on the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament in Russia. The video consists mainly of a compilation of combat footage from ISIS videos documenting battles in Mosul, Iraq, with a segment from a 2016 video released by the organization’s Caucasus branch in which operatives issue threats to Russia. The final scene is an animated clip of a drone with an ISIS logo surveilling the Olympic village in Sochi and the stadium where the World Cup games are to be held, followed by animated explosions.

Man 1: “Nobody knows that we are mujahideen and that we are operating here in the city – not our families, not our friends, not our work colleagues, and not even our brothers. It is only these few people, and they have been working together for many years. You have been arresting us and you have been afraid of us just because of our beards, even though we have not done anything. You were afraid of what we would do today, and you wanted to postpone it, but today, Allah willing, we will not postpone fighting you anymore. Nobody knows that we are setting out today. We have been lying in wait for you, just like predators do with their prey. I say to the tyrannical rulers: If this group does not get you, another will, Allah willing. We are not ten people, or twenty, or even fifty – we are more. Only Allah knows how many people we have. We are among you, we are your relatives, we are from your cities and villages, we are everywhere. We are lying in wait for you, and we know everything about your moves, Allah willing. So watch out for that moment, watch your cars, watch your homes. The brothers are going to hunt you down, Allah willing.”

[…]

Man 2: “I say to the infidels of Russia: Oh infidels, we are going to get to you after we kill the apostates. By Allah, our soldiers are among you. Oh infidels in Volgograd, watch out. By Allah, we are among you. Oh Jews and Christians, you will not find peace. By Allah, we have sharpened our knives, and we are coming for you. By Allah, the vanguard of our army will get to you, not only from Iraq and Syria, but also from our army in Russia. By Allah, the Province of Caucasus is not our only force. By Allah, you have been defeated the day you waged war against Islam. By Allah, oh Putin, you dog, you will burn in the Hellfire, Allah willing. You will have no protector, and the Devil will leave you on your own. By Allah, oh Russian people, know that we will kill you, because of this tyrant who started a war against us. By Allah, he started the war for his personal goals, but you will be the ones who will pay the price. By Allah, you will not find peace – not even in your homes. By Allah, we will enter your homes, we will take you and slaughter you, even if you hide behind your women. By Allah, we will take your women captive, and we will enslave your children.”

[…]

On screen: “Preparations for surveillance and reconnaissance. Surveillance and reconnaissance of targets. The operation will be executed in the heart of the Crusaders’ land.”

How Many Times Must The Pentagon/CIA Claim To Have Just Killed Terrorist Leader Fazlullah?

[In keeping with the constantly repeating pattern set by the Pentagon/CIA in the beginning of the drone assassination program, we are once again, handed another bit of fake news on an alleged successful execution of another infamous Taliban leader, in this instance, the third reported kill of the notorious “Radio Mullah” (Fazlullah), some secret nefarious purpose must be served by this latest distortion of historical fact in the terror war. ]

SOURCE

[May 27, 2010, the FIRST TIME that “Radio Mullah” was reportedly killed, this time by Afghan ground forces (TTP Swat chief Fazlullah killed in Afghanistan).]

[Dec. 21, 2014, the SECOND TIME that Fazlullah was reported to be killed, but the first time that he was allegedly killed in a US drone assassination ( Pakistan Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah ‘killed in air strike’).]


A U.S. drone strike has targeted the leader of the Pakistani Taliban in an Afghan province near the border with Pakistan, a U.S. military official confirmed to VOA. Unconfirmed reports from locals Thursday said Mullah Fazlullah has been killed.

The U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the strike late Wednesday targeted Fazlullah, the chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

“U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization,” a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Army Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, also told VOA Thursday, without specifying that Fazlullah was the target.

Pentagon officials declined to comment at this time on whether the strike was successful.

U.S. officials said Fazlullah directed numerous high-profile attacks against U.S. and Pakistani targets since he was appointed the group’s leader in 2013, such as the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed 151 people, including more than 130 children.

The U.S. also said Fazlullah ordered the 2012 attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai, who had been advocating for the right of girls to have access to an education.

The U.S. State Department offered a $5 million reward for Fazlullah in March, the same month Pakistani sources said his son was killed in a U.S. drone strike on a TTP training facility.

The strike comes amid a cease-fire between the Afghan Taliban and government security forces to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support, said the United States would adhere to the cease-fire announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which did not include U.S. counterterrorism attacks on other terror groups.

“As previously stated, the cease-fire does not include U.S. counterterrorism efforts against IS-K, al-Qaida, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of U.S. and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked,” O’Donnell told VOA.

VOA Urdu Service, Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.

 

UAE Complains That Pentagon Opted-Out of Hudaida Offensive

[Pentagon denies involvement in Yemen’s Hudaida military offensive]

US rejects UAE request for support to capture Yemeni port city

Saudi-backed forces attack Yemen port 03:05

(CNN)The US rejected a request from the United Arab Emirates to provide military support to the Saudi-led coalition’s operation to capture the Houthi-held port city of Hodeidah, Yemen, US and UAE officials tell CNN.

The US government rejected the coalition’s request for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support as well as the use of an American minesweeper vessel to help clear the area of Houthi mines, a senior UAE official told CNN.
A US official confirmed the request for the minesweeper had been received and that it had been rejected.
The coalition had sought the minesweeper due to the Houthis’ decision to mine the waters near Hodeidah, an action that the UAE official said had prevented the coalition from taking the port.
The UAE official did say the coalition is waiting for a minesweeper from France to clear the mines.
The Emirati official said the request had been rejected within the last 24 hours, saying that while the US did not give a reason for the rejection the official believed the request was denied because of congressional opposition over concerns about potential civilian casualties.
In recent days several members of Congress have publicly criticized the Saudi-led effort to capture Hodeidah, which is seen as a vital lifeline for supplies for war-torn Yemen. Some estimates have said the operation could put hundreds of thousands of lives at risk.
But while the request for US military assistance was denied, the Emirati official said the Trump administration has publicly and privately said it supports the operation, as long as the coalition coordinates with the United Nations, takes efforts to protect civilians and continues to deliver humanitarian aid.
“They did not encourage us, but did not discourage us,” the official said. “Not giving us military assistance is not the same as telling us not to do it.”
The official said the coalition has rolled out a plan for humanitarian aid, including plans to establish a shipping lane to Hodeidah from Abu Dhabi and Jizan, a southern city in Saudi Arabia. The plan includes delivery of food, medical supplies, economic aid and electricity. Several ships in the area are stocked with aid and once the airport is open, that aid will be delivered by air.
The Pentagon would not say Thursday whether it had rejected the request for support but called Hodeidah “critical to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people.”
“We are not directly supporting the coalition offensive on the port of Hodeidah,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told CNN.
The US military has for some time been providing aerial refueling support to coalition warplanes and has provided the coalition with information to help prevent civilian casualties.
The Saudi-led coalition announced Wednesday the launching of the military operation to capture the last Houthi-controlled port. The UAE official said the operation was part of an effort to break the military stalemate between the coalition and the Houthis, who the US and the coalition view as being armed and backed by Iran.
The internationally recognized government of Yemen — led by Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi — has also signaled its support for the Hodeidah operation.
But the attackers have encountered resistance, with one UAE landing craft catching fire after coming under fire from Houthi defenders, Houthi, Emirati and US officials told CNN. The UAE official said four Emirati soldiers were killed in that attack.
The US has said it supports UN-mediated efforts to resolve the issue.
“Secretary of Defense James Mattis strongly supports the efforts of the new UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths, to bring all sides of the conflict to the negotiating table,” Rankine-Galloway, the Pentagon spokesman, told CNN.
The senior UAE official said the coalition gave Griffiths a chance to negotiate with the Houthis and get them to abandon the port but that the Houthis rejected those efforts.