How America armed terrorists in Syria

From Consortium News

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” to curb weapons going to Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, has attracted only 14 co-sponsors pointing to hypocrisy in the “war on terror,” as Gareth Porter explained at The American Conservative.

By Gareth Porter
June 23, 2017

Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.

President Barack Obama walks along the Colonnade at the White House with then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Dec. 7, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups — meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.

That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history.  The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism” — the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.

The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama administration official involved in Middle East issues.

Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert U.S. logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi.

Shipments from Benghazi

CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo.

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The U.S. supplies weapons to al Qaeda in Syria, via Bulgaria

Global Research, May 03, 2017
Inside Syria Media Center
Investigation: Route of Bulgarian Weapon Deliveries to Syrian Islamists Exposed

Inside Syria Media Center has conducted an investigation to expose a U.S.-backed of weapon supplies to the al-Qaeda group in Syria.

The suppliers list starts with U.S. companies Chemring and its affiliate Chemring Ordinance which previous year signed a contract with the American government and received $47 million in accordance with the Non-Standard Equipment and Weapons Procurement Program. Orbital ATK, another U.S. company was granted $50 million within the program.

The Bulgarian newspaper Trud which initiated a journalistic investigation sent an official request to both companies to clarify what the received money was spent on. Chemring responded some ammunition for the U.S. and its allies’ armies was purchased from Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi (VMZ-Sopot). It included 122mm rockets for the Grad MLRS, 73mm anti-tank shells and 40mm ammo for rocket launchers. The other company, Orbital ATK, simply ignored the request.

Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi (VMZ-Sopot)

Ammo of these types is not in service in the U.S. army. The company refused to disclose which U.S. allies it was intended for referring to the confidentiality of the supply contract. To be mentioned is that earlier Inside Syria Media Center wrote a piece on military vehicle deliveries carried out by the Liberty Passion ship via the port of Aqaba in Jordan on the pretext of tackling ISIS. In this case, the Bulgarian weapon supplies to al-Qaeda are transported via the largest Saudi port of Jeddah.

First, the munitions produced by VMZ-Sopot and purchased by the U.S. are delivered to the Bulgarian port of Burgas to be loaded on the Marianne Danica contracting carrier. This carrier has already traded twice in the route from Burgas to Jeddah.

The munitions are loaded on the Marianne Danica contracting carrier. Source: Bernd Wüstneck

To be noted is that the carrier makes no calls at any ports while spending on average 8 hours in Burgas and Jeddah – a minimum time required for fueling and cargo-handling operations, according to the tracking website Marinetraffic.com.

Cargo ship’s tracking data, Source: Marinetraffic.com.

At the same time, Marianne Danica officially declares that it transports extremely dangerous cargo. According to automated Identification System (AIS) type, the cargo is Hazard A (Major) which is the class for explosives and weapons. However, this cargo is evidently not intended for Saudi Arabia as its army is equipped with the armament provided by Western states only.

Neither the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Bulgaria nor the owner of the ship H. Folmer & Co have officially provided the information on the transported cargo along the route Burgas-Jeddah and the Bulgarian weapons’ recipient country.

H. Folmer & Co-owned Marianne Danica carrier at a port. Source: Marinetraffic.com

Moreover, Amnesty International declares this company and carrier had already been involved into a scandal while carrying tear-gas and riot control weapons including arms to Egypt in 2011. Then, the US State Department spokesperson had to admit it pointing out that H. Folmer & Co had allegedly been granted a license to transport armaments.

Col. Malik al-Kurdi

The fact of Bulgarian weapons deliveries to terrorists is confirmed by the FSA deputy commander Col. Malik al-Kurdi. In an interview to the Trud newspaper, he claimed that

“an HQ has been set up in Turkey and Jordan to ensure cooperation between the special services of 15 states. We warned the U.S. and the EU that the weapons delivered in this HQ gets directly in the hands of the terror organizations.”

Bulgarian-made PK variant machine gun (left) and an RPG-7 launcher (right) used in Western Aleppo Province in Syria, according to a Syrian opposition commander who provided the pictures. Source: balkaninsight

It looks like a double game. I can say with certainty that these countries’ special services arm and finance al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, this is happening in Syria. They accuse anyone of terrorism pursuing the goals of their policies”.
As VMZ-Sopot announced its hiring and adopted continuous shift working, new American administration is up to conclude new contracts.

The recipient of the Bulgarian weapon purchased by the U.S. became evident in December 2016 when two million shells and four thousand rockets for the Grad were found at depos in the eastern districts of liberated Aleppo. The depos belonged to Jabhat al-Nusra.

Ammo for the U.S. army? Source: almasdarnews.com

In connection with this, it would be great to ask what ordinary American people, the relatives of 2,977 people killed in the 9/11 attack conducted by al-Qaeda, think about it.

In 16 years, the U.S. government has not avenged the victims nor eliminated al-Qaeda but instead keeps supplying it with the money of American tax payers.

Data related to investigation credit: Bulgarian Trud.

Sophie Mangal is a special investigative correspondent, Co-Editor at Inside Syria Media Center.

Busted: Bulgaria routinely ships weapons to Syrian militants – investigation

April 26th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries have repeatedly been accused of supplying weapons to terrorists. Bulgaria – is no exception. 
According to the news agency “Tass”, another batch of Bulgarian arms to Syria was delivered April 4, 2017 from the port of Burgas (Bulgaria) to the port of “Jeddah” (Saudi Arabia) on the vessel “Marianne Danica”, en route under the flag of Denmark.
It is known that over the last month, the Bulgarian ship has made two trips to Saudi Arabia and returned to Bulgaria for the next “batch”. Saudi Arabia can not realistically be the recipient of the weapons, as the country’s army is equipped with exclusively Western weapons already.
Reporters of the newspaper “Trud”, who published the  original  result of the investigation, also found that the Bulgarian weapons manufacturer “VMZ-Sopot” signed contracts on arms supplies with the US; two companies “Chemring”, in the amount of $47m, (Dec 2016) and Orbital ATK, to the amount of $50m  in January of this year.
VMZ-Sopot, Bulgaria
Payment for orders is made through ‘front companies’ representatives of European command and of the US armed forces.
As a reminder, the previous (and first) noisy case of transportation of Bulgarian arms to Syrian Islamists occurred in December 2016.
Then, journalists visited the city of Aleppo and found 9 Al-Nusra warehouses for heavy machine guns and ammunition, missiles for multiple rocket launchers, all produced in Bulgaria. It turned out that the supplier of ammunition is a Bulgarian privately owned weapons company Arcus from Lyaskovets, and military factory VMZ-Sopot.
The fact that the leadership of the Republic of Bulgaria has repeatedly and convincingly been accused of supplying weapons to Syria, no one, apparently, cares. As a result, Bulgaria, as a member of NATO and the European Union, under the auspices of the United States and through “gray schemes” continues to regularly and illegally redirect weapons to terrorist groups in Syria.

Up to 75 Saudi and Jordanian terrorists killed in the Syrian Army operations

April 9th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Almayadeen – –  translated by Samer Hussein –

Syrian Army annihilated more than 75 terrorists of Al Nusra Front, suicide bombers including, during operations in Mansheya neighborhood of Daraa Al Balad in Daraa. Majority of the terrorists killed were Saudi and Jordanian nationals.

In addition to dozens of the terrorists, headquarters and three rocket launchers, were also destroyed.

Among the killed terrorists were Mohammad Al Ababiz , the leader of Majd Al Islam Battalion and Khaled Mouataz Al Mahamid, the leader of Liwa Tawhid Al Janoub. The latter is known for its association with Al Nusra Front, contains many foreign elements and operates alongside Syrian-Jordanian border.

The Syrian Army also continued with its military operations in the northern countryside of Hama where its units destroyed the headquarters and training grounds of Al Nusra Front and its allies. The army units also carried out strikes on terrorist positions in the town of Al Lataminah, located about 35 km north-west of the city of Hama, resulting in destruction of the terrorist headquarters.

Violent clashes broke out close to the village of Maardis, located north of the city of Hama. Dozens of terrorists were annihilated when their gatherings were hit. The Army also took control of the town of Al Battich, located 3km west of the town of Halfaya, following clashes during which scores of terrorists were killed. Vehicles equipped with machine-guns and several tanks were also destroyed in the raids.

Since March 23rd, Syrian Army and its allies are successfully thwarting the large-scale invasion by terrorists in northern Hama countryside, led by Al Nusra Front terrorists.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/04/up-to-75-saudi-and-jordanian-terrorists.html

Thousands of foreign workers stranded in Saudi Arabia without food or water

From RT

August 3, 2016

Foreign construction laborers in Riyadh © Fahad Shadeed

Almost 16,000 Indian and Pakistani workers are stuck in Saudi Arabian camps without food and water, or visas to leave the country, after construction companies were forced to cut jobs as oil prices plummeted.

There are 7,700 Indians and 8,000 Pakistanis stranded, according to Bloomberg citing the foreign ministries in New Delhi and Islamabad.

More than 4,000 former workers for Riyadh-based construction and management company Saudi Oger have been abandoned in camps, said the Indian Foreign Ministry. It added that India’s Embassy is providing food to workers in 20 camps in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

READ MORE: Oil crash forces S. Arabia to cut ‘unnecessary’ budget expenses

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said his government will help the stranded workers “in all possible ways.” It’s estimated 1.8 million Pakistanis are employed in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi government has cut spending as sliding oil prices hit the kingdom’s economy. Payment delays increased lately as the government cut spending on contracts to preserve cash. The construction sector is the hardest hit as companies depend heavily on government business for cash.

The Saudi Ministry of Labor said construction workers have complained about not being paid for months.

According to the country’s National Commercial Bank, construction contracts dropped by about 50 percent in the first quarter of 2016. No contracts have been awarded by the government since the end of last year, the bank said.

Saudi Arabia is facing a huge budget deficit which is expected to reach $87 billion this year. It comes on the back of a falling crude price with oil sales accounting for almost 80 percent of the country’s revenue. The kingdom’s economic growth is forecast to slow to 1.5 percent this year, the lowest level in seven years.

https://www.rt.com/business/354484-saudi-construction-workers-stranded/

Read this before the US government uses the Orlando shooting to start another war

Global Research, June 19, 2016
Antimedia 17 June 2016

Late Thursday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported, 51 State Department officials signed a statement condemning U.S. policy in Syria in which they repeatedly call for “targeted military strikes against the Damascus government and urging regime change as the only way to defeat the Islamic State.”

“In other words,” as Zero Hedge summarized,

“over 50 top ‘diplomats’ are urging to eliminate [Syrian Pres. Bashar al] Assad in order to ‘defeat ISIS’, the same ISIS which top US ‘diplomats’ had unleashed previously in order to … eliminate Assad.”

This gordian knot created by United States foreign policy — and intensified by that same policy — means not only could war with Syria be on the horizon, but if that happens, the U.S. could be facing a far more serious threat.

While discontented officials used what’s known as the “Dissent Channel” — “an official forum that allows employees to express opposing views,” State Department spokesman John Kirby explained in the WSJ — Saudi government officials employed more direct means to press their interests with the U.S. in Syria.

In a meeting with President Obama on Friday, Saudi foreign minister Adel al Jubair asserted, “Saudi Arabia supports a more aggressive military approach in Syria to get Assad to agree to a political solution,” as CBS’ Mark Knoller tweeted.

Of course, this meeting and the push for increased military force couldn’t be more timely to drum up public support, as a heated national debate has ensued following the deadly attack on an Orlando nightclub purportedly carried out by Omar Mateen — who pledged loyalty to ISIS as he killed 49 people and wounded over 50 others.

Despite the CIA’s report acknowledging it found no tangible connectionsbetween Mateen and the so-called Islamic state — also released on Friday — the narrative concerning his ISIS ties saturated mainstream headlinesfor days, almost certainly cementing the link in the public’s mind.

Disgruntled politicians eager to overthrow Assad — thus also carrying out Saudi goals — can now facilely flip the script to assert deposing the Syrian government is necessary in the fight against everyone’s enemy, the Islamic State.

“Failure to stem Assad’s flagrant abuses will only bolster the ideological appeal of groups such as Daesh [ISIS, etc.], even as they endure tactical setbacks on the battlefield,” the WSJ reported the dissenting cable stated.

But concerns about bloating ISIS’ following borders on comical, except for the potential waterfall of repercussions from carrying out targeted strikes on the Syrian government, considering the U.S. government, itself, once expressed the desire for the rise of an Islamic State to aid in the overthrow of — you guessed it — Assad.

According to declassified documents obtained by Judicial Watch last year:

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).

Former Director of National Intelligence and retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, however, spoke to Al Jazeera about this ill-fated, notorious strategical blunder.

“You’re on record as saying that the handling of Syria by this administration has been a mistake. Many people would argue that the U.S. actually saw the rise of ISIL coming and turned a blind eye, or even encouraged as a counterpoint to Assad,” journalist Mehdi Hasan prefaced his query, adding,“The U.S. saw the ISIL caliphate coming and did nothing.”

Flynn responded, “Yeah, I think that we — where we missed the point. I mean, where we totally blew it, I think, was in the very beginning.”

Besides backing and blessings from the Saudi government for aggression on the Syrian front, dissent among U.S. officials couldn’t be more imperative in their eyes, because, as the WSJ reported:

The internal cable may be an attempt to shape the foreign policy outlook for the next administration, the official familiar with the document said. President Barack Obama has balked at taking military action against Mr. Assad, while the Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton has promised a more hawkish stance against the Syrian leader. Republican candidate Donald Trump has said he would hit Islamic State hard but has also said he would be prepared to work with Russia and Syria.

In fact, as Zero Hedge also noted, an albeit contested report from earlier this week claimed Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made comments including “a claim that Riyadh has provided 20 percent of the total funding to” Clinton’s campaign.

Politicians and officials, in other words, are fast aligning a narrative touting the need to wage war with Syria in order to have it carried out by the candidate they assume will next take the White House.

And despite being a risky move in its own right — not to mention a potentially superficial, if not muddying, solution to an almost solely U.S.-created problem — ramping up military airstrikes in Syria could quite literally spark war with Russia.

“The Russian Air Force bombed U.S.-trained rebels in southern Syria not once, but twice Thursday, and the second wave of attacks came after the U.S. military called Russia on an emergency hotline to demand that it stop,” an unnamed defense official with knowledge of the situation told Fox News.

Russia has repeatedly warned against U.S. moves to oust Assad, which President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, reiterated following the tense situation Thursday and the report calling for increased military targeting of the Syrian government saying, it “wouldn’t help a successful fight against terrorism and could plunge the region into total chaos.”

As recently as February, Saudi Arabia proposed sending its own troops to join the fight against ISIS — which Russia wholly condemned. As head of the State Duma committee, Pavel Krasheninnikov, warned“Syria has to give official consent, to invite, otherwise it will be a war.”

Now, it appears, that war might be closer than ever.

Syria doesn’t constitute the only arena of contention between the U.S. and Russia. As Anti-Media reported this week, continued buildup of NATO forces along the old Cold War foe’s borders in the Balkans and Poland — and particularly also in the Black Sea — has provoked Russia sufficiently enough for officials to caution the move might amount to aggression.

“This is not NATO’s maritime space and it has no relation to the alliance,”Russia’s director of European affairs told Interfax.

Nonetheless, the U.S. and E.U. have proffered a policy whereby defense of its installations on foreign soil is being carried out under the cloak of the NATO alliance — possibly with the intent of posturing dominance in the region to create a buffer zone for operations in Syria.

Pipelines through Syria would specifically allow oil and natural gas to flow to the European Union, which currently sources that fuel primarily from Russia. In other words, if Russia wants to defend its profitable relationship with the E.U., it must defend against the U.S.-led, Saudi-supported overthrow of its Syrian ally, Assad.

Meanwhile, civilians in Syria have been treated like cannon fodder and are fleeing for their lives — but the intensifying geopolitical maneuvers appear more likely than ever to have brought us all to the brink of a third world war.

Saudi-led coalition demands removal from ‘wildly exaggerated’ UN blacklist of child-killers in Yemen; UN caves to pressure

From RT

© Khaled Abdullah