Tag Archives: Al-Qaeda linked


BLOG 219 September 22, 2014

Continuing the last week’s blog search for insight into the inner working of Islamist extremists, I recognize at the outset that we have to scratch around the edges to come up with details. Obviously, I have no “insider” knowledge on the world of terrorists. If anything, I want to keep a safe distance from these mad dog barbarics. Any group that severs the heads of reporters simply doing their job, can be confronted only with artillery (which I don’t keep in my garage). At the same time, we do find hints and insights by searching the media.

The New York Times September 20, Sunday edition published one of the these stories that offers insight into the current situtation in Iraq. We are learning that there is more to President Obama’s reluctance to put “boots on the ground” than meets the eye. Deep suspicions linger about the intentions and strategy of America and the CIA in particular. As absurd as it sounds, from the man on the street to the highest levels of government, Iraqis believe the CIA is secretly behind ISIS, the same extremists that it is now attacking.

Perhaps, you will remember the name of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr who made wild charges against the US army during the Iraqi war. Al-Sadr ended up with a section of Bagdad called Sadri-city. When the discussion of possible deployment of American troops back to Iraq, Al-Sadr publically charged the CIA for creating the Islamic State. The sad fact is that many of the members of Parliament subscribe to this perspective.

Of course, such a charge exposes how difficult it may prove to develop any kind of significant working relationship with the new Iraqi government and why Maliki proved so impossible to work with.

The United States is in the strange position of having invaded to free the country from the despotic rule of Saddam Hussein only to end up in the thankless position of being viewed as suspect, deceptive, and untrustworthy. They view the US as a destructive force attempting to defeat Islam. The fact that the USA stood behind Maliki and Maliki in turn alienated most Iraqis as well as producing an army that ran off the battlefield like scared dogs then suggests the US is the biggest loser of all.

At the least, America waited far too long to pressure Maliki and to recognize ISIS was coming with their guns loaded.

While this story was playing out, James R. Clapper, Jr., the director of national intelligence, threw another log on the fire. Clapper testified that another group within Syrian is a greater threat to the USA than Isis. Called Khorasan, it is far more focused on attacking the US than ISIS because they are concerned with amassing territory. An offshoot of the Nustra Front group, Khorasn has kept its relationship with Al-Qaeda in tract while ISIS was cut for failing to follow Ayman al-Zawahiri’s instructions to fight only in Syria.

The bottom line? American can’t seem to win  – for winning!

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This week’s headlines declared the second round of Syrian talks to be a failure. The United Nations mediator for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi concluded the second round of talks without even setting a date for further negotiations. Both sides were sent home with instructions to reflect on their commitment to possible diplomacy. These attempts at discussions have only been a dismal failure. In the beginning, I took the position that such was inevitable regardless of international pressure to move forward.

The Syrian government stalled because they believed they are currently ahead in the war. The inside story revealed the Assad regime so closely monitored the discussions that even the smallest details were checked by them. Russia has either not tried or at least not made progress in changing Assad’s mind. The Syrian regime’s delegation refused to discuss a change of government which is exactly what the rebels are fighting for. End of story. A train going nowhere.

This past week the town of Homs was  again filled with tragedy. Two trucks attempting to bring food and supplies into rebel held areas came under heavy fire, wounding four paramedics. Apparently, the trucks were targeted by roadside bombs and mortar shells. As the week progressed, dozens of women and children attempted to escape from the town under an agreement between the government and the rebels for a three-day cease fire. Like everything else in Syria the truce tragically didn’t hold. Taking cover behind United Nations vehicles, the citizens ran to exit the town. When explosions returned, many left their baggage and belongings and ran.

The government accused rebels of trying to score points with the international community by capitalizing on human suffering while the negotiations were still in session. However, anyone following the plight of the citizens trapped in the Old Homs area knew of the severe food shortages and the frail condition of these exhausted survivors.

During these efforts, the commander of the main Western-backed rebel group appealed to the Islamic extremist groups for unity. The Al-Qaeda linked Al- Nusra Front vowed to torpedo these efforts as well as negotiations with the government. Consequently, it is almost impossible to identify who actually speaks for the rebels.

When all of these elements in the conflict are mixed together, it makes for one big-time mess going nowhere. With more than 135,000 Syrians already killed and 9.5 million driven from their homes, the debacle continues to escalate. As I painfully noted earlier, no end appears in sight until the last soldier has been massacred.

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Filed under Civil War, middle east, Refugee camps, Syria