Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Iran, Al Qaeda affiliated group, the Al Nusra Front, attacks US trained rebels in Syria, Obama administration shocked?!

On July 31, the New York Times reported that an American-trained, Syrian Rebel group, known as Division 30, came under intense attack from a hard-line, Al Qaeda affiliated group, known as the Al Nusra Front. The attack came just one day after the Al Nusra Front abducted two leaders and at least six fighters of Division 30. Additionally, the Hill reported on Tuesday that, to date, at least 19 members from Division 30 have been killed or captured by Al Nusra militants.

The aforementioned New York Times article noted that "senior administration officials acknowledged that the [recent] attack and the abductions by the Nusra Front took American officials by surprise and amounted to a significant intelligence failure."

"American military trainers... did not anticipate an assault from the Nusra Front," the Times reported. "In fact, officials said on Friday, they expected the Nusra Front to welcome Division 30 as an ally in its fight against the Islamic State."

“This wasn’t supposed to happen like this,” said one former senior American official.

Nevertheless, despite the surprise reaction from the Obama administration, the Times went on to report that:
The Nusra Front said in a statement on Friday that its aim was to eliminate Division 30 before it could gain a deeper foothold in Syria. The Nusra Front did much the same last year when it smashed the main groups that had been trained and equipped in a different American effort, one run covertly by the C.I.A.
But strangely, despite last year's attack, the Obama administration did not anticipate the recent "assault from the Nusra Front."

“This wasn’t supposed to happen like this.”

It is also significant to note that, according to a US Department of Treasury report issued last year, Al Nusra has received significant funding from "Al-Qaida’s network in Iran."

That's right: Iran. "Al-Qaida’s network in Iran."

As I noted last year: The Treasury Department noted in its report that the Department had designated as a terrorist Mr. Jafar al-Uzbeki, "a key Iran-based al-Qaida facilitator who supports al-Qaida’s vital facilitation network in Iran, that operates there with the knowledge of Iranian authorities." Al-Uzbeki, the report went on to say, "provided "logistical support and funding to al-Qa’ida's Iran-based network" and he "has assisted extremists and operatives transiting Iran on their way into and out of Pakistan and Afghanistan." Al-Uzbeki "has provided visas and passports to numerous foreign fighters, including al-Qaida recruits, to facilitate their travel."

The US Department of Treasury report also notes that al Qaida's Iran-based network is assisting the Al Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria.

According to the report, "Al-Uzbeki also provided funding to Yasin al-Suri, who has resumed leadership of al-Qaida's Iran-based network. As head al-Qaida facilitator in Iran, Yasin al-Suri is responsible for overseeing al-Qaida efforts to transfer experienced operatives and leaders from Pakistan to Syria, organizing and maintaining routes by which new recruits can travel to Syria..., and assisting in the movement of al-Qaida external operatives to the West."

"Al-Qaida’s network in Iran has facilitated the transfer of funds... to al-Qaida core and other affiliated elements, including the al-Nusrah Front in Syria..."

I pointed out last year that Iran's ties to Al Qaeda and to the Iraqi and Afghan insurgency - the training and arming of the Afghan/Iraqi insurgents who killed countless US troops - has been well-documented. I cited several examples to illustrate this point.

Nevertheless, Iran's support of Al Nusra has left some wondering why the former would support a group that is purportedly at odds with Syrian Presient Bashar Assad, an ally of Iran.

I offered up a couple of possible explanations for that last year:

1) Since there is no guarantee that Bashar Assad will remain in power, Iran is seeking to ensure that Iran does not lose its influence in Syria if and when Assad is deposed, and that the west never gains influence inside Syria. Hence Iran is attempting to strengthen the extremists within the rebel forces and to make certain that the western-backed fighters do not become the dominant forces in Syria.

2) The Iranian regime is seeking to ensure that the extremist fighters, and not the western-backed fighters, are the dominant powers within the rebel forces because this might dissuade the West from completely removing and replacing the current Syrian regime since such a move might facilitate the ascension of the extremist rebels to power.

A couple of possible explanations. Feel free to proffer your own theory.

Nevertheless, what is clear from all of the above is that Iran has been a staunch supporter of Al Qaeda [in spite of some of the differences the former and latter may have with one another]; and that Iran has supplied the Afghan/Iraqi insurgents with arms supplies [including IED's and other explosive devices etc.] and training, which has led to countless casualties among US troops; and that - according to the US Treasury Department - Al Nusra, the group that is currently attacking Division 30 forces in Syria, receives funding from "Al-Qaida’s network in Iran"; and that, despite all of this horrific terror, including the attacks against US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Obama has decided to offer the Iranians nuclear concessions, and monetary concessions worth over $100 billion dollars.

Mind-boggling?

Not really; just par for the course.

It is also worthwhile to note that the Hill reported on Wednesday that the Obama administration just announced new sanctions targeting two individuals from Qatar. One of the individuals was targeted with sanctions because he provided funding to the Al Nusra Front
One of the men, Sa'd bin Sa'd Muhammad Shariyan al-Ka’bi, is from Qatar and has helped finance al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, known as the Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front.

The other financier is Abd al-Latif Bin 'Abdallah Salih Muhammad al-Kawari, who is also from Qatar and has aided al Qaeda.

“The people designated today played roles in supporting violent extremists in Syria, Pakistan and Sudan,” Treasury said.
Which leaves us with another mind-boggling question:

Why is the Obama administration placing sanctions on an individual for financing Al Nusra - al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate - and yet the administration is removing sanctions from Iran, despite its ties to Al Nusra, and despite the existence of an al Qaida network inside Iran that operates freely there "with the knowledge of Iranian authorities"?

Mind-boggling.

And yet, par for the course............

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