by Tony Cartalucci
UPDATE August 12, 2012 – It was recently pointed out that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) currently arming, funding, and commanding entire brigades of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) is designated an Al Qaeda affiliate by the United Nations pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), in addition to being listed by both the US State Department and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf) as a foreign terrorist organization and a proscribed terrorist organization respectively.
This means that the United States, the UK, NATO, and the Gulf State despots of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are knowingly and willfully funding designated affiliates of Al Qaeda contrary not only to US and British anti-terror legislation, but contrary to UN resolutions as well. Western and Gulf State support of the FSA constitutes state sponsorship of terrorism. Should the UN fail to enforce its own resolutions, while playing host to further sanctions and considerations for military intervention against the Syrian government, it will have entirely resigned its legitimacy and authority as nothing more than a tool of Western corporate-financier interests.
August 10, 2012 – In direct violation of both American and British anti-terrorism legislation, particularly provisions regarding providing material support for listed or proscribed terrorist organizations, the United Kingdom has just announced that it will provide armed militants that include listed terror organizations with a £5 million tranche of what it calls “non-lethal practical assistance.”
Image: Little else could accentuate the hypocrisy and unhinged madness of US and British foreign policy more than Foreign Secretary William Hague announcing his government’s decision to fund genocidal sectarian extremists murdering under the flag of Al Qaeda in Syria.
Both British and American journalists have clearly identified and documented the presence of foreign fighters with militant extremist ties pouring over the Turkish-Syrian border, most recently in an attempt to overrun the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. CNN, whose Ivan Watson accompanied FSA terrorists over the Turkish-Syrian border and into Aleppo revealed that indeed foreign fighters were amongst the militants. It was admitted that:
Meanwhile, residents of the village where the Syrian Falcons were headquartered said there were fighters of several North African nationalities also serving with the brigade’s ranks.
A volunteer Libyan fighter has also told CNN he intends to travel from Turkey to Syria within days to add a “platoon” of Libyan fighters to armed movement.
On Wednesday, CNN’s crew met a Libyan fighter who had crossed into Syria from Turkey with four other Libyans. The fighter wore full camouflage and was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle. He said more Libyan fighters were on the way.
The foreign fighters, some of them are clearly drawn because they see this as … a jihad. So this is a magnet for jihadists who see this as a fight for Sunni Muslims.
Foreign Policy magazine in an article titled, “The Syrian Rebels’ Libyan Weapon,” has gone as far as writing a two page profile on Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) commander Mahdi al-Harati and his role in leading the so-called “Free Syrian Army.” Also recently, the Council on Foreign Relations, a premier Fortune 500-funded US think-tank, wrote in their article, “Al-Qaeda’s Specter in Syria,” that:
“The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.”
Clearly then, British aid is being sent to the FSA whose ranks are admittedly filled by Al Qaeda.
Also, to be clear, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is in fact an affiliate of Al Qaeda with its commanders having occupied the highest echelons of Al Qaeda’s command structure and having participated in every combat engagement Al Qaeda has conducted since its inception via US-Saudi cash and arms in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 1980’s. This was documented meticulously in the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq.”
Foreign Policy’s admission of al-Harati’s role in organizing and leading the FSA in Syria, and the inclusion of Libyan terrorists in his brigade are by no means the only role LIFG is playing in the Syrian violence. LIFG commander Abdul Hakim Belhaj had visited the Turkish-Syrian border in late 2011 pledging Libyan arms, cash, and fighters to the FSA – with the nation of Libya itself having already become a NATO-created terrorist safe-haven.
It is clear that LIFG, and by implication Al Qaeda, is playing a significant role in the violence in Syria, not only undermining the narrative of the unrest being an “indigenous” “pro-democracy uprising,” but also implicating foreign nations who are funding and arming militants as state sponsors of terrorism.
Included amongst these state sponsors of international terrorism are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Hariri faction in northern Lebanon, as well as the NATO-installed government of Libya. This also includes both the United States, who is admittedly providing cash and equipment for the FSA as well as coordinating efforts to arm militants, and now the UK once again with their latest announcement.
With an increasing number of overt atrocities being carried out by the FSA and its ranks of extremist sectarian militants, including kidnappings, abuses, and massacres observed recently in Aleppo, it is unconscionable for the West to even rhetorically back what is clearly a sectarian-driven conflict, let alone provide equipment, cash, and arms. However, British Foreign Secretary William Hague calls it, “the right thing to do.”
Image: The Western media is covering – or more accurately, “spinning” – an unfolding sectarian genocide in Syria’s largest city Aleppo. In the alleys of seized streets, FSA terrorists are detaining, torturing, and killing anyone suspected of supporting the government. Such suspicions coincidentally run along sectarian divisions. By using the label “Shabiha” for all of FSA’s victims, the Western press has given a carte blanche to genocidal sectarian extremists and by doing so, has become complicit in war crimes themselves. For the British, or any other nation for that matter, to provide the FSA with even rhetorical, let alone material support, is an egregious act of international terrorism.
It is unclear whether Hague means – violating the laws of his own nation to provide material support for known, proscribed terrorists is “the right thing to do” – or if he means it is “right” to perpetuate the bloodbath in Syria as prescribed by the US Fortune 500-funded think-tank, Brookings Institution in their “Middle East Memo #21,” which suggested the West “pin down the Asad regime and bleed it, keeping a regional adversary weak, while avoiding the costs of direct intervention.” Either way, the unhinged, morally bankrupted foreign policy of the Anglo-American establishment is on full display, undermining and irrevocably damaging the legitimacy of their collective institutions in the process.
A similar scenario unfolded in Libya, where LIFG terrorists were likewise carrying out a campaign of nationwide genocide with NATO providing air support. Similarly, by funding, arming, and coordinating acts of violence with LIFG fighters, NATO, and in particular, France, England, and the United States, were guilty of violating both their own respective anti-terrorism legislation, as well as international provisions against terrorism.
The brazen illegitimacy of NATO’s actions against Libya surely played a role in hobbling, perhaps permanently, the contrived geopolitical ploy of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) while simultaneously undermining the “primacy of international law.”
The protracted difficulty of the West to repeat their success in Syria can be perhaps owed in part to the unhinged policy and agenda pursued and exposed in Libya.