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Leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq in Turkey to receive aid - “British” source
BBC Monitoring Middle East
June 26, 2013

Syrian jihadists are now openly working with al-Qaeda, according to an Iraqi terror leader. [AFP/Ulent Kilic]

Report by Nizar Nayyuf in London: “British source: Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi in Turkey To Receive Turkish Aid, Including Chemical Weapons”

A well-informed British source has confirmed that Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi (Ibrahim Awwad al-Samarra`i, and this is his real name), leader of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” is now in Turkey to obtain advanced weapons, ammunition, and military hardware, including “chemical weapons.” The “semi-official” source, which is very knowledgeable about the military and security developments in the Middle East, said that Al-Baghdadi held formal meetings with Turkish intelligence officials for this purpose, adding that “this is the first time a British side makes sure of the occurrence of a contact between Al-Baghdadi, leader of Al-Qaeda organization in Iraq and Syria, and public officials in the Middle East.” The source described this development as “very serious and the first of its kind for more than 15 years when meetings took place between Western intelligence officials and Al-Qaeda leaders almost openly.”

Al-Baghdadi announced on 9 April this year the merger of the Al-Nusrah Front (Al-Qaeda branch in Syria) into the “Islamic State of Iraq,” which he is heading, to become a unified organization under the new name of the “the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.” This aroused the wrath of Abu-Mohammed al-Julani, who rejected the “merger” and declared his direct allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. But soon Al-Julani “disappeared” from the media scene and no activity by him was reported as of that date. Also the overwhelming majority of his supporters and militants throughout Syria, particularly in the areas where the Al-Nusrah Front had military influence, abandoned him. They shifted allegiance to Al-Baghdadi directly. According to private British and Turkish sources, Al-Baghdadi moved immediately afterward, specifically in May this year, to northern Syria with nearly 50 of his direct aides, whom he placed at the head of the armed groups making up the so-called Al-Nusrah Front. He has thus ended almost all influence by Al-Julani, who was originally a Syrian citizen used by Al-Baghdadi as a tool to enter Syria and lay his eggs in it prior to the expulsion of Al-Julani from the scene after the hatching of the eggs. According to the British source that saw an official report in this regard, Al-Zawahiri himself, who at first “blamed Al-Baghdadi for not consulting with him over the merger step,” soon yielded to the de facto situation and ordered Al-Julani to obey Al-Baghdadi and not go out against him.

These developments, which outwardly appear to be “internal organizational” ones, are not so at all. They are the outcome of “the needs and the agenda of the Western-regional alliance against Syria, and the change in the priorities of this alliance” as confirmed by the source. Al-Julani had a bloody tendency that was less brutal and barbaric than that of Al-Baghdadi. He “did not put the ideological and sectarian clash with the Shi`is and their extensions” at the top of his priorities, but focused in the first place on military action as “a technical and professional practice and a tool to achieve a political goal.” He, for example, used to refuse to execute prisoners or target civilians (especially from other denominations), or sternly apply the Islamic penalties except rarely and when “absolutely necessary.” He is different from Al-Baghdadi, who turned the areas of influence of the Al-Nusrah Front (branch “of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” now) into Islamic emirates in form and content, especially in Dayr al-Zawr (bordering Iraq) and Al-Raqqah and the areas controlled by his followers in the city of Aleppo and its countryside. This explains the brutal killings committed by his followers in recent weeks even against women accused of “adultery” or of “disobeying the sharia orders” as happened recently. This also explains the rising tone of the sectarian discourse in these areas, and against Hizballah and Iran, and the Shi`is in general, at the cost of the “qualitative military work,” which Al-Julani placed at the top of his priorities, which were not preceded by anything else.

The reason for Al-Julani`s weakness in the Al-Nusrah Front and the reason for the decline in his influence and his absence despite “his bright jihad history” in Iraq and Syria goes back, according to the same source, to the fact that the “the tap of funds” is not in his hand or the hand of Al-Zawahri, but in the hands of the Gulf Wahhabis and Turkish intelligence officers, who are classifying Iraq and Syria as “the field of one strategic battle.” This is what the Iraqi Government has recently understood when its head made statements in this context, including the levelling of formal accusations against the Turks for the first time. He accused them of intervening in Iraqi affairs and supporting the terrorists in Iraq. This is what was expressed also by Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin-Jasim on the sidelines of the “Friends of Syria” conference in Doha when he described Hizballah as “an ideological opponent” in a clear reference, the first of its kind, to the conflict in the region as “a Sunni Shi`i” conflict as understood by his government and the regional coalition to which he belongs. Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi`s speech at a festival organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis did not depart from this context when he described the Shi`is in the world as “rawafid” [a derogatory term referring to Shi`is] and “infidels” and called for “jihad against them in Syria.” Many Egyptians, including Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal [a prominent Egyptian journalist] and Al-Azhar clerics, viewed this as an “unprecedented scandal,” especially when committed by the president of Egypt. As for the Islamists, they saw in the president`s remarks “a green light” to slaughter the Shi`is in their country, which prompted thousands the day before yesterday to commit a massacre against four of the Shi`is in a suburb of Cairo. It was the first massacre of its kind against Muslims in the modern history of Egypt. These people, who are Muslim Brotherhood members and Salafis, killed, slaughtered, and dragged a Shi`i cleric (Hasan Shihatah) and three of his guests before burning and looting his home under the watchful eyes of the Central Security, which is now controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The same was expressed openly and with an unprecedented clarity by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government is facing a difficult and an unprecedented situation as a result of the expansion of the popular protest movement against him and its continuation for weeks. In more than 15 speech rallies he and his supporters had held since the beginning of the crisis, Erdogan did not hesitate to talk about the “Sunni” identity of his country and his government. He described the opposition, which is leading the protests, as “Alawite,” in an indirect allusion that most members of the leftist “Republican People`s Party,” which is the backbone of the opposition, descend from the Alawites of Turkey. This is in addition to describing himself several times as the successor of the “Seljuks” with all the sectarian connotations involved in this expression, not to mention the expansionist empirical connotations.

It was against this background that change in the organizational structure of Al-Qaeda in the region of Iraq and the Levant took place, and it was against this background that the process of dismissing Abu-Muhammad al-Julani in favour of Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi and integrating the two organizations in Iraq and Syria into one organization under a single command occurred. This organization will be expanded to include Lebanon soon and they are working hard on this issue at present. Also against this background came the opening of the door wide and more than ever before for the flow of takfiri “jihadists” through Turkish territory, and under the auspices of Turkish intelligence and the “Justice and Development Party” directly from Afghanistan and the Turkish-speaking Central Asian countries. In those areas, which are Turkish in culture, albeit unevenly, Recep Tayyip Erdogan established over the past 30 years personal and partisan relationships of the takfiri type with organizations that later formed “Al-Qaeda,” especially the “Taleban” movement and its leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Erdogan and his intelligence service now only do the work of a bankrupt merchant who resorts to his old books in the hope of collecting some of his debts that would enable him to rebuild his registered or nominal capital.

But the entry of Erdogan and his government into an undeclared “alliance” with Al-Qaeda in the Levant and Iraq was not far from the eyes of friends and foes at the same time, specifically Washington and Moscow. If Washington was satisfied with merely drawing attention from under the table, Moscow went so far as to talk about this publicly when it asked for disclosing the truth about the 12 members of the Al-Nusrah Front the Turkish police detained on the 30th of last month while they were transporting two pounds of the “sarin gas” in southern Turkey. However, the Turkish Government still refuses to disclose the details of the case and the puzzles surrounding it.

The British source disclosed these puzzles by stressing that the detention was just “a fabricated theatrical” by the intelligence apparatus of Erdogan. After being informed by Moscow and Washington that his relations with Al-Qaeda were completely monitored and were under the eyes of those concerned, Erdogan hastened to make an exposed attempt to disguise his involvement in this issue. He leaked news about the arrest of 12 people from the Al-Nusrah Front in possession of “two pounds” of the sarin gas. He followed that by another piece of news about raids carried out by his security services in Istanbul, Mersin, Adana, and “Hatay” (the occupied Iskenderun province), near the border with Syria, for the same purpose and on the backdrop of the same issue. The 12 detainees, according to the source, were only aides of Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, and guests of the Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan. They came to get advanced weapons, including chemical weapons. What enhances this fact is that Erdogan still refuses to provide information to Moscow or the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons about the real mission “the detained guests” were performing.

As for Washington, and in order to cover the story, it rushed to revive in the media the issue of “the use of chemical weapons” by the Syrian regime against the rebels, claiming that now it possesses “strong evidence proving it.” But the US cover for Erdogan was quickly shredded by the highest relevant international term of reference, and the most important US media outlet enjoying historical credibility in exposing the scandals of the US administrations and their games under similar conditions. Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, announced that his committee, contrary to allegations by Washington and its allies, “had not yet received any evidence” in this regard. The Washington Post published a detailed investigation on the 20th of this month, based on statements by diplomats, US civil servants, and well-known international experts. They all confirmed, each from the angle of his knowledge and specialization, that Washington`s allegations are just “a major political process,” and that the clues and evidence it is talking about have no scientific value, especially since they were collected “in a suspicious manner that does not observe the standards of the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

Nevertheless, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi did not hesitate to go to Turkey by himself this time, instead of sending his 12 “Jesuit students” because it was not right for the “teacher” to miss “the Last Supper.”

Text of report by Syrian opposition National Council for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation website on 26 June, 2013

Source: Al-Haqiqah in Arabic 0000 gmt 26 Jun 13

© 2013 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Iran:Commentary Says West To `Learn Harsh Lesson` From Supporting Radicals in Syrian Opposition
Jomhuri-ye Eslami Online
May 1, 2013

The leader of the foreign-backed al-Nusra militant group fighting against the Syrian government has pledged allegiance to the al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri

Commentary by Hasan Khayyati entitled: “A Lesson That the Westerners Did Not Learn”

In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful

Western powers led by the United States, Britain, and France have increased their efforts to provide aid to the Syrian government`s opposition. One of the important objectives of the so-called “Friends of Syria” summit, which took place on Sunday night in Istanbul in Turkey, in the presence of 11 foreign ministers from countries that are members of this group, was to reach the same outcome.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, who had traveled to Istanbul to participate in this summit, reported that US aid to the Syrian opposition has doubled and he deceitfully described this aid as being indicative of the emphasis on finding a political solution to putting an end to the tensions in Syria! Earlier, the RT Arabic news network had quoted a US official, whose name was not revealed, as having announced that the United States would give military aid to the Syrian opposition worth $100 million. In addition, William Hague, the British foreign minister, had also promised weapons support by the EU to the Syrian opposition and had said that they would not allow the issue of sanctions on the dispatch of weapons to Syria to be an obstacle against giving aid to groups opposed to the Syrian government. Hague also stipulated that Britain and France have strong reasons to annul the ban on sending weapons to the Syrian opposition! At the same time, the Western powers` allies in the region have so far allocated hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Syrian opposition, and stressing the continuation of their hostile policies toward the Syrian nation, they have boasted of their obedience to the orders of their Western masters. The Saudi rulers and the Qatar emirate`s sheikhs are among those countries, the wealth of whose people, have been taken over by the West, whenever they have willed it, in order to reach their own imperialist aims.

The West is claiming that this aid is being made available to the opposition in the form of humanitarian and civilian help to protect the Syrian people, but they have never been prepared to answer the question that if they are truly honest in their claims, why are their equipping groups that they themselves have officially described as “terrorist”, against the Syrian people? The International Center for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) in London has recently published a report, and unaware of its admissive nature, they have explained that more than 600 European nationals have joined the various Syrian opposition groups to fight the Syrian regime, and in view of the fact that the majority of these individuals are pro-Salafi fighters, their presence in Syria has turned into a nightmare for the West`s intelligence services. Aaron Y. Zelin, who is one of the researchers for ICSR in London, has emphasized in the aforementioned report: “Currently, Syria has turned into one of the most important countries for the so-called `Salafi jihadist` groups and rebels from Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Britain, Kosovo, Sweden, and Spain have joined international rebels who are fighting under the banner of the Al-Nusra Front in Syria; rebels that are extremely radical and are close to Al-Qaeda.”

Writers of this report, who have been forced to make this important confession, have been trying to express their concern over the consequences of the Western officials` approach in sending self trained terrorists to fight in other parts of the world. However, this concern does not stem from the fact that Western governments are engaged in provoking war in other parts of the world, but rather from the fact that in the future, these individuals will turn into a plague that will ultimately descend on the West. Recent remarks by Madeleine Albright, the former US secretary of state, is indicative of this reality. In an interview with the German publication “Stuttgarter Nachrichten”, she referred to the Boston explosions and emphasized that terrorism has become part of the daily life in the West. Describing conditions in Syria as worrying, she strongly criticized the division among the Syrian opposition front and the growing influence of extremists within this front, and reiterated: “The West learned this lesson from Afghanistan, where we armed the opposition groups, and we are now seeing the same weapons being used against ourselves.”

The truth is that all that is being given to the Syrian opposition in the form of aid from the West and their Arab allies, is also being made available to extremists, whose leaders are considered the main elements of Al-Qaeda; the same people who are stoking the flames of war in Syria. Syria`s Al-Nusra Front, which is an extremely radical Salafi group, has officially entered into a pact with Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda`s current leader and has become one of the branches of this group. Last week, in an audio message, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the official in charge of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, announced on behalf of his leader that the Al-Nusra Front in Syria is a continuation and part of the Al-Qaeda network, and its objective is to establish an Islamic government in Syria. Earlier, in a telephone message, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, leader of the terrorist Al-Qaeda group, had asked for the occupation of Syria and the overthrow of Bashar Assad, to prepare the ground for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate!

Undoubtedly, the seed that is now being sown by the West in deceiving the region`s Arab rulers and flooding Syria with all kinds of financial and weapons support, will yield the same crop as the one they sowed and reaped in Afghanistan; the same crop that ultimately turned into a plague against themselves. Bashar Assad`s recent comments that the flames of support for terrorists will ultimately engulf the West and will not be limited to Syria`s borders, is a reference to this same point.

Although Western governments are aware that supporters of their policies of Syrian sedition will never be able to achieve victory in their warmongering, they continue to insist on their tested policies, and increasing fatalities and destruction of a country`s fundamental infrastructures are of no importance for them. They neglect the fact that the outcome of this imprudence may be considerably more difficult and weightier than the lesson they learned during the Afghanistan saga.

(Description of Source: Tehran Jomhuri-ye Eslami Online in Persian -- Website of conservative daily officially licensed to Supreme Leader Khamene`i, but aligned with Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani;

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