Published On: Tue, Mar 26th, 2013

New Evidence of CIA Arming Al Qaeda Terrorists in Syria

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Syria's al-Nusra rebels posted this photo of its fighters using an M-60 anti-tank weapons March 24.

Syria’s al-Nusra rebels posted this photo of its fighters using an M-60 anti-tank weapons March 24.

Heavy weapons being sent to rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with help from the American CIA, are ending up in the hands of Al Qaeda linked terrorists.

Al Nusra Front is a rebel brigade formed by leading members of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has been classified as a terrorist organisation by the United States and is suspected of retaining strong links to international cells of Al Qaeda. Recent videos posted online show al Nusra Front Fighters using Croatian made M79 and M60 antitank weapons sent to Syria by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar with assistance from the US Central Intelligence Agency.

​​“Neither of these weapons are locally available, either from the black market or looted from the Syrian army because they don’t have them,” said British-based weapons researcher, Eliot Higgins, who first spotted the videos. “That’s what made them so easy to track; they stand out like sore thumbs in Syria.”

History Repeating

Al Qaeda was originally created as a joint endeavour by the CIA and Saudi Arabians such as Bin Laden, as a way to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan whilst spreading the extremist Saudi form of Islam known as Wahabism.

Now it seems that the two are working together again to use their creation against the government of Syria.

Saudi Arabia has maintained a strong involvement in the Syrian conflict, and not only through its government. When a Saudi Arabian cleric recently described the top Alawite imam in Syria as an infidel and a legitimate target for attacks, it was just a couple of days before a suicide bomber attacked an historic mosque killing the imam and many others.

The reason for Saudi involvement in Syria is largely sectarian. The Saudi government, which is an absolute democracy which offers little freedom and even less democracy to its citizens and has put down its own ‘Arab Spring’ style protests certainly has no interest in bringing democracy to the people of Syria. But Saudi Arabia is Sunni Muslim country – and the rebels fighting to overthrow the Alawite (Shia) government of Syria are also mostly Sunni Muslims. The geopolitical power structures of the Middle East have for many centuries been dominated by the divide between the Sunni power centre of Saudi Arabia and Shia countries such as Iran and Syria.

In many ways, western powers stoking and utilising local sectarian conflicts to further their own global ambitions can also be described as history repeating itself – this classic strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ was famously used by the British to create the largest empire the world has ever seen.

Arming Al Qaeda

The New York Times was the first major news outlet to break the news which the blogosphere had been talking about for many months – that Saudi Arabia was supplying weapons from Croatia to rebels in Syria. On Monday the paper reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency had sent consultants to help Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to get heavy weapons into Syria. Based on information from air traffic reports, as well as interviews with government officials and rebel commanders, the paper claimed that more than 160 military flights have now carried such weapons into Syria.

Although the US government has an official stance against sending weapons to Syrian rebels itself, its allies are pushing hard to do so. Britain and France in particular, who alongside America are already supplying so called ‘non-lethal’ aid to the rebels including armoured cars and body armour, are pushing the EU to end an arms embargo on Syria so that they can send weapons directly into the country to feed the conflict. British Prime Minister David Cameron recently said that he would consider breaking the arms embargo or vetoing its renewal if he could not persuade other European nations – who have resisted so far over concerns that the weapons would inevitably end up in the hands of Islamist terrorists such as the Nusra Front – to end the embargo.

Foreign Terrorists

The government of Bashar al Assad has consistently described the rebels as foreign terrorists armed a supported by foreign national governments. Supporters of the rebels however, describe it as a domestic uprising against an oppressive regime. For a long time it has been difficult to assess which of these characterisations holds more truth, as both foreign fighters fought alongside domestic revolutionaries. As the conflict progresses, however, it is becoming more and more openly dominated by foreign fighters (Nusra Front is composed largely of international jihadists from across the world), armed with weapons provided by foreign governments, and using terrorist tactics (such as suicide attacks).

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About the Author

- Dean Walsh is the owner and editor of World News Curator. He also owns and runs Ourly News and a range of other online publications.

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