Bee Sting at Stand With Israel has numerous, productive and credible Israeli contacts. Currently she has a story written by Israeli-born American Yossef Bodansky. Bodansky is the Senior Editor of GIS/Defense and Foreign Affairs. He served as Director of the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare from 1988 to 2004 and is the Director, International Strategic Studies Association, USA.
Bodansky’s article explores the gassing in Syria and concludes that the Syrian rebels gassed themselves (my interpretation). Catching my attention was a name I didn’t recognize: Liwaa al-Islam, a Sunni Salafist group led by Sheikh Zahran Alloush, and working with Jabhat al-Nusra, which I have known as the al-Nusra Front linked to al-Qaeda.
On the night of August 20/21. 2013, and the early morning of August 21, 2013 – a day before the chemical attack – the jihadists’ Liberating the Capital Front, led by Jabhat al-Nusra, suffered a major defeat during Operation Shield of the Capital. Operation Shield of the Capital is the largest military operation of the Syrian Army in the Damascus region since the beginning of the conflict. The jihadists also amassed a huge force of over 25,000 fighters for their Front from 13 armed kitaeb [battalion-groupings].
Here are names to watch for – it will take another post to profile them (if possible):
The main units belonged to Jabhat al-Nusra and Liwaa al-Islam. The other kitaeb were Harun al-Rashid, Syouf al-Haqq, al-Mohajereen, al-Ansar, Abu Zhar al-Ghaffari, Issa Bin Mariam, Sultan Mohammad al-Fatih, Daraa al-Sham, the Jobar Martyrs, and Glory of the Caliphate.
They included both Syrian and foreign volunteers. (The mere gathering of so many kitaeb for the battle of eastern Damascus refutes the assertion in the US and French intelligence reports that the opposition was incapable of conducting coordinated large-scale operations and therefore the chemical attack must have been launched by Assad’s forces.)
According to Bodansky the rebel factions (jihadists) suffered another huge “strategic defeat in the Jobar entrance area” thus leading to complete despair:
The Jobar entrance was the opposition’s last staging areas with access to the heart of Damascus from where they could launch car-bombs and raids. The Jobar entrance is also the sole route for reinforcements and supplies coming from the Saudi-Jordanian-US intelligence base near Jordan’s major airbase and military facilities in al-Mafraq (from where the eastern route to Damascus starts) and distributed via the Ghouta area to the outlaying eastern suburbs of Damascus.
The eastern route is so important that the efforts are supervised personally by Saudi Princes Bandar and Salman bin Sultan, and overseen by Col. Ahmad al-Naimeh, the commander of the opposition’s Military Council of the Southern Region and Horan.
The bottom line for rebels:
The jihadists’ defeat on August 21 effectively sealed any hope of a future surge from Jordan by CIA-sponsored jihadist forces because the jihadists who, starting August 17/18, 2013, were attempting to use the western route to Damascus from the base in Ramtha, Jordan, had by now been encircled and defeated not far from the Golan border with Israel.
Assumption: They gassed their own to try to gain American and allied support.
Bodansky compares it to the August 28, 1995 shelling of the Markhale market-place in Sarajevo, killing 38 people and wounding 90. President Bill Clinton had promised the Bosnia-Herzegovina leader that the U.S. would “launch” to help the Bosnian Muslims win their war with the Serbs. Problem was, negotiations with the Serbs were “going well” with Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic:
Hence, it was becoming politically and legally impossible for the US-led West to launch the NATO military intervention which Pres. Clinton had promised…
The world assumed the Serbs shelled Sarajevo. A Russian commander of UN Forces in Sarajevo rushed to the Serbs mortar positions and found that the Serbs could not have fired the mortar rounds and his report stated that Bosnian Serbs were “falsely blamed” for the attack on Markhale.
Never mind, NATO launched an air strike on the Serbs and the Bosnian Muslims won their war. Thank you Bill Clinton.
On August 31, 1995, Jean Daniel, then Editor of the magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, wrote an article titled “No more lies about Bosnia”. In the article, Daniel recounted an exchange he had just had with French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur about the NATO air campaign and the motivations for it. “They [the Muslims] have committed this carnage on their own people?” Daniel asked. “Yes,” confirmed Balladur without hesitation, “but at least they forced NATO to intervene.”
More than a few believe it entirely possible that the rebels gassed their own, and a roiling question was, why would Assad gas when he knew how the world would react with so many dead, twitching and frothing at the mouth – something most of us believe to be intolerable cruelty, especially when Assad was winning the war – an inconvenient truth for the Obama administration who likes to draw pale pink lines in Arab sands.
What we have here is not a failure to communicate but a de jevu:
I’ll start with my September 2nd post:
Turkish security forces found a 2kg cylinder with sarin gas after searching the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front who were previously detained, Turkish media reports. The gas was reportedly going to be used in a bomb.
The sarin gas was found in the homes of suspected Syrian Islamists detained in the southern provinces of Adana and Mersia following a search by Turkish police on Wednesday, reports say. The gas was allegedly going to be used to carry out an attack in the southern Turkish city of Adana.
On Monday, Turkish special anti-terror forces arrested 12 suspected members of the Al-Nusra Front, the Al-Qaeda affiliated group which has been dubbed “the most aggressive and successful arm” of the Syrian rebels. The group was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in December. More.
Carla del Ponte, a former war crimes prosecutor serving on the U.N. commission investigating human rights abuses reported that rebels gassed Assad’s soldiers in May 2013 killing, I believe 50, and points to the possibility that sarin gas was stolen by the Syrian rebels when they stormed government facilities.
Bodansky goes through the timeline beginning with August 19, 2013. By August 21, 2013:
The FSA [Free Syria Army] commanders were now (ie: as of late August 21, 2013) pleading for massive reinforcements and an air campaign to prevent their decimation.Meanwhile, on August 19, 2013, in Ghouta, more than 50 local opposition fighters and their commanders laid down their arms and switched sides. A few prominent local leaders widely associated with the opposition went on Syrian TV. They denounced the jihadists and their crimes against the local population, and stressed that the Assad Administration was the real guardian of the people and their interests. More than a dozen ex-rebels joined the Syrian Government forces.Hence, the last thing the Assad Administration would do is commit atrocities against the Ghouta area and the local population which had just changed sides so dramatically. For the opposition, fiercely avenging such a betrayal and petrifying other would-be traitors is a must. Furthermore, in view of the failure of the march on Daraa and Damascus by theCIA’s FSA forces, there was an urgent imperative for the opposition to provoke a Western military intervention before the rebellion collapsed completely, and Assad consolidated victory.
The gassing happened in Ghouta on September 21, 2013 between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.
You’ll remember that Senator John McCain “slipped across the border” into Syria in May to meet with the rebels leaders, who we now know have ties to al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra, or to put it another way, they have said they have “merged” with al-Nusra. McCain probably did not know that at the time, nevertheless he continues to beat the drum for arming the FSA and it’s factions. In fact, McCain stated that the FSA Brig. General Salim Idris is a “fine leader.” Surely he knew that Idris has made it no secret that Israel is his enemy.
Saudi’s Prince Bandar, September 6, 2013:
The Wall Street Journal recently revealed new details about how Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud — Saudi’s former ambassador to the United States — is leading the effort to prop up the Syrian rebels. Intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Jordan and other allied states are working at a secret joint operations center in Jordan to train and arm hand-picked Syrian rebels.
The Journal also reports Prince Bandar has been jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime. “Really what he’s doing is he’s reprising a role that he played in the 1980s when he worked with the Reagan administration to arrange money and arms for mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan and also worked with the CIA in Nicaragua to support the Contras,” says Wall Street Journal reporter Adam Entous.
“So in many ways this is a very familiar position for Prince Bandar, and it’s amazing to see the extent to which veterans of the CIA were excited to see him come back because, in the words of a diplomat who knows Bandar, he brings the Arabic term wasta, which means under-the-table clout. You know his checks are not going to bounce and that he’ll be able to deliver the money from the Saudis.” Source.
Wall Street Journal correspondent Adam Entous has told Democracy Now that Prince Sultan is leading a covert campaign with the CIA to prop up the Takfiri [al-Nusra] insurgents operating in Syria. And the Saudi prince is making frequent visits to Paris and Moscow as part of his efforts to undermine the Syrian government, he added. Entous also said Prince Sultan has been very aggressively involved in arming and funding the insurgents in Syria since 20-11.
If Prince Bandar brought his “wasta” he likely wanted results for the side he supports, the rebels. Look at this, young Syrians may have been given weapons to carry to the rebels, not knowing they were provided by Saudis, and not told how to handle the deadly cylinders?
The article co-authored by a veteran AP reporter, said interviews with doctors, residents, anti-government forces and their families in Ghouta suggest the terrorists in question received chemical weapons via Saudi spymaster Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud.
The report quoted the father of a militant as saying that his son and 12 others were killed inside a tunnel used to store weapons supplied by a Saudi militant leader, known as Abu Ayesha.
The man described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”
Anti-government forces, interviewed in the article, complained they were not informed of the nature of the weapons they had been given, nor did they receive instructions how to use them.
“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” said one militant.
Another militant accused the Takfiri militants of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front of refusing to cooperate with other insurgents or sharing secret information. “They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.
“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” he added.
…more than a dozen militants interviewed said their salaries came from the Saudi government. They reportedly said Prince Bandar is referred to as “al-Habib” (the lover) by al-Qaeda militants fighting in Syria. Source: PressTV
What is it U.S. Presidents find so alluring about Saudi princes? Two sources for more – much more: Stand With Israel and follow the links, she had more than one part to this story and Bee Sting writing at Grumpy Opinions has isolated some specific quotations that tell a story.
Gregory Copley, a colleague of Yossef Bodansky, talked with Glenn Beck and defended an article Bodansky wrote, Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack? Copley said his intelligence analysis group believes “the U.S. knew in advance of the attacks in Syria.” Beck was told Bodansky no longer give interviews. Small wonder. Mess with Obama and he could become the Salman Rushdie of Jews.