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Man behind the Curtain for al-Qaeda in Syria is Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wanted the recent Geneva II peace conference to focus on terrorism. He says terrorism is the main problem a...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bashar al-Jihad: How Assad finances terrorists with oil

"Assad’s vow to strike terrorism with an iron fist is nothing more than bare-faced hypocrisy."
“It happened once that a Syrian regime officer and 11 others defected and drove their vehicle through Masila. We received ordered to arrest them and hand them over back to the regime,”
                                   --detained al-Qaeda member said.

The more we look, the more we see that the Assad regime is the major force behind terrorism in Syria. Not only is he responsible for the terrorism being delivered from the air with his barrel bombs, cluster bombs and sarin gas attacks, and the shooting and throat cutting of his ground forces, including the SAA, Hezbullah and his shabiha forces, the evidence is growing that he is a major force behind the jhadist terrorism of the ISIS and al Nusra. In addition to the connections I outline in Bashar al-Jihad: Is ISIS a child of the regime?, we can now add direct financial support, assuming this story broken by The Telegraph today is true:
Syria's Assad accused of boosting Al-Qaeda with secret oil deals

Western intelligence suggests Bashar al-Assad collaborating with jihadists to persuade West the uprising is terrorist-led

By Ruth Sherlock, in Istanbul and Richard Spencer
7:53PM GMT 20 Jan 2014

The Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad has funded and co-operated with al-Qaeda in a complex double game even as the terrorists fight Damascus, according to new allegations by Western intelligence agencies, rebels and al-Qaeda defectors.

Jabhat al-Nusra, and the even more extreme Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), the two al-Qaeda affiliates operating in Syria, have both been financed by selling oil and gas from wells under their control to and through the regime, intelligence sources have told The Daily Telegraph.

Rebels and defectors say the regime also deliberately released militant prisoners to strengthen jihadist ranks at the expense of moderate rebel forces. The aim was to persuade the West that the uprising was sponsored by Islamist militants including al-Qaeda as a way of stopping Western support for it.

The allegations by Western intelligence sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, are in part a public response to demands by Assad that the focus of peace talks due to begin in Switzerland tomorrow be switched from replacing his government to co-operating against al-Qaeda in the “war on terrorism”.

“Assad’s vow to strike terrorism with an iron fist is nothing more than bare-faced hypocrisy,” an intelligence source said. “At the same time as peddling a triumphant narrative about the fight against terrorism, his regime has made deals to serve its own interests and ensure its survival.”

Intelligence gathered by Western secret services suggested the regime began collaborating actively with these groups again in the spring of 2013. When Jabhat al-Nusra seized control of Syria’s most lucrative oil fields in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, it began funding its operations in Syria by selling crude oil, with sums raised in the millions of dollars.

“The regime is paying al-Nusra to protect oil and gas pipelines under al-Nusra’s control in the north and east of the country, and is also allowing the transport of oil to regime-held areas,” the source said. “We are also now starting to see evidence of oil and gas facilities under ISIS control.”

The source accepted that the regime and the al-Qaeda affiliates were still hostile to each other and the relationship was opportunistic, but added that the deals confirmed that “despite Assad’s finger-pointing” his regime was to blame for the rise of al-Qaeda in Syria. More...
As if even more proof of Assad's support for the terrorists was needed, Al Arabiya News broke this story today:
Al-Qaeda detainees reveal ties with Assad

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 KSA 23:42 - GMT 20:42
Al Arabiya News Channel aired a video on Monday showing detained members of al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Syria, with some telling stories that suggest links to the Syrian regime.

There has been heavy fighting between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The fighting broke out last month after reports that ISIS, the al-Qaeda affiliate, was enforcing a strict version of Shariah in the areas it controls and was carrying out mass executions of fellow rebel fighters it accuses of apostasy.

The FSA, joined with other moderate rebel groups, declared a war on ISIS, accusing it of cooperating with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and of seeking to divide rebels.

Ever since the fighting broke out many in both sides were killed or detained. Some of those al-Qaeda members who fell to rebels’ hands said ISIS had ties with the Syrian regime.

“It happened once that a Syrian regime officer and 11 others defected and drove their vehicle through Masila [north of Raqqa]. We received ordered to arrest them and hand them over back to the regime,” a detained al-Qaeda member said.

He said ISIS was behind a bombing that destroyed Raqqa’s train station last year. “We received orders from Commander Abu Anas al-Iraqi to bomb the train station. We were also ordered to fire on ambulances and civilians trying to reach the victims,” he said.

Abu Anas al-Iraqi leads an al-Qaeda brigade in the province of Raqqa. He is nicknamed al-Iraqi after his country Iraq, where he used to work as an intelligence officer, according to another detainee.

“Abu Anas is financed directly by the regime, through Iran and Iraq. His brigade is specialized in kidnappings, car bombs and targeted assassinations of FSA members,” the detainee said.

While several ISIS members shown on the video were reportedly captured during fighting, many said they defected after realizing the brutality and the agenda of the al-Qaeda affiliate.

The FSA refused to say how many members of ISIS it has in custody. The video shown on Al Arabiya was filmed inside an FSA security building. More...
Of course, Assad is playing both ends against the people because while he has been a major force in creating and sustaining the Islamist terrorists groups, he offers Western intelligence his 'co-operation' in fighting them. Now, having released these terrorists from his jails and seen that they got a good source of funding, he is posed to make co-operation in fighting them the centerpiece of his Geneva II strategy.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

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