Category Archives: Syria
Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.
CIA Operation “Zero Footprint”, Qatar, Benghazi and The Connection To Ahmed Abu Khattala – The Real Motive For The Obama Administration’s Recent Arrest…June 18, 2014 by sundance
Yesterday, it was announced the Obama administration had moved on Sunday to arrest a Benghazi al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Abu Khattala. Many people, including Fox’s James Rosen pointed particular questions to the State Dept. about “why now”?
As unbelievable as this might sound, the most likely answer has little to do with what’s currently being pondered as a motive for this administration, “squirrel”. The reality is within the Bergdahl deal, and the GITMO-5 to Qatar, there is a far more likely reason.
Ahmed Abu Khattala is directly connected to the covert transfer of U.S. arms from Qatar to Libya in the initial 2011 decision to arm the Benghazi “rebels”.
Against the backdrop of recent discoveries about Qatar giving some of the aforementioned arms, specifically stinger missiles, to the Taliban in Afghanistan – Khattala became a risk of exposure to the White House.
They needed to throw a bag over him.
Bear with me through the complexity and I’ll outline the events with all citations included for reference.
On March 30th 2011 Reuters News Agency reported that President Obama had already signed a secret order authorizing the CIA to provide covert support to the Libyan opposition, an operation that would become known as “Zero Footprint”.
2011- U.S. officials also have said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose leaders despise Gaddafi, have indicated a willingness to supply Libyan rebels with weapons. (link)
Ultimately a joint decision between the State Department (Hillary Clinton) and CIA (General David Petraeus) was reached to use friendly nations as cover for direct shipment of U.S. arms into Libya as part of Operation Zero Footprint.
According to federal law, in the event a covert operation is deemed necessary, it is the president’s responsibility to alert the leadership in the House and Senate, as well as the chairman and ranking members of the Intelligence Committees in both chambers.
In the intelligence community, this group is referred to as “the Gang of 8″ [ John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Mike Rogers, Ruppersberger, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Diane Feinstein, Saxby Chambliss].
The Gang of 8, which included leaders from both parties should have known about Operation Zero Footprint. Now think about all the political people who have either thrown roadblocks up, or dragged their heels, in the two years since the Benghazi attack…. now go back and look at that list again. Got it? OK, good… read on.
Ironically – who probably didn’t know about Zero Footprint? John McCain – Seen here, in Benghazi, with Chris Stevens around the time it was all being executed.
It is important to remember this covert operation was after General Carter Ham (Africom) was removed in his authority over the Libyan conflict and NATO took over.
Nothing moved in and out of Libya but for the approval of NATO; so Admiral Stavridis, NATO command, had to authorize any of the armed shipments that came in there.
By the time of this White House/NATO decision Chris Stevens was embedded in Benghazi, helping to coordinate those arms shipments.
In the process constructed NATO (via Stavridis), following the instructions of the U.S. State department and CIA, used the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the financier of the weapons.
Qatar was used as the front or go-between to handle the logistics and shipping of the weapons in and out of Libya.
Ahmed Abu Khattala in his position as the insurgent commander within the Libyan Islamic Fighting group, and as leader of Ansar al-Sharia (which is the Muslim Brotherhood link in Libya), was the recipient of all those arms flowing into Libya.
Khattala was the commander within the actual fighting force on the ground. Khattala was the leader of what Hillary called “the rebels”.
It was only a year after the attacks on the State Dept./CIA compound – on December 31, 2013- when the State Department designated Ahmed Abu Khattalah as a global terrorist.
Khattalah was the senior leader of the group Ansar al-Sharia, known for its extreme hostility toward the West. Khattalah had spent most of his adult life imprisoned by the Qaddafi regime for his Islamist views, fueling his hatred for the dictator.
Because of the unique construction of the entire Libyan operation the Department of Defense and the FBI had virtually no knowledge of Operation Zero Footprint, which is completely consistent with the US Senate Select Committee’s finding after the Benghazi attack.
In addition -as has previously been reported- AFRICOM Commander General Carter Ham was not aware a CIA Annex even existed in Benghazi, at the time of the attacks.
As the Senate Select Committee pointed out:
We are puzzled as to how the military leadership [vis-a-vi Ham] expected to effectively respond and rescue Americans in the event of an emergency when it did not even know of the existence of one of the U.S. facilities.
Details of the covert weapons operation Zero Footprint were tightly guarded among select members of Congress (the Gang of Eight), the CIA (Petraeus), the State Department (Clinton) and the White House (Donilon), who were all trying to manage a covert operation that would expose a U.S. policy decision to arm al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist militias. A decision that would ultimately lead to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
A few weeks ago, when the political team of McDonough, Blinkin, Rhodes et al, made the political decision to use Bowe Bergdahl as an example of President Obama’s military bona-fides, and try to cover the growing VA scandal, they didn’t think through the possibility of a linkage with Qatar so heavily referenced in the media again as part of the deal to release the GITMO-5.
Indeed, Qatar might have slipped by unnoticed were it not for the backlash against the release of the terrorists and the political hot-potato the entire decision became.
The White House team could never have anticipated the re-surfacing of Qatar and the connections that came up to Qatar’s previous less-than-honorable follow-through with the Libyan missiles; some of which ended up in the hands of the Taliban and were used against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
However, once folks –including media– began sniffing around the Qatar connections, the problem of Ahmed Khattala re-surfaced as a risk that needed to be under control. The risk compounded with the reality that ISIS, the Syrian al-Qaeda insurgency, was in the news all over Northern Iraq holding the same -albeit a different batch- stinger missiles previously id’d to the Taliban.
So last Sunday they threw a bag over him.
Now, with all of that absorbed, take a break – grab a beverage – and sit down to watch this video you’ll see how it all comes together: Here
by Aaron Klein
JERUSALEM – Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.
The officials said dozens of ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.
The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.
In February 2012, WND was first to report the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.
That report has since been corroborated by numerous other media accounts.
Last March, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Americans were training Syrian rebels in Jordan.
Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms. The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.
The German magazine reported some 200 men received the training over the previous three months amid U.S. plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the Free Syrian Army in two camps in the south and the east of Jordan.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported last March that U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.
Reuters reported a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the German magazine’s report. The French foreign ministry and Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.
The Jordanian officials spoke to WND amid concern the sectarian violence in Iraq will spill over into their own country as well as into Syria.
ISIS previously posted a video on YouTube threatening to move on Jordan and “slaughter” King Abdullah, whom they view as an enemy of Islam.
WND reported last week that, according to Jordanian and Syrian regime sources, Saudi Arabia has been arming the ISIS and that the Saudis are a driving force in supporting the al-Qaida-linked group.
WND further reported that, according to a Shiite source in contact with a high official in the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Obama administration has been aware for two months that the al-Qaida-inspired group that has taken over two Iraqi cities and now is threatening Baghdad also was training fighters in Turkey.
The source told WND that at least one of the training camps of the group Iraq of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria, the ISIS, is in the vicinity of Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey, where American personnel and equipment are located.
He called Obama “an accomplice” in the attacks that are threatening the Maliki government the U.S. helped establish through the Iraq war.
The source said that after training in Turkey, thousands of ISIS fighters went to Iraq by way of Syria to join the effort to establish an Islamic caliphate subject to strict Islamic law, or Shariah.
( Another worthy piece analyzing Obama’s world-wide collapse. – JW )
President Obama finds himself in the unenviable position of battling US Congress on a variety of issues while simultaneously having to confront 35 US allies and foreign leaders outraged over his policies whether on Syria and Iran or on the NSA eavesdropping on their personal and private conversations.
There is a silent anti-Obama uprising taking place around the world thanks to his lack of leadership and to the inexperience of the advisers around him.
In the case of the often-reserved Saudi Arabia, the chastising was particularly harsh given the patience the Kingdom exercised in its attempts to resolve the Syrian tragedy using US help, to no avail. Thanks to the incompetency of the team Obama, Syria is now the favorite global destination for Sunni and Shia Islamist pilgrims sporting suicide vests and specialized sniper rifles to kill pregnant women and children.
Recent US polls show Mr. Obama hitting new lows in popularity as his domestic agenda unravels on Obamacare (Wonder if Gallup or Rasmussen are able to conduct a global poll on Obama’s popularity). Mass cancellations by insurance companies against the self-insured (Usually small business owners) is shaking things up for the White House and no amount of spin will pay the difference millions of Americans will have to assume as they begin their journey towards carrying the burden of the biggest welfare state system ever engineered by the far-left. Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee look better by the day for their marathon filibuster to defund Obamacare.
It took five years of severe drought, but no umbrella will protect Mr. Obama from the cats and dogs raining on him and the people around him today.
While Mr. Obama feigns ignorance on the NSA eavesdropping (As he did with all the other scandals), the storm brewing overseas is gathering momentum. For sure, the 35 foreign leaders are exchanging opinions and ideas, as I write this, on what it would take to send the right message to the US and it is a question of time before many band together to confront the White House as one voice. It is a political bonanza they are not about to miss even though many spy as much against the US and many have sat on the sidelines when it comes to Syria.
Is the White House aware of this global anti-Obama uprising? Apparently not.
Wednesday night, the Israeli Air Force allegedly bombed two sites in Latakya and Damascus to interrupt the delivery of Russian-made SA-8 mobile missile batteries to Hezbollah. To add insult to injury, a US official leaked the information to the press by claiming the Obama Administration did not want to appear having condoned the operations during sensitive talks with Iran.
I really must be experiencing a re-run of Get Smart.
Has that official leaking the information lost his/her mind? Does he/she not know that with such public explanation the Iranians will seek certain guarantees against other attacks before they proceed with negotiations? Maybe the White House is praying for the Iranians to demand these guarantees that would compel this President to freeze Israeli capabilities from protecting its citizenry under the guise of its peace-loving initiative with a mass murderer like Khamenei. I am telling you, Maxwell Smart really works at the White House today.
On the other hand, this US not-so-smart official who leaked the information just fell in his/her own trap. Possibly, Israel may have figured a way to sabotage the US-Iranian talks the country knows it could only lead to disastrous results by making it a habit to hit the Assad regime every few days or so. Of course, I am not saying this is probable because the Israeli leadership is too wise to let the Iranians create a wedge between them and the US.
Too much elitism in the crowd surrounding Mr. Obama is fogging their perception of what is coming down the pike. Instead of looking at themselves in the mirror, they are doubling down on an agenda already causing an uprising against the policies of Mr. Obama on a worldwide scale.
Maybe First Lady Michelle Obama’s invitation to Prince George’s first birthday celebration will have to be lost in Her Majesty’s mail for this crowd to realize how unpopular the Obama Administration has become.
Nothing like banality to shock their nervous system.
A bitter diplomatic row between US and Saudi Arabia has burst into the open in a development that could threaten one of the Middle East’s core alliances and Washington’s leadership in the region
BST 22 Oct 2013 By Peter Foster, in Washington, Ruth Sherlock in Beirut and Alex Spillius
The public rupture saw the head of Saudi intelligence declare that the kingdom was “scaling back” co-operation with the CIA over arming and training Syrian rebels and seeking alternate weapons suppliers to the United States.
The unprecedented rebuke by Prince Bandar Bin Sultan al-Saud came after Saudi Arabia stunned diplomats by rejecting a prized seat on the UN Security Council.
The decision to reject the seat, Prince Bandar reportedly told diplomats, was intended as “a message for the US” about Saudi frustration with the Obama administration’s long-running failure to arm rebels in Syria and the rising prospect of a nuclear deal that would favour Riyadh’s arch-foe, Iran.
John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, yesterday confirmed that he had been forced to defend US policy at lengthy meetings with Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, in Paris.
Mr Kerry said Mr Obama agreed to the meetings, held on the sidelines of a gathering to discuss the progress of the Middle East peace talks.
He described a “very frank conversation” that covered “every one of these things” – Egypt, Middle East Peace, Iran and Syria.
“I explained exactly where the US is coming from and will continue to consult with our Saudi friends as we always have in the past,” said Mr Kerry.
On Iran, Saudi Arabian alarm was such that he felt obliged to “reaffirm President Obama’s commitment that he will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon”.
Referring to Washington’s decision to back down from missile strikes against the Damascus regime, Mr Kerry admitted that “the Saudis were obviously disappointed the strikes didn’t take place, and have questions about some other things that may be happening in the region”.
But he added that “the United States and Saudi Arabia will continue to be the close and important friends and allies that we have been”.
Analysts and diplomats in Washington were divided over whether the row, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, presented a serious threat of divorce or was merely a ‘marital tiff’ in an 80-year relationship founded on the mutual interests of Saudi Arabian oil and the US ability to provide security guarantees.
Michael Doran, a Middle East expert with the Brookings Institution who served on the National Security Council during the George W Bush administration, said relations were at an all-time low.
‘I’ve worked in this field for a long time, and I’ve studied the history. I know of no analogous period. I’ve never seen so many disagreements on so many key fronts all at once. And I’ve never seen such a willingness on the part of the Saudis to publicly express their frustration,” he said.
“Iran is the number one issue — the only issue for Saudi policy makers.
When you add up the whole Middle Eastern map — Syria, Iraq, Iran — it looks to the Saudis as if the US is throwing Sunni allies under the bus by trying to cut a deal with Iran and its allies.”
Saudi frustration with Mr Obama’s failure to carry out air strikes last month appears to have boiled over amid fears that the US is backing a peace deal, with Russian and Iranian support, that would leave much of the infrastructure of the Assad regime in place.
“The reason the Saudis are furious is because of the deal between Russia and the US, and Iran and the US,” Dr Kamal Labwani, a member of the opposition Coalition who has recently left Syria, told The Telegraph.
“The deal for Geneva, they believe, is that they will change Bashar, but keep the base of the regime active: they feel it will be Iran-led change – that Iran will get the bigger share of the pie in Syria in terms of deciding who leads next”.
Senior European diplomats in Washington told The Telegraph yesterday they were still trying to assess whether the Saudi move represented a real shift in relations or was part of a factional struggle in which Prince Bandar was seeking to influence the top decision-maker king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
Noting that Saudi Arabia had already been “tricky” over Syria, the diplomat said their remained an assumption that the core US-Saudi Relationship would remain intact. “If they are going to beat their own path, that would be more worrying, but it’s really too early to tell,” the source said.
Frederic Wehrey, a senior Middle East expert, with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, also judged that ructions with Saudi Arabia were more likely a reflection of domestic political tensions.
“I take a long view of these things. These developments are unsettling, but they’re not catastrophic. The Saudis need us more than we need them,” he said. “This could be a power-play by [Prince] Bandar. When states are consumed with domestic facitonal struggles they tend to behave erratically.”
Those who are sanguine about a possible split and talk of Riyadh seeking alternate weapons suppliers point to a Pentagon announcement last week of plans to sell Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates $10.8 billion (£6.7bn] worth of missiles and advanced munitions, including “bunker-buster” bombs.
However, other analysts like Mr Doran argue that America’s ability to influence events in the Middle East has already been fundamentally undermined by the tensions between Riyadh and Washington.
He pointed to Saudi Arabia’s decision to give billions of dollars to the Egyptian military leadership last July, which fatally undercut American calls for restraint that had been backed by the threat of removing financial support to the regime.
“The gumming up of US-Saudi relations causes a cumulative but significant lack of influence by the United States in the Middle East,” concluded Mr Doran, “That influence can only be achieved by a coalition which we don’t have because we’re racing after enemies and dispensing with the interests of our allies.”
SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 By JOEL GEHRKE
President Obama waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups to clear the way for the U.S. to provide military assistance to “vetted” opposition groups fighting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Some elements of the Syrian opposition are associated with radical Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, which was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., in 2001. Assad’s regime is backed by Iran and Hezbollah.
The president, citing his authority under the Arms Export Control Act, announced today that he would “waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction.”
Those two sections prohibit sending weaponry to countries described in section 40(d): “The prohibitions contained in this section apply with respect to a country if the Secretary of State determines that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” Congress stated in the Arms Control Export Act.
“For purposes of this subsection, such acts shall include all activities that the Secretary determines willfully aid or abet the international proliferation of nuclear explosive devices to individuals or groups or willfully aid or abet an individual or groups in acquiring unsafeguarded special nuclear material,” the law continues.
The law allows the president to waive those prohibitions if he “determines that the transaction is essential to the national security interests of the United States.”
Under section 40(g) of the AECA, the Obama team must also provide Congress — at least 15 days before turning over the weapons — “the name of any country involved in the proposed transaction, the identity of any recipient of the items to be provided pursuant to the proposed transaction, and the anticipated use of those items,” along with a list of the weaponry to be provided, when they will be delivered, and why the transfer is key to American security interests.
“Our intelligence agencies, I think, have a very good handle on who to support and who not to support,” Corker said. “And there’s going to be mistakes. We understand some people are going to get arms that should not be getting arms. But we still should be doing everything we can to support the free Syrian opposition.”