Sanafi al Nasr, a senior al Qaeda strategist, is a part of the so-called “Khorasan group.” Nasr is sitting on the far left in the picture above. (Source)
November 21, 2014
When the Obama administration said it bombed the “Khorasan group” in north Syria experts wondered what that meant. There was and is no such group. What the Obama administration called Khorasan group were leadership people of Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syria branch of al-Qaeda, which years ago had been active in Afghanistan and Pakistan before coming to Syria. So why make a distinction between Jabhat al-Nusra active all over Syria and a leadership group of Jabhat al-Nusra situated in north Syria?
My hunch is that there is active cooperation between Jabhat al-Nusra and the U.S. especially in south Syria and the distinction was made to keep some form of alliance in the south alive. The mercenaries of the Fee Syrian Army in south Syria have been trained and armed by the CIA in Jordan and are controlled through a multinational operations room somewhere in Amman.
In the south Nusra is actively fighting on the side of the Free Syrian Army which is also getting support from Israel. During the last months the FSA, with al-Nusra fighters as storm troopers in the lead, captured large parts along the Jordanian and Israeli border with Syria. There aim is, as we reported two month ago, to open a corridor towards Damascus. There progress against the Syrian army in the border area was made with the help of supporting Israeli artillery fire.
Reuters confirms today that Nusra, as we wrote, is leading the fighting in the south:
Fighters from Al-Qaida’s Nusra Front and other insurgents attacked and briefly entered Baath City in southern Syria on Thursday, the army’s last major bastion in a province flanking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Hundreds of Nusra fighters who fled from the eastern Deir al-Zor province after being driven out by Islamic State earlier this year have regrouped in southern Syria, boosting the rebel presence there, activists say.
“It gave the fighters in the area the upper hand,” said Abu Yahya al-Anari, a fighter from Ahrar al-Sham.
Insurgent gains since earlier this year have been mainly achieved by Nusra Front together with other Islamist brigades and rebels fighting under the umbrella of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army. Unlike rebel in-fighting further north, they have coordinated well so far.
In the north Jabhat al-Nusra fought mercenary groups supported by the U.S. and Turkey. In the south it cooperates well with such groups supported, equipped and trained by the U.S. from Jordan and by Israel. Al-Nusra in the north was renamed “Khorasan group” so it could be bombed without endangering the Fee Syrian Army alliance with al-Nusra in the south.
The Nusra fighters in the south will of course use the weapons and other equipment the Fee Syrian Army groups receive from the CIA and other secret services. These groups are fighting together and are naturally sharing their resources.
In October, a month after I reported about the operations in the south, the Washington Institute, part of the Israel Lobby in the U.S., acknowledged those plans and pushed for more U.S. and Israeli support at the southern front. It did of course falsely minimize the participation of Nusra.
Coordinated Israeli, Jordanian, and allied assistance in the south could boost the moderate Syrian rebels there, stave off an extremist takeover, and facilitate the ongoing international campaign against ISIS.
So far, most Israeli support for moderate, local, non-Islamist rebel battalions along the border has been limited to humanitarian aid, such as treating 1,400 sick and wounded Syrians in Israeli hospitals, supplying medication, food, and heaters to villagers, and so forth. Some rebel groups maintain constant contact with the IDF, including frequent secret meetings reportedly held in Tiberias, but only a modest amount of weapons have been provided to them, mainly rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
The operation in the south has nothing to do with ISIS which has so far little presence in the south but is solely directed against the Syrian army, the government of Syria and the people of Damascus. The fighting is led, as Reuters today acknowledged, by Jabhat al-Nusra fighters and U.S. and Israel support is given to local Fee Syrian Army groups strongly aligned with al-Nusra.
The U.S. and Israel will certainly have know what Reuters reports today and what we claimed earlier. They have been and are actively and knowingly arming groups who strongly cooperate and share their resources, received from the U.S. and Israel, with al-Qaeda.
Posted by b on November 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM | Permalink