2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State “in order to isolate the Syrian regime”

https://levantreport.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/dia-2012-syria-islamic-state1.jpgOn Monday, May 18, the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch published a selection of formerly classified documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department through a federal lawsuit.

While initial mainstream media reporting is focused on the White House’s handling of the Benghazi consulate attack, a much “bigger picture” admission and confirmation is contained in one of the Defense Intelligence Agency documents circulated in 2012: that an ‘Islamic State’ is desired in Eastern Syria to effect the West’s policies in the region.

Astoundingly, the newly declassified report states that for “THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…”.

The DIA report, formerly classified “SECRET//NOFORN” and dated August 12, 2012, was circulated widely among various government agencies, including CENTCOM, the CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA, State Dept., and many others.

The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.

While a number of analysts and journalists have documented long ago the role of western intelligence agencies in the formation and training of the armed opposition in Syria, this is the highest level internal U.S. intelligence confirmation of the theory that western governments fundamentally see ISIS as their own tool for regime change in Syria. The document matter-of-factly states just that scenario.

Forensic evidence, video evidence, as well as recent admissions of high-level officials involved (see former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford’s admissions here and here), have since proven the State Department and CIA’s material support of ISIS terrorists on the Syrian battlefield going back to at least 2012 and 2013 (for a clear example of “forensic evidence”: see UK-based Conflict Armament Research’s report which traced the origins of Croatian anti-tank rockets recovered from ISIS fighters back to a Saudi/CIA joint program via identifiable serial numbers).

The newly released DIA report makes the following summary points concerning “ISI” (in 2012 “Islamic State in Iraq,”) and the soon to emerge ISIS:

  • Al-Qaeda drives the opposition in Syria
  • The West identifies with the opposition
  • The establishment of a nascent Islamic State became a reality only with the rise of the Syrian insurgency (there is no mention of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq as a catalyst for Islamic State’s rise, which is the contention of innumerable politicians and pundits; see section 4.D. below)
  • The establishment of a “Salafist Principality” in Eastern Syria is “exactly” what the external powers  supporting the opposition want (identified as “the West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey”) in order to weaken the Assad government
  • “Safe havens” are suggested in areas conquered by Islamic insurgents along the lines of the Libyan model (which translates to so-called no-fly zones as a first act of ‘humanitarian war’; see 7.B.)
  • Iraq is identified with “Shia expansion” (8.C)
  • A Sunni “Islamic State” could be devastating to “unifying Iraq” and could lead to “the renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.” (see last non-redacted line in full PDF view.)

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The following is excerpted from the seven page DIA declassified report (bold-facing is my own):

 R 050839Z AUG 12

THE GENERAL SITUATION:

A. INTERNALLY, EVENTS ARE TAKING A CLEAR SECTARIAN DIRECTION.

B. THE SALAFIST [sic], THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME.

3. (C) Al QAEDA – IRAQ (AQI):… B. AQI SUPPORTED THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION FROM THE BEGINNING, BOTH IDEOLOGICALLY AND THROUGH THE MEDIA

4.D. THERE WAS A REGRESSION OF AQI IN THE WESTERN PROVINCES OF IRAQ DURING THE YEARS OF 2009 AND 2010; HOWEVER, AFTER THE RISE OF THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA, THE RELIGIOUS AND TRIBAL POWERS IN THE REGIONS BEGAN TO SYMPATHIZE WITH THE SECTARIAN UPRISING. THIS (SYMPATHY) APPEARED IN FRIDAY PRAYER SERMONS, WHICH CALLED FOR VOLUNTEERS TO SUPPORT THE SUNNI’S [sic] IN SYRIA.

7. (C) THE FUTURE ASSUMPTIONS OF THE CRISIS:

A. THE REGIME WILL SURVIVE AND HAVE CONTROL OVER SYRIAN TERRITORY.

B. DEVELOPMENT OF THE CURRENT EVENTS INTO PROXY WAR: …OPPOSITION FORCES ARE TRYING TO CONTROL THE EASTERN AREAS (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), ADJACENT TO THE WESTERN IRAQI PROVINCES (MOSUL AND ANBAR), IN ADDITION TO NEIGHBORING TURKISH BORDERS. WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY ARE SUPPORTING THESE EFFORTS. THIS HYPOTHESIS IS MOST LIKELY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DATA FROM RECENT EVENTS, WHICH WILL HELP PREPARE SAFE HAVENS UNDER INTERNATIONAL SHELTERING, SIMILAR TO WHAT TRANSPIRED IN LIBYA WHEN BENGHAZI WAS CHOSEN AS THE COMMAND CENTER OF THE TEMPORARY GOVERNMENT.

8.C. IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN)

8.D.1. …ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY.

 

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COUNTERPUNCH: “Baathism, Secularism and the U.S. Encouragement of Fanatic Islamism in the Arab World” by GARY LEUPP

COUNTERPUNCH – A beautiful essay posted on Medium.com, entitled “A Marine in Syria: Silhouettes of Beauty and Coexistence before the Devastation” by Brad Hoff, draws our attention to what for the warmongers in Washington is a highly inconvenient truth: the secular dictatorships in the Middle East the U.S. has sought to destroy since 9/11 (including most recently that of Libya) have been far more tolerant towards religious and cultural diversity than the regimes that have replaced them.

In particular, the much-vilified Baath Party, which governed Iraq during the Saddam years and continues to govern Syria, was and is based upon the principle of secularism (non-religious, relatively religiously tolerant) rule…

Read the rest at Counterpunch Magazine…

 

ISIS is now deploying US-supplied TOW Anti-tank Missiles in Syria

8_small.jpgProduced by ISIS media, the Arabic reads “Firing the TOW missile system against the apostates.” The set of photos released together, which can be viewed here, claims Al-Qarytayn in the countryside southeast of Homs as the location.

ISIS fighters are currently boasting of the deployment of their latest military hardware through photos distributed by Islamic State’s “Wilayat Damascus” (State of Damascus): the US-supplied BGM 71E TOW anti-tank missile system.

Among those confirming the authenticity of the photos include analysts at the hawkish Brookings Institution and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies funded Long War Journal.

Long War Journal columnist Caleb Weiss reports:

In the photo set, many Islamic State fighters can be seen amassing in more than 15 technicals, or armed pickup trucks. The pictures then show the use of the TOW missile on Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. The last few photos show FSA members the Islamic State has taken captive.

In a December 27 article, independent journalist Maram Susli outlined the existing evidence for Al-Qaeda group Al-Nusrah Front being in possession of US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles, while also raising the possibility that ISIS could already be in possession of these systems given the porous and interactive nature of terror militias operating in Syria:

Given the Syrian rebels’ history of openly working along side or defecting to Al Qaeda groups, it is highly doubtful the US government did not predict the TOW missiles would end up in Al Qaeda’s hands.

It is more likely the US provided the rebels with the TOW missiles whilst knowing it would end up in the hands of Al Qaeda. Indeed it has been widely accepted, that Jabhat Al Nusra, ISIS and Ahrar al Sham, another Al Qaeda linked group, are the most powerful groups opposing the Syrian army.

https://justpaste.it/files/justpaste/d195/a8217558/7.jpg

Indeed, it has been documented by an external monitoring group, the UK-based Conflict Armament Research, that the well-known CIA-Saudi program (publicly acknowledged to have begun in 2012) to transfer thousands of tons of weaponry to insurgents in Syria resulted in the arming of ISIS fighters.

Conflict Armament Research was able to trace the serial numbers of weapons recovered by Kurds battling ISIS in Eastern Syria back directly to the CIA-Saudi weapons airlift program. While not as advanced and up-to-date as the current anti-tank systems being displayed in ISIS photographs, the weapons monitoring group’s official report provided evidence that portable rockets were making making it to ISIS hands as of 2013:

M79 90 MM anti-tank rockets captured from IS forces in Syria are identical to M79 rockets transferred by Saudi Arabia to forces operationg under the ‘Free Syrian Army’ umbrella in 2013.

Expect more of US-made BGM 71E TOW systems to show up in ISIS hands. Eventually, enough photographic and serial inscription evidence will be available to establish direct chain of custody and origin. Expect the CIA, Pentagon, and their partners in the Gulf to be in full denial and defensive mode.

 

Candid Associated Press Article: US-backed rebels advance in south, with Al-Qaeda’s help

Associated PressTHE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR/AP (11/28/14) — Syrian rebels backed by the United States are making their biggest gains yet south of the capital Damascus, capturing a string of towns from government forces and aiming to carve out a swath of territory leading to the doorstep of President Bashar Assad’s seat of power.

The rebel forces are believed to include fighters who graduated from a nearly 2-year-old CIA training program based in Syria’s southern neighbor Jordan.

Notably, in the south, the rebels are working together with fighters from al-Qaida’s Syria branch, whose battle-hardened militants have helped them gain the momentum against government forces. The cooperation points to the difficulty in American efforts to build up “moderate” factions while isolating militants.

Read full article here or here.

William Blum: Why You Can Hardly Believe a Word of What You Read About ISIS

William BlumWilliam Blum is a Washington D.C. based analyst and historian whose books chart the history of CIA abuses and U.S. government crimes abroad. His latest article for Counterpunch is an excellent critique of the recent months-long ISIS hysteria in American media and culture.

He makes the point that we shouldn’t uncritically trust the dominant narrative on ISIS coming out of U.S.-Saudi-NATO media establishments, especially when it was this very alliance that produced and fed this Frankenstein monster in the first place.

Indeed, while the U.S. Department of Treasury has publicly blamed governments like Qatar, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia for funding the most radical elements on the Syrian battlefield, the White House continues enlist the help of those very countries in its supposed anti-ISIS campaign. But in all the constant barrage of ISIS coverage in mainstream media, one almost never gets truthful investigative analysis of how ISIS came to be so strong. As even the Vice President of the United States has publicly admitted, it is the American alliance in the region that has directly assisted the terrorist group’s meteoric rise.

If your day is anything like mine, you get in the car and hear about ISIS on the radio, then you hear ISIS discussed at work, you drive home and hear about ISIS on NPR, and if you turn on evening TV you see and hear yet more about the supposed unique brutality of ISIS. In all of this, you hear moral revulsion in the voices of those speaking about ISIS. But never forget that only a year ago, while ISIS was beheading and bombing only Syrians within Syrian sovereign territory, no one spoke about ISIS or about its victims. On the contrary, ISIS received the collective praise of the West as part of the insurgent coalition fighting the Syrian government.

Americans who fume and steam about the horrors of ISIS must be reminded over and over and over again just how it was that ISIS grew so strong: with supply networks, or rather ratlines, funded with Gulf/NATO money, overseen by the CIA, all made logistically possible through the open border policies of U.S. allies Turkey and Jordan. After all this, should we entertain any narrative that seeks to obfuscate such essential context?

Why You Can Hardly Believe a Word of What You Read About ISIS

by WILLIAM BLUM, COUNTERPUNCH

You can’t believe a word the United States or its mainstream media say about the current conflict involving The Islamic State (ISIS).

You can’t believe a word France or the United Kingdom say about ISIS.

You can’t believe a word Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, or the United Arab Emirates say about ISIS. Can you say for sure which side of the conflict any of these mideast countries actually finances, arms, or trains, if in fact it’s only one side? Why do they allow their angry young men to join Islamic extremists? Why has NATO-member Turkey allowed so many Islamic extremists to cross into Syria? Is Turkey more concerned with wiping out the Islamic State or the Kurds under siege by ISIS? Are these countries, or the Western powers, more concerned with overthrowing ISIS or overthrowing the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad?

You can’t believe the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels. You can’t even believe that they are moderate. They have their hands in everything, and everyone has their hands in them.

Iran, Hezbollah and Syria have been fighting ISIS or its precursors for years, but the United States refuses to join forces with any of these entities in the struggle. Nor does Washington impose sanctions on any country for supporting ISIS as it quickly did against Russia for its alleged role in Ukraine.

Read the full article at COUNTERPUNCH…

 

Noam Chomsky on ISIS and current Middle East Conflict

In late September Noam Chomsky spoke on issues that are central to Levant Report’s own coverage: the modern histories of Iraq and Syria, the rise of ISIS, and U.S. and NATO policy in the region.

The talk, given at Chomsky’s home campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, provides a broad primer for those wanting to understand the truth behind current chaos enveloping the region.

Some of the highlights of Chomsky’s talk include the following:

1) ISIS is a creation of western foreign policy: ISIS is a natural outcome of both the U.S. destruction of Iraq (starting in 2003) and the U.S./NATO attempt to bring about regime change in Syria (starting in 2011).

2) Saddam was a close U.S. ally throughout the 1980’s as the U.S. collaborated with Iraq on its chemical weapons program in an attempt to defeat the Iranian regime (1980-1988). Chomsky points out that Saddam was beloved of Bush Sr., and that as late as April 1990 a congressional delegation headed by Bob Dole visited Saddam. Chomsky says the delegation’s spirit was one of fawning over the dictator (Ambassador Joe Wilson wrote that the scene was one of “obsequious boot-licking”).

3) Iraq was non-sectarian prior to the U.S. “sledge hammer” that broke it apart. Iraqis under Ba’ath nationalism often didn’t even know whether their neighbors were Sunni or Shia as they lived in mixed neighborhoods and inter-marriage was frequent.

4) While the Kurds of Iraq have recently been championed by the West, they were formerly victims unworthy of media coverage or western government concern. While the U.S. was supportive of Saddam, it looked the other way while he gassed the Kurds of northern Iraq (the U.S. at the time blamed the Iranians). The U.S. supplied the Turkish government with 80% of its military hardware while it committed genocide against Kurds in Turkey throughout the 1990’s. Once Saddam became “evil villain” in American eyes, the Kurds of Iraq became victims worthy of western concern.

5) Chomsky says the only sovereign military effectively fighting ISIS is the Syrian Arab Army under Assad. Chomsky further notes that Iran is also an effective part of this Syrian anti-ISIS campaign.

6) “Manufacturing Consent” is active and influences the western public’s perceptions on conflict in the region. Most Americans are not exposed to basic facts or even the recent history of the region because the U.S. government/corporate media alliance seeks to manufacture the consent of the people in the direction of whatever current Washington policy goals dictate.

Joe Biden’s Stunning Admission on the Origins of ISIS: Vice President Exposes Government’s Own False Narrative

Biden made comments that most Americans might find shocking—that U.S. allies in the Middle East sponsored the rise of ISIS—during an appearance last week at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Of course, he left out America’s role in all of this, which is well documented.

Only weeks ago saying such things as Biden just admitted would elicit responses of shock and disbelief as any proponent of such inconvenient facts would be dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist” in polite and official circles. But now what to do when the Vice President of the United States admits the truth in a calm, articulate manner while providing broad geopolitical context to a large audience at Harvard University?

This was no singular gaffe, as some mainstream pundits are already claiming, but as is obvious from the video, the comments were accompanied by a thought out, careful analysis multiple minutes in length. What to do when the #2 executive exposes the executive branch’s own narrative on Syria and ISIS to be a lie (or rather, propaganda consciously tailored for the masses)?

Just last week, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki blamed the Assad government for the rise of ISIS. Mainstream media has, over the past half-year, presented ISIS as if it merely came out of a vacuum, with no attempt to inform the public about its origins or battlefield alliances.

One striking aspect of Biden’s frank comments is that he implies that the arming of ISIS and other Al-Qaeda terrorists took place over a long period of time. Biden is giving a “long view” of the Syria conflict.

Americans should pause and remember the simplistic “Syria narrative” we’ve been spoon-fed over the past years. Isn’t it time to reevaluate everything we’ve ever been told about Syria?

As early as 2011 I would try to talk to fellow Americans about what was really happening in Syria. I would often simply try to convey what Joe Biden has now confirmed: that the U.S. regional alliance is funding a terror insurgency in Syria for the sake of toppling Assad.

No one wanted to hear it. For some, I was “tainted” due to my traveling and living inside Syria over multiple years, as this must have made me “biased” (of course it was they that must have known better while listening to blonde bimbo reporters on FOX, CNN, NBC, etc…!).

Never mind that I know the streets of Syrian cities better than the American city of my own upbringing, or that I maintain continual contacts with Syrians living inside and outside of Syria. Never mind that I’ve spent years scouring source documents and reading modern histories of Syria and the Middle East. Never mind that I’ve conducted face to face interviews with Syrians as varied as a Christian family from Aleppo to a 16-year-old Sunni opposition kid from Homs.

You see, I (and many other independent writers) were wrong for contradicting common American group-think with our facts born of direct experience of Syria and contact with actual common Syrians! As I recently asked an auditorium full of students, “how often over the course of the past years did we actually hear the perspectives of common Iraqis and Syrians in mainstream media presentations?”

As early as summer of 2011 contacts inside Syria were warning me of external powers like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey exacerbating the conflict by financing an insurgency inside Syria. Back then, any attempt to relay such information to Americans was dismissed as being “pro-Assad” or just downright looney.

Now that Biden’s own words have blown open the lies of the government/corporate media narrative on ISIS and Syria, we should take a sober look at BBC investigative reporter Adam Curtis’ conclusion:

The question at the heart of this whole story is – Who was the ventriloquist? And who was the dummy?

Maybe we were the dummy? By allowing perception management with its simplifications, falsehoods and exaggerations to create a simplified vision of the world – we fell into a fake universe of certainty when really we were just watching a pantomime.

And now as the Arab Spring unfolds and reveals the true chaos and messiness of the real world – above all the horror of what is happening in Syria – we find ourselves completely unable to understand it or even know what to do. So those stories get ignored while we follow others with clearer and more simplified dramas which have what seem to be obvious goodies and baddies – thank god for Iran, North Korea and Jimmy Savile.