July 2016 – SYRIA – U.S.-backed rebels on Sunday accused fighters from al-Nusra Front of storming their headquarters in northwestern Syria and kidnapping their commander, along with dozens of other combatants. In a statement published online on Sunday, Jaish al-Tahrir (Army of Liberation) said its commander, Mohammad al-Ghabi, had been abducted from his father’s home in the town of Kafranbel by al-Nusra Front militants on Saturday evening. It said the group’s fighters had also “kidnapped more than 40 members of Jaish al-Tahrir” and stolen weapons from other bases and checkpoints set up in northwestern Syria.
“We call on al-Nusra Front to immediately release our commander and all the others who were kidnapped,” the statement said, urging other Islamist groups to put pressure on the militants. The US is known to have directly supported Jaish al-Tahrir in the past with weapons and even salaries for individual fighters. Al-Nusra has attacked several US-backed groups in northwestern Idlib province, most recently raiding the warehouses of Division 13 in the town of Maarat al-Numan in March.
In the summer of 2015, it kidnapped several members of US-trained rebel group Division 30 and requisitioned their weapons shortly after they entered Syria. Although they have faced fierce opposition from other groups within Syria, US-backed rebels have managed to achieve some success, this week seizing a huge cache of IS documents. Idlib province is controlled by the Army of Conquest, an alliance of Islamist and rebel fighters led by al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham. Residents of towns like Maarat al-Numan and Kafranbel have demonstrated against al-Nusra’s hardline ideology.
Syria’s five-year conflict began with anti-government demonstrations, but has since turned into a complex war increasingly dominated by extremist groups including Islamic State. More than 280,000 people have been killed and millions have been forced to flee their homes since March 2011. –Middle East Eye
(Filed June 27, 2016) CIA weapons stolen: Millions of dollars worth of weapons sent by the CIA to Jordan for Syrian rebels was stolen by Jordanian intelligence chiefs and sold on the black market, it has emerged. Thousands of Kalashnikov assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades – intended for US-backed opposition groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces – ended up in the hands of criminals. The theft was reportedly carried out by officers with direct access to cargo, who “regularly siphoned truckloads” of the arms while still delivering some to designated drop-offs. Jordanian officers who were part of the scheme “reaped a windfall” from sales, using the money to buy iPhones, SUVs and other luxury items, according to a joint investigation by the New York Times and al-Jazeera.
The scheme continued for some time and was only stopped a few months ago when the US became aware of reports arms dealers were bragging that they had large stocks of CIA weapons. After the Americans complained, Jordanian investigators arrested several dozen “low-level” officers involved in the scheme, but later released them. Most of the stolen weapons could not be accounted for, but experts speculate they could be in the possession of criminal networks or Islamic State sympathizers. Isil has in recent months become increasingly active in the Hashemite Kingdom, and on Monday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a Jordanian army post on the Syrian border.
It was however discovered that some of the arms were used in the shooting of two American contractors by a Jordanian officer last November at a police training base in the capital Amman. Husam Abdallat, a senior aide to several past Jordanian prime ministers, said he had heard about the scheme from current Jordanian officials. However state officials denied all the allegations. The State Department did not address the claims directly, but a spokesman said America’s relationship with Jordan remained solid. –Telegraph
Fast and Furious – Mexico: “Gunwalking,” or “letting guns walk,” was a tactic of the Arizona Field Office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran a series of sting operations between 2006 and 2011 in the Tucson and Phoenix area where the ATF “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them.” These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States. –Wikipedia
The hypocritical Obama Administration should be the very last people in the world to preach to Americans about gun control and the repeal of the 2nd Amendment, when they are singularly responsible for dumping tons of so-called “illegal” automatic weapons, grenades, and rpgs on criminal markets across the world. Many of these procured and stolen weapons will end up in the hands of criminal organizations and terrorists who will kill Americans.
VLADIMIR Putin is to send Russia’s largest battleship to Syria in a bid to crush ISIS once and for all. The Russian president is to dispatch the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier plus 30 jet fighters and attack helicopters to the war-torn country in an attempt to destroy the terror group for good. The Kremlin strongman’s decision came in the wake of ISIS atrocities in Bangladesh – where it murdered 20 hostages in a restaurant in the capital Dhaka – and Baghdad, Iraq, where a car bomb killed 125 shoppers.
The 55,000 ton ship will be deployed in the region from October until January, a military source informed TASS. It will be carrying 15 Sukhoi Su-33 fighters and 15 MiG-29 warplanes, as well as 30 attack choppers. Airstrikes from coalition forces – including the UK and the US – have already left ISIS on the brink of collapse, and it is hoped Russia’s latest attempt will succeed at destroying what’s left of the caliphate. Putin says the ship was deployed to deter ISIS threats, but more than likely that’s a convenient excuse for Putin to expand Russian military ambitions in the region. –SUN