Western-Backed Chechen “Freedom Fighter” Named as Istanbul Attack Mastermind

Meet Akhmed Chatayev: Freedom Fighter - Government Informant - Most Wanted Terrorist   

First details begin to emerge about the suspected Islamic State attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport that left at least 44 people dead and more than 230 injured.

A senior Turkish government official announced on Thursday that the three suicide bombers who carried out the attack were nationals of Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.[1]

Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak quoted police as saying that eight terrorists were involved in the operation. Three of them were killed, one was detained and four others remain at large.

According to the Yeni Safak report, well-known Chechen Islamic State commander Akhmed Chatayev organized the deadly attack.[2]

Turkish officials did not immediately confirm Chatayev’s involvement but a Turkish police source with direct knowledge of the investigation told NBC News that Chatayev is believed to be the planner of the attack.[3]

Turkish police reportedly launched a manhunt to catch the Chechen terrorist leader.[4]

Western governments and media are now scrambling to explain why they dismissed Russian warnings about Chatayev and protected him for many years despite a long history of terrorism-related offenses.

Akhmed Chatayev first caught the Russian authorities’ attention when he was captured during the Second Chechen War in the late 1990s. Depending on whom you want to believe, Chatayev lost his right arm either due to a wound sustained during the fighting or as a result of torture after his arrest.

The circumstances of his release remain unclear, which prompted Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s The Interpreter to suggest that Chatayev might have been recruited as a Russian informer or agent.[5]

Judging by his actions upon release, this seems unlikely.

Chatayev left Russia in 2001 and found refuge in Azerbaijan,[6] like many other Chechen “freedom fighters.”[7]

This can be explained by the fact that Azerbaijan served as one main conduit for the U.S.-NATO-led ‘Gladio B’ operations in the region – the other main conduit being Turkey.[8]

The true extent of U.S.-NATO involvement in the Chechen struggle for independence is still a well-guarded secret but Chatayev’s story sheds some light on dubious Western machinations that have fueled terrorism in Russia and beyond.

In 2003, “Akhmed One-Arm” moved to Austria. He was granted asylum and received Austrian citizenship. While enjoying Austrian hospitality, Chatayev made extensive use of his new passport that “allowed him to travel freely in Europe and elsewhere.”

Russian media reports suggest that Chatayev was wanted by Russian authorities since 2003 on suspicion of recruiting fighters and raising funds for the North Caucasus insurgency. According to sources in Chechen Islamic groups, this task was assigned to him by none other than Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov.[9]

Neither Chatayev’s close connection to Umarov nor his criminal activities seemed to bother anyone in the West. Russia repeatedly tried to get him extradited, to no avail.

In 2008, “Akhmed One-Arm” made headlines in Sweden. He was arrested and sentenced to 16 months in prison for smuggling an automatic weapon and two handguns with munition and silencers into the country. Chatayev had arrived by ferry boat from Germany along with two other Chechens. He told the Swedish authorities that they were on their way to Norway to go fishing and denied having any knowledge of the weapons hidden in a spare wheel in the trunk of his car. Chatayev was convicted in March 2008 and released in January 2009.[10]

A few months later he continued his tour through European prisons in Ukraine. The Ukrainian authorities arrested him at Russia’s request. Russia asked for Chatayev’s extradition but the European Court of Human Rights and Amnesty International intervened, reminding the Ukrainian government that the wanted terror suspect had been granted refugee status in Austria.[11]

Instead of enjoying life in Wien, Chatayev then got into trouble in Bulgaria. In summer 2011, he was detained at the Bulgarian border while attempting to cross into Turkey. A Bulgarian court decided to extradite him to Russia but Chatayev filed an appeal and played the refugee card – with success.[12]

Afterwards, Umarov’s trusted associate settled in Georgia, where he was offered a job by then-Deputy Interior Minister Giorgi Lortkipanidze due to his excellent connections to the North Caucasus insurgency.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Lortkipanidze did his best to obfuscate what really happened in Georgia and which role Chatayev played. He claimed that he recruited Chatayev as an informer and negotiator between the Georgian government and the Islamic underground of the North Caucasus to prevent terrorist attacks in Georgia.

Lortkipanidze told The Daily Beast that he was pleased with Chatayev’s work for more than a year until he refused to rat out a group of radical militants that was trying to cross from Georgia into Russia.[13]

Georgia’s former Deputy Interior Minister was referring to the so-called Lopota incident in August 2012, but for some reason he failed to mention that this incident exposed a secret government training program for Chechen fighters. An investigation into the clashes in the Lopota gorge by Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili unearthed explosive information:

According to the report, in February 2012 senior officials from the Georgian Interior Ministry contacted some of “veterans of the Chechen war”, as well as representatives of Chechen community now living in Europe with the purpose to convince them that the Georgian authorities were ready to give armed militants “so called corridor”, a free passage for infiltrating into Russia’s North Caucasus via Georgia.

These efforts, according to the report, resulted into arrival from Europe of about 120 Chechens and other natives of the North Caucasus in Georgia.

“Flats were rented for them in various neighborhoods of Tbilisi, mainly in Saburtalo district,” the report reads, adding that the Interior Ministry officials were picking them up at Tbilisi airport and providing them with firearms and driving licenses.

Georgian military officials and “Chechen militants with large combat experience” trained the Chechen recruits at the Shavnabada and Vaziani military bases near Tbilisi. There is evidence to suggest that Akhmed Chatayev was involved in this secret program. Nanuashvili’s report named Lortkipanidze as having coordinated the recruitment and training, which explains why he didn’t tell The Daily Beast the whole truth about Chatayev’s work for the Georgian government.

According to Nanuashvili’s sources, the Chechens grew impatient because their training was taking longer than expected and demanded to be taken to the Russian border. But after arriving in the Lopota gorge, the fighters were prevented from entering Russia and told to surrender their arms before returning either to a military base or to Pankisi gorge.[14]

Chatayev was reportedly one of the “authoritative Chechen individuals” that were brought in to mediate after the Chechen fighters refused to lay down their arms. The talks yielded no results and Chatayev was injured during the ensuing fighting. Georgian security forces arrested him a few days later. His injured leg had to be amputated and he was charged with illegal possession of two hand grenades.

Russia asked once again for Chatayev’s extradition, with the same result as before. In December 2012, Chatayev was released on bail and the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office eventually dropped the charge against him one month later.[15]

Former President Mikheil Saakashvili and his United National Movement (UNM) seized upon this fact in the aftermath of the Istanbul airport attack to settle political scores.

Saakashvili emphasized that Chatayev was arrested by his government in a counter-terrorist operation led by Lortkipanidze, and lamented that, after a change of government, “the new Georgian government, led by Russian oligarch Ivanishvili, promptly freed him.”[16] The former Georgian leader failed to mention that his close associate Lortkipanidze was in charge of a secret government training program for Chechen fighters and that Chatayev had been working for him.

Lortkipanidze later escaped prosecution in Georgia for his role in the Lopota debacle by following his old boss Saakashvili to Ukraine.[17]

In addition to Chatayev, nine Chechen fighters survived the 2012 clashes. They were allowed to leave the country a few days later and the Georgian Interior Ministry assisted them in traveling to Turkey.[18]

Turkey is the preferred destination of many Chechen “freedom fighters,” and Chatayev was no exception.

According to Russian independent news agency Caucasian Knot, he lived in Turkey between 2012 and 2015. During this time, he came into direct contact with Islamic State commander Tarkhan Batirashvili – a man with a similar story.[19]

After serving as the Caucasus Emirate’s representative in Turkey, Chatayev reportedly joined IS in 2014.[20]

As early as January 2015, “a trustworthy source from Istanbul” told Georgian media that Chatayev was organizing the transit of young recruits from Georgia’s Pankisi gorge to Syria.[21]

One month later, Chatayev removed any last doubts about his activities by appearing in an IS video in Syria as the commander of the Yarmouk Battalion, a Chechen-led IS battalion of Russian-speaking jihadists.[22]

In August, Russian security services identified “One-Legged Akhmet” as the main recruiter of Russian nationals to the Islamic State.[23]

In October 2015, the U.S. government finally acted on the IS video from February and added Chatayev to its list of specially designated global terrorists.[24]

Within a few years, Chatayev had gone from working for the U.S.-backed Georgian government and enjoying protection in the West to becoming one of the most wanted terrorists - despite barely changing his behavior. The biggest difference was that his activities were no longer limited to Russia.

The fact that Akhmed Chatayev has now emerged at the center of the investigation into the Istanbul airport attack raises many inconvenient questions - and Western governments have a lot to answer for.

# # # #

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

[1] Humeyra Pamuk and Daren Butler, “Istanbul airport bombers were Russian, Uzbek, Kyrgyz: Turkish official,” Reuters, 30 June 2016: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-blast-raids-idUSKCN0ZG0RM.

[2] “Russian national identified as a suicide bomber in Istanbul airport attack,” Yeni Safak, 30 June 2016: http://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/russian-national-identified-as-a-suicide-bomber-in-istanbul-airport-attack-2488906.

[3] William M. Arkin, Mansur Mirovalev and Corky Siemaszko, “Chechen Akhmed Chatayev Is Called Suspected Planner of Istanbul Attack,” NBC News, 1 July 2016: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/istanbul-ataturk-airport-attack/chechen-akhmed-chatayev-called-suspected-planner-istanbul-attack-n602401.

[4] Dominique Soguel and Suzan Fraser, “Attention in Istanbul bombing focused on Chechen extremist,” The Associated Press, 1 July 2016: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fad6ca6eda9142bead29b11b7b259981/turkish-official-mastermind-feb-terror-attack-killed.

[5] Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, “Russian Press Claims Alleged Mastermind of Istanbul Attacks Was Detained For Terrorism In Four Countries But Was Let Go,” The Interpreter, 30 June 2016: http://www.interpretermag.com/turkey-claims-airport-bombers-were-russian-uzbek-and-kyrgyz-georgian-ties-possible/#14408?pressId=14408.

[6] Nino Burchuladze, “‘Ahmed One-Arm’ - The man who sends Jihadists from Pankisi to Syria,” Georgian Journal, 31 January 2015: http://www.georgianjournal.ge/military/29509-ahmed-one-arm-the-man-who-sends-jihadists-from-pankisi-to-syria.html.

[7] Sibel Edmonds, “BFP Exclusive: US-NATO-Chechen Militia Joint Operations Base,” Boiling Frogs Post, 22 November 2011: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2011/11/22/bfp-exclusive-us-nato-chechen-militia-joint-operations-base/.

[8] Nafeez Ahmed, “Why was a Sunday Times report on US government ties to al-Qaeda chief spiked?,” Ceasefire Magazine, 17 May 2013: http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/whistleblower-al-qaeda-chief-u-s-asset/.

[9] Fatima Tlisova, “Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain,” Voice of America, 30 June 2016: http://www.voanews.com/content/chechen-suspected-istanbul-attack-questions-remain/3399309.html.

[10] “The Latest: Tunisian town buries doctor killed in Istanbul,” The Associated Press, 1 July 2016: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fda76e4091a14140b0c30212f60139d0/latest-us-official-chechen-organized-airport-attack.

[11] “Ukraine: Ukraine obliged to halt extradition: Ahmed Chataev : Further information,” Amnesty International, 22 January 2010: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur50/002/2010/en/.

[12] “Bulgarian court refuses to hand over terror suspect to Russia,” Russia Today, 22 July 2011: https://www.rt.com/news/terror-suspect-denied-extradition/.

[13] Anna Nemtsova, “Mastermind of Istanbul Airport Attack Had Been Georgian Informant, Official Says,” The Daily Beast, 1 July 2016: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/01/mastermind-of-istanbul-airport-attack-had-been-georgian-informant-official-says.html.

[14] “Public Defender Calls on MPs to Probe into Lopota Armed Clash,” Civil Georgia, 1 April 2013: http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=25911.

[15] Liz Fuller, “President Again Denies Georgia Co-Opted Chechen Fighters,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 28 April 2013: http://www.rferl.org/content/georgia-chechen-militants-allegations-saakashvili-denial/24970927.html.

[16] Mikheil Saakashvili, Facebook, 30 June 2016: https://www.facebook.com/SaakashviliMikheil/posts/1224494270914285.

[17] “New head of Odessa Police escapes prosecution in Georgia,” Caucasian Knot, 17 June 2015: http://eng.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/32068/.

[18] Ibid., Civil Georgia.

[19] Ibid., Tlisova.

[20] “Details of Atatürk Airport attack planner emerge,” Yeni Safak, 2 July 2016: http://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/details-of-ataturk-airport-attack-planner-emerge-2489718.

[21] Ibid., Burchuladze.

[22] Joanna Paraszczuk, “Russian Citizen Linked To Lopota Gorge Incident Now Heads IS Battalion In Syria,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 25 February 2015: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-lopota-gorge-incident-islamic-state-syria/26869379.html.

[23] Joanna Paraszczuk, “Main Russian IS Recruiter 'Identified In Turkey,' But Who Is One-Legged Akhmet?,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 10 August 2015: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-islamic-state-one-legged-akhmet-recruiter/27181197.html.

[24] “Treasury Sanctions Individuals Affiliated With Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and Caucasus Emirate,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, 5 October 2015: https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0199.aspx.

BFP Exclusive- Paris Attacks: Western Intelligence’s Vision Blinded by Allah?

“…through its massacres in Paris, ISIS may now have dealt Assad the death blow.”

When the United States and Saudi Arabia decided to curb Iranian influence in the Middle East by embarking on a strategy that involved bolstering Sunni extremist forces, Prince Bandar bin Sultan and other Saudi officials told Washington not to worry about religious fundamentalists. Their message was plain and simple:

“We’ve created this movement, and we can control it. It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”[1]

At that time, the Bush administration began forging closer ties with the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood “to keep up the pressure” on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[2]

Four years later, the U.S. and its allies tried to capitalize on growing public discontent in Syria by launching an Operation Cyclone-style war against the Assad government. Western media played a decisive role in enabling the covert operations which inevitably led to an escalation of violence.[3]

While Western and Gulf media were trying to perpetuate the myth of the “moderate rebels,” U.S. intelligence knew full well that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) predicted early on that the insurgents “will try to use the Iraqi territory as a safe haven” and pointed out that “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria.” According to the DIA, “this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”[4]

As former DIA chief Michael Flynn emphasized in an interview with Al-Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, the rise of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) came not as a surprise.[5]

What came as a surprise to U.S. intelligence was the resilience of the Assad government and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Thanks to support from Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah, Assad and the SAA are still standing after 30,000 foreign fighters from more than 100 countries have poured into Syria, turning parts of the country into a jihadist paradise.[6]

Reports of Western countries encouraging radicalized Islamists to join the fight cast doubt on claims that Western intelligence agencies have tried to stem the flow of jihadists to Syria.[7]

Moreover, NATO member Turkey has been instrumental in funneling fighters, weapons and all kinds of other supplies to anti-government forces in Syria, including ISIS.[8]

Parts of southern Turkey increasingly resemble Pakistan in the 1980s. The border region from Hatay to Gaziantep has already been dubbed the “Peshawar of the Middle East.”[9]

Turkey has paid a high price for its ill-fated policy vis-à-vis Syria and even the Saudis have gotten a taste of their own medicine,[10] but for the most part, the Salafis have thrown bombs at the “right” people.

Since the start of the conflict, terrorist attacks have become the new normal in Syria. When a car bomb rips through a residential area, Western media focuses on stressing that “the rebels have managed to infiltrate” an Assad stronghold, which “shows how the regime is losing ground.”[11]

Similarly, after ISIS suicide bombers recently targeted a busy residential district in southern Beirut, killing at least 43 people and wounding more than 200 in the worst attack in the city in decades, Western media turned the victims into Hezbollah human shields.[12]

When ISIS claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian passenger plane which claimed the lives of 224 people, the West didn’t even bother hiding its Schadenfreude and gloated over Russia paying the price for “Vladimir Putin’s military adventurism in Syria.”[13] British foreign secretary Philip Hammond told The New York Times that he hoped the attack would persuade the Russian President “to take a more flexible posture in the Syria talks.”[14]

But on November 13, one day before the Syria talks in Vienna and one day after the bombing of a “Hezbollah stronghold” in Beirut, “everything changed” because the terror reached a Western capital.

The world watched in horror as at least 129 people were killed and more than 300 injured in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks across Paris.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks and French President Francois Hollande left no doubt that this was "an act of war committed by Daesh that was prepared, organized and planned from outside [France]” with help from inside France.[15]

Investigators quickly found that the trail of the Paris killers leads to Belgium and Syria. Three of the seven suspected perpetrators are from Brussels’ Molenbeek district, which has “grown into a hub for jihadist networks,”[16] and according to French officials, six of the people directly involved in the attacks had spent time in Syria.[17]

The presumed mastermind of the Paris attacks, Belgian citizen Abdelhamid Abaaoud, returned to Belgium “at some point under the radar of authorities” after fighting with ISIS in Syria. He left again for Syria in January 2015 when Belgian police foiled a terrorist plot that he allegedly masterminded.[18] In February, the ISIS magazine Dabiq published an interview with Abaaoud, in which he boasted that Western intelligence agencies were neither able to prevent him from entering Belgium and establishing a terror cell nor from leaving the country:

“Allah blinded their vision and I was able to leave and come to Shām despite being chased after by so many intelligence agencies. All this proves that a Muslim should not fear the bloated image of the crusader intelligence. My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them, and leave safely when doing so became necessary.”[19]

Another Belgian citizen who has emerged at the center of the Paris probe can tell a similar story. Salah Abdeslam lived only a few blocks away from Abaaoud in Molenbeek and spent time in the same prison. Belgian officials have no doubt that the two men knew each other.

Abdeslam also tried to travel to Syria earlier this year but he was one of the few would-be jihadists that were stopped by Turkish authorities. Despite his attempt to cross from Turkey into Syria, the Belgian government concluded that he didn’t pose a risk. A Belgian official said that “the investigation showed no signs of him actively going to terrorism.” Perhaps he was just trying to join the “moderate rebels” and he is really as innocent as his family claims.[20]

The first Paris killer who was been identified by French police is French national Ismael Omar Mostefai. Like Abdeslam, Mostefai caught the Turkish authorities’ attention when he tried to travel to Syria. But in contrast to Abdeslam, he was more successful.[21] Turkey notified France twice in December 2014 and June 2015 about Mostefai but only heard back after the Paris attacks.[22]

Either French authorities didn’t view Mostefai as a major threat or their vision was “blinded by Allah.”

This would also explain how someone managed to steal 180 detonators, 40 grenades and 10 blocks of 250 grams of plastic explosives from the Miramas military site near Marseille in July although France had been on high alert for terrorism since the Charlie Hebdo attacks.[23]

As the military website SOFREP revealed, some of the stolen explosives were later found when terrorists tried to blow up industrial targets in France. French and German police and intelligence were reportedly meeting in the weeks prior to the Paris attacks “to discuss an imminent pre-planned terrorist attack in Paris.” French security services were only wondering “whether or not the target would be soft (civilian) or hard (military, government, industrial) in nature.”[24] The bomb threat that forced Germany’s national football team to evacuate their Paris hotel on the morning of the attacks should have raised red flags.[25]

Instead of holding intelligence agencies to account for failing to prevent terrorist attacks at home while supporting terrorists in Syria and elsewhere, the response to the Paris attacks will likely entail even greater powers for security services and more support for the “Syrian rebels” under the guise of fighting ISIS.[26]

There is a certain irony in the fact that individuals like former senior CIA official Graham Fuller are now calling for the elimination of ISIS.[27] After all, Fuller has been one of the leading proponents of using jihadists against adversaries of the United States. He is credited with saying, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvellously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.”[28]

Fuller himself has been heavily involved in these operations.[29] Therefore, it came as a surprise when he called for ending Operation Cyclone 2.0 in Syria [30] and conceded that ISIS is “made in the USA.”[31]

After facilitating the rise of ISIS “in order to isolate the Syrian regime,” the U.S. and its allies are now stepping up their fight against the terrorist group. But as Graham Fuller noted, the real target is somebody else and the Paris attacks may prove very useful in this regard:

“Ironically the enormity of the ISIS/ al-Qaeda alternative to Asad had lately sparked some western hesitation in pursuing his overthrow, but now,  through its massacres in Paris, ISIS may now have dealt Asad the death blow.”[30]

# # # #

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

[1] Seymour M. Hersh, “The Redirection,” The New Yorker, 5 March 2007: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection.

[2] Jay Solomon, “To Check Syria, U.S. Explores Bond With Muslim Brothers,” The Wall Street Journal, 25 July 2007: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB118530969571176579.

[3] Sibel Edmonds, “What & When We Exposed, and the MSM- Quasi Alternative Culprits Who Fought Our Exposés,” Boiling Frogs Post, 29 August 2013: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/08/29/bfp-syria-coverage-track-record-what-when-we-exposed-and-the-msm-quasi-alternative-culprits-who-fought-our-exposes/.

[4] Brad Hoff, “2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State ‘in order to isolate the Syrian regime,’” Levant Report, 19 May 2015: http://levantreport.com/2015/05/19/2012-defense-intelligence-agency-document-west-will-facilitate-rise-of-islamic-state-in-order-to-isolate-the-syrian-regime/.

[5] Brad Hoff, “Former DIA Chief Michael Flynn Says Rise of Islamic State was “a willful decision” and Defends Accuracy of 2012 Memo,” Levant Report, 6 August 2015: http://levantreport.com/2015/08/06/former-dia-chief-michael-flynn-says-rise-of-islamic-state-was-a-willful-decision-and-defends-accuracy-of-2012-memo/.

[6] Eric Schmitt and Somini Sengupta, “Thousands Enter Syria to Join ISIS Despite Global Efforts,” The New York Times, 26 September 2015: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/world/middleeast/thousands-enter-syria-to-join-isis-despite-global-efforts.html?_r=0.

[7] “Lethal exports - Germany admits to urging some Islamists to leave in past,” Deutsche Welle, 2 October 2014: http://www.dw.com/en/lethal-exports-germany-admits-to-urging-some-islamists-to-leave-in-past/a-17971327.

[8] “’IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” Deutsche Welle, 26 November 2014: http://www.dw.com/en/is-supply-channels-through-turkey/av-18091048.

[9] Kadri Gursel, “Has Turkey Become the ‘Pakistan of the Middle East?,’” Al-Monitor, 24 September 2013: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2013/09/time-act-al-qaeda-turkey-jabhat-al-nusra.html#.

[10] Kareem Shaheen, “Islamic State claims suicide bombing at Saudi Arabian mosque,” The Guardian, 6 August 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/06/suicide-bomber-attacks-mosque-in-saudi-arabia.

[11] David Blair, “Syria car bomb kills 10 in Bashar al-Assad’s stronghold,” The Telegraph, 2 September 2015: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11839761/Syria-car-bomb-kills-10-in-Bashar-al-Assads-stronghold.html.

[12] Ben Norton, “Media Turn Civilian ISIS Victims in Beirut Into Hezbollah Human Shields,” FAIR, 13 November 2015: http://fair.org/home/media-turn-civilian-isis-victims-in-beirut-into-hezbollah-human-shields/.

[13] Simon Tisdall, “Sinai plane crash may show price of Putin’s military adventurism in Syria,” The Guardian, 5 November 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/05/sinai-plane-crash-putin-military-adventurism-syria-analysis.

[14] Somini Sengupta, “Invitation List Looms as Test for Syria Talks,” The New York Times, 9 November 2015: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/10/world/middleeast/invitation-list-looms-as-test-for-syria-talks.html.

[15] Tom Heneghan, “Hollande says Paris attacks ‘an act of war’ by Islamic State,” Reuters, 14 November 2015: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/14/us-france-shooting-hollande-idUSKCN0T30JG20151114.

[16] Natalia Drozdiak and Julian E. Barnes, “Brussels District of Molenbeek Is Home to Some Suspects in Paris Attacks,” The Wall Street Journal, 16 November 2015: http://www.wsj.com/articles/brussels-district-is-home-to-some-suspects-in-paris-attacks-1447718699.

[17] Jethro Mullen and Margot Haddad, “’France is at war,’ President Francois Hollande says after ISIS attack,” CNN, 17 November 2015: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/16/world/paris-attacks/.

[18] Benoit Faucon, Matthew Dalton, Stacy Meichtry and David Gauthier-Villars, “Paris Attacks Suspect Was Monitored by Western Allies Seeking to Kill Him,” The Wall Street Journal, 17 November 2015: http://www.wsj.com/articles/french-authorities-raid-suspected-islamists-after-paris-attacks-1447661092.

[19] Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn, “Key suspect in Paris attacks has been featured in Islamic State propaganda,” The Long War Journal, 16 November 2015: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/11/key-suspect-in-paris-attacks-has-been-featured-in-islamic-state-propaganda.php

[20] Ibid., Faucon et al.

[21] David Chazan and Rory Mulholland, “French suicide attacker ‘trained in Syria,’” The Telegraph, 15 November 2015: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11997470/French-suicide-attacker-trained-in-Syria.html.

[22] Orhan Coskun and Humeyra Pamuk, “Paris attacks: Turkey says it notified France twice about attacker, says senior official,” The Independent, 16 November 2015: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-attacks-turkey-says-it-notified-france-twice-about-attacker-says-senior-official-a6736131.html.

[23] Jamey Keaten, “200 detonators, explosives stolen from French military site,” The Associated Press, 7 July 2015: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/bbd903968f6142bfa1bd4225a9e9fee7/200-detonators-explosives-stolen-french-military-site.

[24] Jack Murphy, “Breaking: French and German Police Knew Paris Attack Was Coming a Month Prior,” SOFREP, 13 November 2015: http://sofrep.com/44480/french-and-german-police-knew-paris-attack-was-coming/#ixzz3rQM86ve0.

[25] Chuck Penfold, “Bomb threat forces Germany out of Paris hotel,” Deutsche Welle, 13 November 2015: http://www.dw.com/en/bomb-threat-forces-germany-out-of-paris-hotel/a-18847733.

[26] Phil Stewart, “Exclusive: U.S. delivers ammunition to Syrian Arab fighters battling Islamic State,” Reuters, 15 November 2015: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/15/us-mideast-crisis-ammunition-exclusive-idUSKCN0T412O20151115.

[27] Graham E. Fuller, “ISIS- The Hour Has Struck,” grahamefuller.com, 14 November 2015: http://grahamefuller.com/isis-the-hour-has-struck/.

[28] Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, “Our terrorists,” New Internationalist, 1 October 2009: http://newint.org/features/2009/10/01/blowback-extended-version/.

[29] Sibel Edmonds, “Turkish Intel Chief Exposes CIA Operations via Islamic Group in Central Asia,” Boiling Frogs Post, 6 January 2011: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2011/01/06/turkish-intel-chief-exposes-cia-operations-via-islamic-group-in-central-asia/.

[30] Graham E. Fuller, “Embracing Assad Is a Better Strategy for the U.S. Than Supporting the Least Bad Jihadis,” The Huffington Post, 29 September 2014: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/graham-e-fuller/us-assad-isis-strategy_b_5898142.html.

[31] Ezgi Basaran, “Former CIA officer says US policies helped create IS,” Al-Monitor, 2 September 2014: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2014/09/turkey-usa-iraq-syria-isis-fuller.html#.

[32] Ibid., Fuller, 14 November 2015.

BFP Exclusive- Russia’s Syria Intervention Enrages US-led Coalition, ISIS & Al-Qaeda

‘Syrian Taliban’, Sinai crash & ‘Gladio B’ give Moscow food for thought

Russia’s intervention in Syria has whipped up feelings across the region and around the world. As soon as Russian aircraft began conducting airstrikes in Syria, Western media started complaining that Russia is bombing the wrong terrorists.[1]

After the Pentagon failed to find more than a few dozen “moderate rebels” for its much-publicized training program,[2] Russian bombs supposedly managed to find countless “moderate Syrian rebels” and U.S. officials suddenly remembered that the CIA has been running a much more effective training program than the Pentagon.[3]

U.S. government and media are still pretending that the CIA “began a covert operation in 2013 to arm, fund and train a moderate opposition to Assad” and that this secret program “is the only way the U.S. is taking on Assad militarily.”[4]

As Boiling Frogs Post exposed four years ago, U.S. covert operations started as early as April-May 2011 when a joint U.S.-NATO training camp was set up in Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base.[5]

Moscow’s intervention is now complicating efforts to hide the true extent of U.S. involvement in the conflict as well as Washington’s real objectives. Even the neocon comedians at The Daily Beast couldn’t help but wonder why CIA-trained “rebels” were fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra against Syrian government forces instead of battling the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).[6]

To make matters worse, Russia’s move has scuppered U.S. coalition plans for a no-fly zone in Syria, as the Financial Times so aptly put it.[7] Under the guise of establishing an “ISIS-free zone,” the United States and Turkey had been leading efforts to set up a no-fly zone and wanted to seize Syria’s Aleppo Governorate. Turkish media was already cheerfully proclaiming Aleppo as the 82nd province of Turkey before the Russians ruined everything.[8]

Although it is not exactly a secret that “an imminent move to ramp up coalition activity in Syria” forced Moscow’s hand,[9] the very same countries that are operating illegally in Syria[10] tried to claim the moral high ground when the Russian Air Force joined the fight at the request of the Syrian government.

The U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other coalition members called on Russia “to immediately cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians” and warned that Russian military actions “will only fuel more extremism and radicalization.”[11]

In case anybody had not gotten the message, a senior Qatari source told the Middle East Eye that the Russians “will be begging Qatar in 10 years time to negotiate a ceasefire with the ‘Syrian Taliban’” if they don’t back down.[12]

Both ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch Jabhat al-Nusra also called for jihad against Russia.[13] The terrorists apparently don’t share the U.S. government’s assessment that 85 to 90 percent of Russian airstrikes are hitting “the moderate Syrian opposition.”[14]

By now, the Islamic State has probably realized that The Daily Beast cannot be trusted.[15] Instead of giving air support to ISIS fighters, the Russian Air Force is actually targeting vital supply lines from Turkey after the U.S. had allowed “these supply lines to continue flowing.”[16]

This might explain why ISIS was so eager to claim responsibility for the downing of a Russian passenger plane that crashed in Egypt‘s Sinai peninsula. According to the Islamic State’s Aleppo “province,” the plane was attacked in retaliation for Russia’s intervention in Syria.[17]

While investigators were still trying to figure out what caused the crash, a former U.S. diplomat with an interesting background,[18] who features in Sibel Edmonds’ The Lone Gladio, took the same line as ISIS and gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a little advice:

Matthew Bryza and the Kremlin clearly have a different interpretation of “truly fighting ISIS.” The Russians have no illusions about the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS and the true nature of the so-called Islamic State.

After calling the U.S.-led coalition out for “pretending” to bomb ISIS,[19] influential Russian lawmaker Alexey Pushkov recently explained that Russia is fighting for its own security in Syria because “those behind Islamic State are the same people who were in the past destabilizing Central Asia and attempted to break Chechnya away from Russia.”[20]

Pushkov’s allusion to the Pentagon-led ‘Gladio B’ operations in Central Asia and the Caucasus region is particularly interesting in light of recent reports suggesting that al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who participated in these operations,[21] is now taking a more prominent role in the Syrian conflict.

In a newly released audio message, Zawahiri urged his “mujahideen brothers in all places and of all groups” to join forces against Russia and the West.[22] According to unconfirmed reports, he has already sent senior al-Qaeda leader Saif al-Adel to Syria to mediate between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.[23] Given Zawahiri’s background, it is safe to say that he is more interested in fighting Russia than the West.

As the U.S. and its allies are stepping up arms supplies to the non-existent “moderate Syrian rebels,”[24] the Russians might be wondering if there is any difference between the “Syrian Taliban” and their Afghan prototypes.

# # # #

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

[1] Nancy A. Youssef, “Putin Hits West’s Rebels Instead of ISIS,” The Daily Best, 30 September 2015: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/30/putin-orders-u-s-jets-out-of-syria.html.

[2] Tom Vanden Brook, “Pentagon’s failed Syria program cost $2 million per trainee,” USA Today, 5 November 2015: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/11/05/pentagon-isil-syria-train-and-equip/75227774/.

[3] Ken Dilanian, “Officials: CIA-backed Syrian rebels under Russian blitz,” The Associated Press, 10 October 2015: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/dfe1547ba36f4f968deee227d467dc08/officials-russian-bombs-cia-rebels-had-syrian-gains.

[4] Ibid., Dilanian.

[5] Sibel Edmonds, “What & When We Exposed, and the MSM- Quasi Alternative Culprits Who Fought Our Exposés,” Boiling Frogs Post, 29 August 2013: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/08/29/bfp-syria-coverage-track-record-what-when-we-exposed-and-the-msm-quasi-alternative-culprits-who-fought-our-exposes/.

[6] Nancy A. Youssef, Michael Weiss and Tim Mak, “U.S. Admits: We Can’t Protect Syrian Allies From Russia’s Bombs,” The Daily Beast, 1 October 2015: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/01/u-s-admits-we-can-t-protect-syrian-allies-from-russia-s-bombs.html.

[7] Sam Jones, “Moscow scuppers US coalition plans for no-fly zone in Syria,” Financial Times, 4 October: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cee6fcba-69bf-11e5-8171-ba1968cf791a.html.

[8] Selin Nasi, “Conquering Aleppo,” Hürriyet Daily News, 18 August 2015: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/conquering-aleppo.aspx?pageID=238&nID=87106&NewsCatID=396.

[9] Ibid., Jones.

[10] Theo Farrell, “Are the US-led air strikes in Syria legal – and what does it mean if they are not?,” The Telegraph, 23 September 2014: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11116792/Are-the-US-led-air-strikes-in-Syria-legal-and-what-does-it-mean-if-they-are-not.html.

[11] “Joint Declaration on Recent Military Actions of the Russian Federation on Syria,” Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 October 2015: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/no_-267_-02-october-2015_-joint-declaration-on-recent-military-actions-of-the-russian-federation-on-syria.en.mfa.

[12] David Hearst, “Putin’s Syrian bombing ‘will spark jihad against Moscow’: Qatar source,” Middle East Eye, 8 October 2015: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/russias-syrian-bombing-will-create-frankensteins-monster-qatar-source-634154673.

[13] Joanna Paraszczuk, “Islamic State, Al-Nusra Front Call For ‘Jihad’ Against Russia,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 14 October 2015: http://www.rferl.org/content/islamic-state-nusra-jihad-russia/27306477.html.

[14] Arshad Mohammed and Patricia Zengerle, “85-90 percent of Russian strikes hit moderate Syria rebels: U.S.,” Reuters, 4 November 2015: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/04/us-mideast-crisis-usa-russia-idUSKCN0ST26920151104.

[15] Michael Weiss, “Russia’s Giving ISIS An Air Force,” The Daily Beast, 8 October 2015: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/08/russia-s-giving-isis-an-air-force.html.

[16] Angelo M. Codevilla, “U.S. And Russian Airpower In The Desert,” War on the Rocks, 5 November 2015: http://warontherocks.com/2015/11/u-s-and-russian-airpower-in-the-desert/.

[17] Thomas Joscelyn, “Islamic State video congratulates Sinai ‘province’ for downing Russian airliner,” The Long War Journal, 6 November 2015: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/11/islamic-state-video-congratulates-sinai-province-for-downing-russian-airliner.php.

[18] Sibel Edmonds, “Obama Appoints a Not-Too-Long-Ago-Hatched Neocon Larva,” Boiling Frogs Post, 27 July 2010: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2010/07/27/obama-appoints-a-not-too-long-ago-hatched-neocon-larva/.

[19] Astrid Wendlandt, “Russian air strikes in Syria to last three-four months: Putin ally,” Reuters, 2 October 2015: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/02/us-mideast-crisis-russia-strike-idUSKCN0RW0I020151002.

[20] “Lawmaker: IS sponsors once tried to break Chechnya from Russia,” TASS, 23 October 2015: http://tass.ru/en/politics/831336.

[21] Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, “Why was a Sunday Times report on US government ties to al-Qaeda chief spiked?,” Ceasefire Magazine, 17 May 2013: https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/whistleblower-al-qaeda-chief-u-s-asset/.

[22] Vasudevan Sridharan, “Al-Qaeda: Ayman al-Zawahiri urges jihadis to unite against Russia and West,” International Business Times, 2 November 2015: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/al-qaeda-ayman-al-zawahiri-urges-jihadis-unite-against-russia-west-1526714.

[23] J.J. Green, “Mysterious al-Qaida figure emerges in Syria,” Washington’s Top News, 5 November 2015: http://wtop.com/national-security/2015/11/mysterious-al-qaida-figure-emerges-in-syria/.

[24] Adam Entous, “U.S., Allies to Boost Aid to Syria Rebels,” The Wall Street Journal, 4 November 2015: http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-allies-to-boost-aid-to-syria-rebels-1446682624.

BFP Exclusive- A Hot Spot in the Cold Seas: The US-Russia Continuing Border Dispute

Bering Sea, the 1990 US-Russia Maritime Border Agreement & the Imperial Interests

History is no stranger to wars which began due to the disputed border territories. Even the start of the US Civil War was in part fueled by border conflicts between certain states. This is why it is of great importance to pay careful attention to any existing border disputes, especially if they take place between countries armed with nuclear weapons.

While the world is focusing on the Ukrainian conflict which is rapidly morphing into the Cold -War-type proxy war between Russia and the US-dominated NATO Alliance, not many are aware that Russia and the US also have a long-running maritime border dispute in the Bering Sea. This state of affairs may lead to a direct violent confrontation and hence be more dangerous to the overall survival of the planet than any proxy war, no matter how atrocious.

The seeds of the dispute were sown at the time of the US Alaska purchase from the Russian Empire in 1867. The purchase treaty left undetermined the precise coordinates of the sea border. For a whole century this apparently did not make much of a difference, but the implementation of the UN-sponsored Law of the Sea in the 1970s re-ignited the issue.

The Law of the Sea allowed each country to establish an exclusive economic zone for the exploration and exploitation of natural and mineral resources up to 200 miles from its coastline. There now appeared certain parts of the Bering Sea where the US and the Soviet jurisdictions overlapped. The overall disputed area encompassed about 80,000 square kilometers and contained significant oil and gas reserves as well as the huge potential for fish harvesting (especially with regards to Alaskan pollock).

What compounded the problem was that in determining the exact (straight) line of the maritime border, each side was using different methods in order to maximize the area under its control.[1] The Soviets used the rhomb lines and the Mercator map projection, while and the Americans chose the geodetic lines and the conical map projection. Obviously, no side wanted to back down.

This is where the context of larger political and social transformations becomes relevant - the so-called "wind of change" which turns out always to benefit the Wall Street.

Throughout the 1980s, the USSR was rapidly losing its political strength as it headed toward the collapse in the early 1990s. Its political leadership with Mikhail Gorbachev as the Soviet Communist Party General Secretary and Eduard Shevardnadze as the Foreign Minister, for a variety of reasons (not the least of which are the allegations of outright corruption, especially regarding the latter), beat the retreat on many geopolitical fronts including this one.

On June 1, 1990 Shevardnadze and the US Secretary of State James Baker signed an agreement in Washington which gave the US 12 times more territory in the disputed area. In this way, 77,400 square kilometers went to the US control and 6,600 square kilometers to the Soviet control.[2] No wonder that the US Congress quickly approved the agreement in September 1991. The article in Washington Post published at the time boasted that the US now controlled more than 70% of the Bering Sea.[3]

However, neither the Soviet Parliament nor its successor, the Russian State Duma, approved the agreement and this means that it is not legally binding for the Russian side.

And yet, the US government has chosen to disregard the provisional nature of the agreement and has enforced the border line if it were the unquestionable law of the land. This has led to several seizures of the Russian fishing vessels by the US Coast Guard.

The biggest scandal happened in September 2002 when the Russian trawler "Viytna" with more than 20 fishermen aboard was seized and hauled into the Alaskan port of Dutch Harbor.[4] The Russian fishermen claimed that they stayed within the Russian economic zone, while the US government thought otherwise. Though the fishermen were let go a few days later, this did not stop similar incidents from happening in the following years. In fact, one scholar cites the US sources in saying that they may consider using "naval gunfire, in the form of warning and disabling shots, against the noncompliant [Russian] ships".[5]

Given the global geopolitical dynamics in 2015, it is not difficult to imagine what dangerous repercussions for world peace the US Coast Guard shooting at the Russian civilian ships might have.

To add insult to injury, the US high-level officials have presented the Shevardnadze-Baker agreement as fair to both sides. Thus, the one-time US Ambassador to Russia, later rewarded with the position of the Deputy-Secretary of NATO, Alexander Vershbow is quoted as saying that the agreement is "quite balanced and reflects a number of compromises".[6] He is also convinced that "it is hard to imagine that new negotiations could generated some other results".

This arrogant, hard-line stand in defense of the unjust deal is echoed by the US State Department. In its 2009 statement, it affirmed that the US "has no intention of reopening discussion of the 1990 Maritime Border Agreement".[7] However, the agreement becomes "Agreement" only when it is accepted as such by both sides. And this is far from being the case.

Several Russian Federation Council members have over the years attempted to spearhead efforts for the renegotiation of the agreement. Not surprisingly, they were strongly criticized for doing so by the US-sponsored Russian NGOs.

Particularly revealing was the critique by Alexander Pikayev, the representative of the Moscow Carnegie Center, who warned his fellow Russians that "Americans are very sensitive to any pokes, especially if it has to do with Alaska. And Alaska is Senator Ted Stevens who is the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee".[8]

It appears that, for Pikayev, the billions of dollars that the Russian state budget has lost in terms of fishing, gas, and oil revenues due to the unjustly drawn boundary line are less important than the opinion of one US Senator. Can anyone then wonder why the majority of Russians see the Carnegie Center and similar organizations as the fifth column working to subvert Russian national interests?

Be that as it may, the fact is that this hot spot in the cold seas of the North Pacific is bound to get hotter with time. Taking into consideration the implacability of the US officials in their defense of the imperial interests, more serious incidents, perhaps involving military planes and nuclear submarines, may be expected.

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

Notes:

[1]http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/pdfs/RAD-20.pdf

[2] http://www.zpu-journal.ru/e-zpu/2009/6/Palamar_Boundary_Differentiation/

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://www.npacific.ru/np/gazeta/2002/1/tv19_70_045_2002.htm

[5] http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/pdfs/RAD-20.pdf

[6] http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/alaska-sale-shevardnadze-and-pollock-in-spat/243690.html

[7] http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/128740.htm

[8] http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/alaska-sale-shevardnadze-and-pollock-in-spat/243690.html

 

Capture of Top al-Qaeda Operative Highlights Turkey’s Role in U.S.-NATO Terror Operations

Al-Zawahiri’s Man in Libya Detained in Turkey: Another Desperate Attempt to Save the War on Terror Myth

Since the start of the so-called “Syrian civil war,” NATO member Turkey has played a decisive role in fueling the conflict by funneling countless weapons and fighters into Syria. Were it not for Turkey’s strong support of terrorists fighting in Syria, the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) would not have been possible, as ISIS fighters themselves acknowledged.[1] The siege of Kobani drew a lot of attention to Turkey’s relationship with the much-hyped terrorist group and even Western mainstream media is finding it increasingly difficult to ignore that the Turkish authorities support ISIS in any and every possible way.[2]

But contrary to popular belief, Turkey did not become a safe haven for terrorists only recently. The strategically located country has long been used as a base for various U.S./NATO terror operations. Since the 1990s, Turkey, along with Azerbaijan, has served as the main conduit for the ‘Gladio B’ operations, which introduced the tried and tested method of using jihadist mercenaries as foot soldiers to a new theater of operations, namely the Balkans, Central Asia and the Caucasus region.[3] Therefore, it is no accident that many Chechen  terrorists can be found in Turkey, as highlighted by Russian network in the country.[4] After violence rocked the Chechen capital Grozny in early December, it did not take long before Turkey’s role in sheltering “Chechen rebels” became again the focus of attention. Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov immediately accused Western security services and Akhmat Umarov, the brother of former North Caucasus insurgency leader Doku Umarov, of organizing the attack and he urged Russia’s law enforcement agencies to demand Umarov’s extradition from Turkey, where the prominent Chechen is reportedly living at the moment.[5] The Turkish authorities and their Western partners know exactly how to exploit Chechen refugees in order to ensure an abundant supply of fighters for current operations, be it the destabilization of the North Caucasus or the war in Syria. Taking a stand against this modus operandi can be very dangerous, as the case of Medet Onlu shows. Onlu wasan influential figure in Turkey’s ethnic Caucasian community who bore the unofficial title “honorary consul of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria” up until his assassination in Ankara in May of last year. The suspicion quickly focused on Russia but Onlu’s family and lawyer suspect that he was killed because he was an obstacle on the “jihadist highway” to Syria.[6]

Onlu’s assassination serves as a reminder that nobody is indispensable. Even high-level terrorists, who have been useful in the past, are taken off the streets from time to time for different reasons, one of which is to maintain the illusion of the “Global War on Terrorism.” Last year’s arrest of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith illustrates this very well. After being nowhere to be found for several years, Abu Ghaith turned up in a five star hotel in the heart of Ankara at the beginning of last year. The Turkish authorities, acting on a tip from the CIA, detained the top al-Qaeda leader and questioned him extensively but refused to extradite him to the United States.[7] Instead they decided to deport Abu Ghaith to his home country, Kuwait, where he never arrived since the CIA snatched him during a stopover in Jordan.[8] Interestingly, the curious arrest of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith  in Turkey is not an isolated incident and there are some noteworthy parallels to the recent capture of al-Qaeda operative Abd al-Baset Azzouz:

An operative who was dispatched to Libya by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri was reportedly captured in Turkey and is now being held in Jordan.

Azzouz was handpicked by Zawahiri to oversee al Qaeda's efforts in post-revolution Libya. According to the Turkish reports, Azzouz was detained in mid-November after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Turkish authorities located him in the "summer resort" area of Yalova, which is south of Istanbul. Two laptops and a fake passport were captured along with Azzouz.

According to an account by the Washington Post, Azzouz was soon deported to Jordan, where he is currently being held.[9]

“It is not clear what Azzouz was specifically doing in Turkey at the time of his capture” but it is worth pointing out that Azzouz’s colleagues from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and other “Libyan rebels” have made their way to Syria via Turkey.[10] Moreover, CIA and MI6 have been shipping tons of weapons from Libya to Turkey in order to arm the terrorists fighting in Syria and Azzouz’s possible involvement in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which provided cover for the moving of arms,[11] raises new questions because there is some evidence to suggest that the Benghazi attack was aimed at silencing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who opposed the CIA operation.[12] At any rate, it comes as no real surprise that the alleged leader of al-Qaeda in Libya was captured in Turkey and that the CIA provided the tip leading to his arrest.[13]

A few weeks prior, the U.S. State Department had added Abd al-Baset Azzouz to the U.S. government's list of specially designated global terrorists,[14] which prompted the British press to draw attention to the fact that Azzouz had been “arrested and detained but then freed by the British authorities.”[15] After living in Manchester for several years, Azzouz allegedly left Britain in 2009 for Pakistan, “where he became a close lieutenant of al-Zawahiri before being sent to Libya” but his ties to top ‘Gladio B’ operative Ayman al-Zawahiri date back to the 1980s. According to an unclassified report by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress titled “Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,” Azzouz “has been close to al-Zawahiri since the 1980s and first traveled to Afghanistan in the early 1990s to join mujahidin fighting the Soviet occupation.”[16] So Azzouz did not start his terrorist career only recently and up until a few weeks ago, he could count on the support of the U.S. and its allies.

If Abd al-Baset Azzouz paid any attention to what happened to his close colleague Anas al-Liby, he could have seen it coming. As highlighted last year, al-Liby was snatched from the streets of the Libyan capital Tripoli and presented as one of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet after he had been doing Washington’s bidding in several countries for more than two decades. The similarities between the cases of Abd al-Baset Azzouz and Anas al-Liby are remarkable. Both started their careers as jihadist mercenaries in Afghanistan, where they forged close ties with Ayman al-Zawahiri & Co., before they eventually settled in Manchester, enjoying the hospitality of the British authorities:

“LIFG terrorist al-Liby eventually settled in Manchester after he was granted asylum in the United Kingdom in 1995 despite objections from the Libyan government [12] and an extradition request from Egypt.[13] Then in late 1995 or early 1996 British intelligence service MI6 reportedly paid the LIFG approximately $160.000 of taxpayers’ money to kill Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.[14] The plot failed, several militants and innocent bystanders were killed but Gaddafi survived. Abu Anas al-Liby was protected by the British authorities and continued to live unimpeded in Manchester until May 2000 when he was arrested but managed to escape under dubious circumstances…”[17]

Later on, Azzouz and al-Liby showed up in Libya to support NATO’s “Libyan revolution” and run al-Qaeda’s operations in the country on behalf of al-Zawahiri, who has been working for the U.S. and NATO all along.[18] But despite all that, we are led to believe that the capture of Abd al-Baset Azzouz represents a significant success in the so-called “Global War on Terrorism.” Instead it looks like another desperate attempt to save the War on Terror myth, while more and more people realize that the terrorists, who are wreaking havoc across the Middle East and North Africa Region, are backed by the U.S., Turkey and other nefarious players.    

# # # #

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

Notes

[1] Deniz Kahraman, “ISIS Terrorists Thank AKP for Hospital Treatment,” Aydınlık, 26 June 2014: http://www.aydinlikdaily.com/Detail/ISIS-Terrorists-Thank-AKP-For-Hospital-Treatment/3729#.VJy0jv8AA.

[2] David L. Phillips, “Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey Links,” Institute for the Study of Human Rights, 22 November 2014: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-l-phillips/research-paper-isis-turke_b_6128950.html.

[3] Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, “Why was a Sunday Times report on US government ties to al-Qaeda chief spiked?,” Ceasefire Magazine, 17 May 2013: https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/whistleblower-al-qaeda-chief-u-s-asset/.

[4] Sibel Edmonds, “BFP Exclusive: US-NATO-Chechen Militia Joint Operations Base,” Boiling Frogs Post, 22 November 2011: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2011/11/22/bfp-exclusive-us-nato-chechen-militia-joint-operations-base/.

[5] Christoph Germann, “The New Great Game Round-Up #78,” Boiling Frogs Post, 8 December 2014: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/12/08/the-new-great-game-round-up-december-8-2014/.

[6] Sibel Utku Bila, “Syrian link suspected in Chechen murder in Ankara,” Al-Monitor, 25 November 2014: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/11/turkey-chechen-murder-syria-link.html#.

[7] “Interview 598 – Sibel Edmonds on Gladio B, Protected Terrorists and Stifled Investigations,” The Corbett Report, 8 February 2013: http://www.corbettreport.com/interview-598-sibel-edmonds-on-gladio-b-protected-terrorists-and-stifled-investigations/.

[8] “US captured Bin Laden son-in-law on the way to Kuwait,” Hürriyet, 7 March 2013: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-captured-bin-laden-son-in-law-on-the-way-to-kuwait.aspx?pageID=238&nID=42498&NewsCatID=359.

[9] Thomas Joscelyn, “Representative of Ayman al Zawahiri reportedly captured in Turkey,” The Long War Journal, 7 December 2014: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/12/representative_of_ay.php.

[10] Tony Cartalucci, “Libyan Terrorists Are Invading Syria,” Land Destroyer Report, 14 August 2012: http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/08/libyan-terrorists-are-invading-syria.html.

[11] Seymour Hersh, “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” London Review of Books, 17 April 2014: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line.

[12] “Interview 876 – James Corbett Blows the Lid Off of Benghazigate,” The Corbett Report, 5 May 2014: http://www.corbettreport.com/interview-876-james-corbett-blows-the-lid-off-of-benghazigate/.

[13] “Turkish security forces capture Benghazi attack suspect: report,” Daily Sabah, 4 December 2014: http://www.dailysabah.com/nation/2014/12/04/libyan-alqaeda-leader-detained-in-turkey-following-joint-usturkish-operation.

[14] “Designations of Foreign Terrorist Fighters,” U.S. Department of State, 24 September 2014: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/09/232067.htm.

[15] Robert Mendick, Tom Whitehead & Raf Sanchez, “Freed UK prisoner is al-Qaeda ringleader,” The Telegraph, 27 September 2014: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11125944/Freed-UK-prisoner-is-al-Qaeda-ringleader.html.

[16] “AL-QAEDA IN LIBYA: A PROFILE,” The Library of Congress, August 2012: http://www.kronosadvisory.com/CTTSO_Al_Qaeda_in_Libya_Final_Obtained260912.pdf.

[17] Christoph Germann, “Desperate Attempts to Save the Myth of the War on Terror,” Boiling Frogs Post, 11 October 2013: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/10/11/desperate-attempts-to-save-the-myth-of-the-war-on-terror/.

[18] “Episode 258 – Know Your Terrorists: Ayman Al-Zawahiri,” The Corbett Report, 16 February 2013: http://www.corbettreport.com/episode-258-know-your-terrorists-ayman-al-zawahiri/.

Washington Drives the World Toward War

Washington has had the US at war for 12 years: Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, and almost Syria, which could still happen, with Iran waiting in the wings. These wars have been expensive in terms of money, prestige, and deaths and injuries of both US soldiers and the attacked civilian populations. None of these wars appears to have any compelling reason or justifiable explanation. The wars have been important to the profits of the military/security complex. The wars have provided cover for the construction of a Stasi police state in America, and the wars have served Israel’s interest by removing obstacles to Israel’s annexation of the entire West Bank and southern Lebanon.

As costly and destructive as these wars have been, they are far below the level of a world war, much less a world war against nuclear armed opponents.

The fatal war for humanity is the war with Russia and China toward which Washington is driving the US and Washington’s NATO and Asian puppet states. There are a number of factors contributing to Washington’s drive toward the final war, but the overarching one is the doctrine of American Exceptionalism.

According to this self-righteous doctrine, America is the indispensable country. What this means is that the US has been chosen by history to establish the hegemony of secular “democratic capitalism” over the world. The primacy of this goal places the US government above traditional morality and above all law, both its own and international.

Thus, no one in the US government has been held accountable for unprovoked aggression against other countries and for attacking civilian populations, unambiguous war crimes under international law and the Nuremberg standard. Neither has anyone in the US government been held accountable for torture, a prohibited crime under US law and the Geneva Conventions. Neither has anyone been held accountable for numerous violations of constitutional rights–spying without warrants, warrantless searches, violations of habeas corpus, murder of citizens without due process, denial of legal representation, conviction on secret evidence. The list is long.

A person might wonder what is exceptional and indispensable about a government that is a reincarnation of Nazi Germany in every respect. People propagandized into the belief that they are the world’s special people inevitably lose their humanity. Thus, as the US military video released by Bradley Manning reveals, US troops get their jollies by mowing down innocent people as they walk along a city street.

With the exception of the ACLU, constitutional rights groups and independent Internet voices, the American people including the Christian churches have accepted their government’s criminality and immorality with scant protest.

The absence of moral denunciation emboldens Washington which is now pushing hard against Russia and China, the current governments of which stand in the way of Washington’s world hegemony.

Washington has been working against Russia for 22 years ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In violation of the Reagan-Gorbachev agreement, Washington expanded NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltic states and established military bases on Russia’s borders. Washington is also seeking to extend NATO into former constituent parts of Russia itself such as Georgia and Ukraine.

The only reason for Washington to establish military and missile bases on Russia’s frontiers is to negate Russia’s ability to resist Washington’s hegemony. Russia has made no threatening gestures toward its neighbors, and with the sole exception of Russia’s response to Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia, has been extremely passive in the face of US provocations.

This is now changing. Faced with the George W. Bush regime’s alteration of US war doctrine, which elevated nuclear weapons from a defensive, retaliatory use to pre-emptive first strike, together with the construction on Russia’s borders of US anti-ballistic missile bases and Washington’s weaponization of new technologies, has made it clear to the Russian government that Washington is setting up Russia for a decapitating first strike.

In his presidential address to the Russian National Assembly (both chambers of parliament) on December 12, Vladimir Putin addressed the offensive military threat that Washington poses to Russia. Putin said that Washington calls its anti-ballistic missile system defensive, but “in fact it is a signifiant part of the strategic offensive potential” and designed to tip the balance of power in Washington’s favor. Having acknowledged the threat, Putin replied to the threat: “Let no one have illusions that he can achieve military superiority over Russia. We will never allow it.”

Faced with the Obama regime’s murder of the nuclear weapons reduction treaty, Putin said: “We realize all this and know what we need to do.”

If anyone remains to write a history, the Obama regime will be known as the regime that resurrected the cold war, which President Reagan worked so hard to end, and drove it into a hot war.

Not content to make Russia an enemy, the Obama regime has also made an enemy of China. The Obama regime declared the South China Sea to be an area of “US national security interest.” This is akin to China declaring the Gulf of Mexico to be an area of Chinese national security interest.

To make clear that the claim to the South China Sea was not rhetorical, the Obama regime announced its “Pivot to Asia,” which calls for the redeployment of 60% of the US fleet to China’s zone of influence. Washington is busy at work securing naval and air bases from the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia, and Thailand. Washington has increased the provocation by aligning itself with China’s neighbors who are disputing China’s claims to various islands and an expanded air space.

China has not been intimidated. China has called for “de-americanizing the world.” Last month the Chinese government announced that it now possesses sufficient nuclear weapons and delivery systems to wipe the US off of the face of the earth. A couple of days ago, China aggressively harassed a US missile cruiser in the South China Sea.

The militarily aggressive stance that Washington has taken toward Russia and China is indicative of the extreme self-assuredness that usually ends in war. Washington is told that US technological prowess can prevent or intercept the launch of Russian and Chinese missiles, thus elevating a US pre-emptive attack to slam-dunk status. Yet the potential danger from Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is said to be so great that a pre-emptive war is necessary right now, and a massive Department of Homeland Security is justified on the grounds that the US remains vulnerable to a few stateless Muslims who might acquire a nuclear weapon. It is an anomalous situation that the Russian and Chinese retaliatory response to US attack is considered to be inconsequential, but not nuclear threats from Iran and stateless Muslims.

Not content with sending war signals to Russia and China, Washington has apparently also decided to torpedo the Iranian settlement by announcing new sanctions against companies doing business with Iran. The Iranians understood Washington’s monkey wrench as Washington probably intended, as a lack of Washington’s commitment to the agreement, left Geneva and returned to Iran. It remains to be seen whether the agreement can be resurrected or whether the Israel Lobby has succeeded in derailing the agreement that promised to end the threat of war with Iran.

American citizens seem to have little, if any, influence on their government or even awareness of its intentions. Moreover, there is no organized opposition behind which Americans could rally to stop Washington’s drive toward world war. Hope, if there is any, would seem to lie with Washington’s European and Asian puppets. What interests do these governments have in putting the existence of their countries at risk for no other purpose than to help Washington acquire hegemony over the world? Cannot they realize that Washington’s game is a death-dealing one for them?

Germany alone could save the world from war while simultaneously serving its own interests. All Germany has to do is to exit the EU and NATO. The alliance would collapse, and its fall would terminate Washington’s hegemonic ambition.

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Paul Craig Roberts, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author, is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has been reporting on executive branch and cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. He has written or co-written eight books, contributed chapters to numerous books, and has published many articles in journals of scholarship. Mr. Roberts has testified before congressional committees on 30 occasions on issues of economic policy, and has been a critic of both Democratic and Republican administrations. You can visit his website here.

© PaulCraigRoberts.org

The Two Faux Democracies Threaten Life on Earth

Nuclear War is on Washington’s Agenda

Amitai Etzioni has raised an important question: “Who authorized preparations for war with China?” Etzioni says that the war plan is not the sort of contingency plan that might be on hand for an improbable event. Etzioni also reports that the Pentagon’s war plan was not ordered by, and has not been reviewed by, US civilian authorities. We are confronted with a neoconized US military out of control endangering Americans and the rest of the world. [Read more...]

Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 64

The Asian 'Pivot'

EPPIn 2011, the Obama administration announced a 'pivot' to Asia in its geopolitical strategy for imperial domination of the world. This includes an increased US military and naval presence in the region, with troops in Australia, new bases in Southeast Asia, record arms sales to regional "allies", and economic integration through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the APEC forum and ASEAN. In what has been called an "integrate, but hedge" strategy toward China, the US is actively seeking to provide incentives for China to join in the US-constructed world order, while backing up its incentives with threats and intimidation. The Asian 'pivot' is not simply about "containing" China, but about containing the rising giant in order to provide a reason for China to more fully integrate with the Western-dominated global order. This episode provides a glimpse at the Asian 'pivot' and a couple of the key strategic thinkers behind it.

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Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 63

America the Great... Global Arms Dealer

EPPThe United States sold a record-breaking $66 billion in arms over 2011, set to break its record again over 2012, controlling roughly 75% of the global trade in arms. Increased arms sales, not only by the U.S., but by all Western states, is part of a strategic focus on building up regional "allies" (i.e., proxy states) to be able to fight our wars for us, and do the dirty work. Thus, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, India, South Korea, and Taiwan are among the major recipients of US and Western arms sales around the world, with military contractors praising increased profits from the two major "growth regions" for arms sales in the world: the Middle East and Pacific East Asia. Welcome to the world of arms dealers and "democracy"-promoters.

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Puppet State America

“The “American superpower” groveling at Netanyahu’s feet!”

puppetstateThe United States government and its subject peoples think of the US as “the world’s only superpower.” But how is a country a superpower when its entire government and a majority of the subjects, especially those members of evangelical churches, grovel at the feet of the Israeli Prime Minister? How is a country a superpower when it lacks the power to determine its own foreign policy in the Middle East? Such a country is not a superpower. It is a puppet state.

In the past few days we have witnessed, yet again, the “American superpower” groveling at Netanyahu’s feet. When Netanyahu decided to again murder the Palestinian women and children of Gaza, to further destroy what remains of the social infrastructure of the Gaza Ghetto, and to declare Israeli war crimes and Israeli crimes against humanity to be merely the exercise of “self-defense,” the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the White House, and the US media all promptly declared their support for Netanyahu’s crimes. [Read more...]

Revisiting 9/11 with a Bit of Accounting

The Big Picture vs. Drowning in Superficial Details Surrounded by Smoke & Mirrors

Sep11This morning Asia Times showcases a fairly decent article on 9/11, revisiting one of its many still-unanswered questions: ‘Was Saudi Arabia Involved?’ The article revisits the cases of hijackers Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi under CIA surveillance prior to the attack, the Alec Station and FBI bungling, Prince Bandar and his wife’s funneling of money to the hijackers, Saudi and supposed Bin-Laden connected suspects-witnesses flying out of the US under US government protection, the FBI being prevented from stopping or questioning these fugitives’ escape … basically the whole nine yards we 9/11 activists, witnesses, whistleblowers and experts  have been pointing out  for the last ten years plus.

Yawn. A cat-like stretch and a big yawn. Don’t get me wrong. I am not putting down the article. I am a big fan of Asia Times, and this piece is decent. Nothing wrong with decent articles-analyses on these highly censored 9/11 related topics by the mainstream and pseudo alternative media. I am not even calling it boring. Then what is my problem? [Read more...]

The Missing Words in Our Declaration of Independence, Oath of Office, & US Citizenship Oath

 "I hereby declare, on oath, that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”-Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to USA 

sheetcakeYesterday, as I was walking among grocery shelves, I passed by thousands of packaged hotdogs, hundreds of cases of beer, and mounds of hamburger buns displayed  in special Fourth of July promotions. I kept walking without pausing. Then I noticed a rectangular sheet cake with white icing topped with strawberries and blueberries depicting the stars and stripes - to be appreciated and eaten during the upcoming celebration of our nation’s Independence Day. That gave me pause. I stopped and stared at it for more than a few seconds; then I continued on.  An hour later, after I arrived home and as if some kind of sign, the first image popping up on my computer screen when I logged in was the Fourth of July Flag Sheet Cake. This time I put everything aside, pulled out the text of our Declaration of Independence, the US Citizenship Oath, and the Oath of Office. I knew exactly what I was looking for, and I did not find it. It was what I didn’t find that made me sit and write this for my readers as my way to wish you a Happy Independence Day.

During this celebratory holiday please take a few minutes; it shouldn’t take more than five, to read our Declaration of Independence, US Citizenship Oath and Oath of Office. Please do it.

You will not find the word ‘Flag.’

You will not see the word ‘Borders.’

What you will see is the word ‘Constitution.’

What you will find is the obligation to defend, not the ‘flag,’  ‘borders’ or ‘government’, but the United States Constitution, and defend it against foreign and domestic enemies.

The shalwar-wearing bearded men holding rakes and pitchforks in the caves of Afghanistan have never been and will never be a threat to our Constitution.

The terrorists from south of the border will never present any danger to our Constitution - meant to guarantee our freedoms.

The made-to-be-enemy dictators of foreign nations across the ocean have never and will never be able to touch our Constitution.

When it comes down to it there has never been a clear and present danger to our Constitution from any foreign entity or power. I suspect there never will be. No bomb attack, no pitchfork, no fatwa or jihad can even come close to destroying the United States Constitution.

The only enemies that have ever targeted our Constitution, the only entities that have ever launched an assault against our freedom, the only institution capable of destroying our Bill of Rights, the only power that has done so, and has been doing so, and if left untouched and unchallenged will continue to do so until nothing is left of the Constitution entrusted to us by our founding fathers, are the domestic enemies among us, or more accurately, ‘above’ us from where they rule.

My dear friends, I don’t intend to spoil your festivities and celebration. I want you to go ahead and enjoy that cold beer, those hot dogs, and the fireworks. All I’m asking of you is this: when the time comes for the dessert, while you are slicing that white sheet cake with the red and blue depicting the stars and stripes, think about the irony of it and how our domestic enemies have been slicing up and tearing apart the one thing that represents being an American - Our Constitution. Happy Independence Day.

WeThePeople

“That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness… when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security…”- Declaration of Independence, July 1776

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China-Turkmenistan Score: Another Wave of US-Mujahideen Contracts?

Extreme Competitions May Bring More Familiar Extreme Measures

pipeHere is one of the latest on China-Turkmenistan Pipeline deals:
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has announced the discovery of yet another gas field on the right bank of the Amu Darya River in Turkmenistan, holding in excess of 100 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas.
Separately, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow inaugurated a new compressor station at the Bagtiyarlyk fields, estimated by Chinese engineers to hold 1.6 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

These fields feed the Turkmenistan-China pipeline, which traverses Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and was opened in December 2009 with a projected capacity of 40 billion cubic meters per year (bcm/y) by 2015, with some of that volume being consumed in southern Kazakhstan. (See Gas pipeline gigantism

, Asia Times Online, July 17, 2008.)

In June this year, Ashgabad and Beijing agreed to increase Turkmen exports to China above the agreed level; the new compressor station will eventually raise the existing capacity to 22 bcm/y from the 6 bcm/y estimate of Chinese consumption of Turkmenistan-sourced gas for 2010.

This development is only one of a continuing series of events confirming the implementation of Turkmenistan's energy reorientation away from Russia. (See Tectonic shift under way in Turkmen gas, Asia Times Online, May 28, 2010.) Thus a series of meetings among heads of government in the margins of the UN General Assembly Meeting in New York last month has continued to accelerate movement in the direction of seeking to realize the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan

-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline.

Reports in the Indian press over the past month indicate that New Delhi is now following through strongly on its earlier expression of interest. Most interesting is the report that the four partners are seeking to recruit a major international energy firm to discuss costs in greater detail, with a view towards actual construction. The name, or even the nationality, of this firm has not even been hinted at openly.

           

Okay, you can read the rest here.

stateAs we all know the Cold war may be over, kinda, but not the fierce competition over natural resources. And the new battle grounds?  Forget the Old Middle East; I am talking about the New Energy Territories. I am going to use the following introduction paragraph from an article published by Central Asia- Caucasus Institute:

The U.S. has started to formulate and implement more comprehensive policies for Central Asia. The deepening involvement in the war in Afghanistan is the principal, but not sole cause for this policy initiative. Russia’s attempts to impose its hegemony upon Central Asia and oblige the U.S. to recognize it have triggered a reaction in Washington. Likewise, China’s completion of the pipeline to Turkmenistan and major investment projects in Central Asia forced the U.S. to devise new ways to enhance its energy and economic profile there as well. As a result, in early 2010, we now see the elements of a new and stronger policy initiative towards Central Asia.

The above paragraph, the introduction, is the only frank and sound point made in the article. Without going into the typical bologna-ridden point-making fluff used in the rest of the piece I’ll have you jump to the summation of their ‘analysis’:

CONCLUSIONS: The Obama Administration has evidently decided to make an important policy stand in Central Asia beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan. Moreover, it is likely to invest more high-level political resources there and actively promote expanded economic ties between the U.S. and Central Asian states. While those governments will undoubtedly welcome this support and investment of those resources because they add to their room for maneuver among their neighboring great powers, Russia and China will obviously strive to minimize the U.S. presence, thrust, and impact. But they will also simultaneously be competing against each other; a fact that can only contribute to the greater independence and freedom of action of Central Asian states, a primary goal of U.S. policy. To the extent that the U.S. deems it necessary to expand its presence in Central Asia to shore up its campaign in Afghanistan it will in many ways, both foreseen and possibly unforeseen, contribute to the ability of these states to stand on their own feet, an outcome that is necessary both in regard to the threat of terrorism emanating from Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their affiliates, and also in regard to the threat to their effective independence coming from Moscow and/or Beijing.

You see we have two types of foreign policies when it comes to our pursuit of badly needed resources and crucial delivery arteries in our intended regional colonies:

1- The Written Policies (above example): to be used and promoted as marketing tools, yet to remain only as melodically written policy literature. This is where you hear phrases like cooperation on security and against terrorism, or better, democratization.

2- The Unwritten and Unspoken Policies: to be secretly, vigorously, and ferociously practiced and implemented, under the self-created carte blanche ‘The End Justifies the Means’

Think about it, wasn’t this how we carried out almost all our foreign policies during the Cold War? And what’s the difference now? The same competition, only now three-way, and the same objectives regardless of the fluffy and phony descriptions used in the ’written policies.’ 

Based on our consistent and ‘known’ history, my bet goes to the following predictions when it comes to our real foreign policy measures and responses to the latest developments on the Central Asia-Caucasus front: [Read more...]

Updates & Multi-Week Round Up for May 31

Still Alive & Kicking, A Scholar For All Seasons Or Agendas?, Terrorization & De-Terrorization Flip

This is going to come as a relief to some and as a major disappointment to others: I am alive and almost back! As my long-term readers know I almost never share personal details here, and I am not about to change that, but here is a semi-reasonable albeit a bit vague explanation: despite having very costly health insurance coverage it was far more cost efficient (thus feasible) to take care of certain medical treatments outside the US than back home where the exact same medications (exact same brands) and treatments would have cost almost three times the amount. I am almost done with the two-month medical process, I’m doing well, and I should be back in three weeks or so. Many thanks to those of you who contacted me with your well-wishes and concerns, those of you who made me chuckle (I needed that badly) with some incredibly imaginative conspiracy guesses, and even those with death-wishes since I had the pleasure of disappointing you 😉

HersheyvCadbury

While a part of me enjoyed (still does) being away (a break from the sin city where I live) and living in a laidback place, the other part soon began to long for home and now fully qualifies as a true case of ‘homesickness.’ Really. I’ve been trying to keep current, which is very hard to do with the entire medical process, an ultra high-energy 22-mo toddler with me 24 X 7, and a not very reliable (or speedy) internet connection. Yet, the most stimulating conversation I’ve been a part of had to do with ‘Hershey’s vs. Cadbury’ when it comes to chocolate, and, A-Frame Caravan vs. …I have no idea what the other type was or what it entailed… and, they had no idea who Bhutto was and why there was a new report on her assassination…or, what it meant to say ‘the moral dilemma using drones represents’…Yet, I’m still alive; I’m a survivor, ey!

Okay, enough about me. I’ve been saving many interesting stories, reports, and analyses. I won’t cover them all, but here are a few noteworthy notes and stories:

Fethullah Gulen & His Multi-Billion Worth Islamic Entourage

FethullahGulenFor those of you first-timers, who have never seen or heard this name before, please don’t start with Wikipedia ! I recommend checking out articles and analyses by Mizgin Yilmaz, and Luke Ryland; like this one here. Mizgin has been covering Gulen and significant Gulen related developments for years, and now, recently, all of a sudden, there appears to be these tainted-tilted-falsified-glorified articles in English popping up in the mainstream media and the not-so-mainstream but nonetheless the same outlets. Don’t get me wrong- this guy and the entire operation is very SIGNIFICANT. In fact, significant enough to be censored and blocked by the US mainstream media until recently. So, what’s the deal? What’s the real aim? Who wants what? And why?

As I’ve said, first read Mizgin’s coverage, and some background coverage by Luke Ryland here. Then, let’s take a look at one of the recent mainstream media articles - like this one:

October, 1992. the Soviet Union has disbanded and chaos reigns in its former territories. Three times a week, a rattly Russian charter plane filled with young Muslim devotees flies east from Istanbul across barren, low-lying steppes to the capitals of Central Asia. The men are clean-cut, sharply dressed in dark suits and ties, trim of mustache and purposeful. It is the first foray out of their hometown for most, let alone on a plane, but such is their faith in Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish Muslim imam they revere. "Fly like swallows," Gulen exhorted, "to these countries that are newly free, as an expression of our brotherhood."

Fly they did. Hundreds of volunteer teachers fanned out across five Central Asian republics. It was the start of a global movement that is now one of the largest and most powerful competing for the future of Islam around the world. There are an estimated 1,000 Gulen-affiliated schools in 100 countries — from Malawi to the U.S. — offering a blend of religious faith and largely Western curriculum. All are inspired by Gulen, an enigmatic retired preacher who oversees the schools — and a multibillion-dollar business empire — from the unlikeliest of locales: rural Pennsylvania.

It’s a fairly lengthy piece, so it continues:

Gulen, the 68-year-old retired imam behind this colossal enterprise has never visited Central Asia. He leads an ascetic life on an estate in Pennsylvania, where he has lived since 1999 for medical reasons, and to avoid facing (recently dropped) charges of seeking to overthrow the secular regime in Turkey. Gulen declined TIME's request for an interview, citing poor health.

Secularist hostility makes the movement secretive. There is no reliable data on the size of Gulen's following because one doesn't sign up to join and it has no official legal status. But it is growing in power. Gulen supporters are estimated to number at least 6 million, according to academics researching the phenomenon. (More surprising is a former Interior Minister's estimate that 70% of Turkey's national police forces are Gulen devotees.) "If they were a political party, they could post 20 to 25 MPs," says Nedim Sener, an investigative journalist. "Any movement that wields that much power needs to be transparent, like an NGO. Who belongs to it? How is it funded? What goes on in the schools they run? What are its political goals? These are all issues shrouded in secrecy."

And after more along the same lines here is the ending:

Add a quest for power to that fervor, though, and it gets complicated. In Turkey the movement is insular, growing and seems to harbor a mysterious political agenda. "On one level you have activities like the schools, which are hard not to be impressed by," says King's College lecturer Park. "Then there's the political element, which appears suspicious because it's rich, secretive and nobody really knows what it's up to." Gulen says he is opposed to theocracy, yet his supporters suggest that they would like more space for Islam in public life. But how will that come to pass? The future shape of secularism in Turkey — and around the Islamic world — might rest on that answer.

Of course, while it brings a bit of attention to this operation’s significance and reach targeting Central Asia since the mid 1990s, you’ll find no mention of the joint cooperation between Gulen and the State Department, or not the well-hidden secret of his CIA protectors, including his well-known ex-CIA body guards and backers such as Graham Fuller. Absolutely nothing.

And here is another piece written by a Turkish agent (news? Turkish government? US-Turkish agenda-setters?) published by the Turkish mainstream paper Hurriyet interestingly titled ‘The Gulen Movement Plays Big in Washington’:

It was one of the lavish lounges of the Willard Hotel in Washington where hundreds of Turkic people from all across America with plain name tags gathered to mark the creation of a new umbrella Turkic Assembly last Wednesday. Six Turkish-American federations, which have close proximity to Mr. Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric and the exiled leader of the Turkey-based religious Gülen Movement joined to form the Assembly of Turkic American Federations, or ATAF, a non-profit organization.

Half a dozen U.S. Senators and a few dozens of U.S. Representatives made a strong showing at the reception and the Gülen Movement hinted that its new assembly has some muscles to flex in Washington already.

The Gülen Movement accelerated its activities in U.S., especially since the leader of the Movement, Fethullah Gülen settled in Pennsylvania about a decade ago. During the mid ’90s, after almost three decades in the making, it was still operating very much under the radar in Turkey.

The unexpected and sudden decision to combine all of their 180 organizations under one umbrella assembly was a surprising move, at any rate, for those who follow the Gülen movement closely and are aware about its cautious strategies and steps.

Mr. Gülen first decided to go public with a wide ranging interview in early 1995, and in the following years the movement attracted ever-increasing attention. The postmodern-military coup of Feb. 28, 1997 pushed Gülen out of Turkey to find refuge in the U.S. Only more than a decade later, the Gülen Movement gathered enough manpower, recognition and credit to bring dozens of members of Congress to its half-official Washington debut night. The Turkish ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Namık Tan, came to the reception and stayed there almost the entire night, having conversations with the members of the U.S. Congress - alhough not everyone was as joyful about the new kid in town. The Assembly of Turkish-American Associations, or ATAA's, president, Günay Evinç, was pretty upset about the name of this new assembly because of its similar word selection with their own assembly. Evinç argued that this name similarity has created a big administrative disaster for their organization to explain the difference.

Again, no mentioning of why Gulen happened to pick the US to defect to, or why this multi-billion dollar organization’s operation center (headquarters) happens to be in the States, or how the State Department has been backing, protecting, and promoting Gulen in the US and abroad (mainly his activities in Central Asia)…Nothing. Nada. Zip zip zilch. The same Turkish reporter/writer/agent who happens to be based in the US (Washington DC;-) has written other pieces (along the same lines) on his site here.

Let’s go ahead and simplify this a bit, shall we? The Russians hate Gulen. The US agenda-setters, the real policy-setters (Neocons and realists alike) love Gulen and have been supporting/backing/funding/protecting him since the mid 90s; especially (mainly, that is) those operations conducted in Central Asia. This man who doesn’t even have a high-school diploma has been promoted as a major ‘scholar’ by the CIA and the State Department, against multiple operations and investigations conducted by the FBI, and later by the Department of Homeland Security. So now: what’s really up with Gulen? Is he “a man for all seasons” or “a man for all agendas” set by our real agenda-setters? And, why this sudden coverage (long-due but completely distorted, sanitized, and re-formulated) by the mainstream media and the ‘agents’? Please be my guest and chip in with your own analyses and input!

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Another Case of State Department’s Terrorization-Deterrorization Flip

DokkuThanks to our friend Metem for the following example showcasing another classic flip by the State Department on declaring and listing a group as a terrorist group then declaring them as not, and probably soon declaring them again as terrorists…when their current use expires, that is 😉

The State Department's update of its annual list of official terrorist groups is imminent, but the group that just attacked Moscow won't be on the list.

The Caucasus Emirate, which has been waging a jihad against the Russian government, is led by Doku Umarov, who calls himself the "emir of the North Caucasus." He was previously President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, but dissolved that Republic and established the Emirate in its place in 2007 in order to impose sharia law in his territory.

Umarov declared all the way back in 2007 that his group was expanding its struggle to wage war against the United States, Great Britain, and Israel. Last month, he released a video claiming credit for the suicide attacks in Moscow in March that resulted in the deaths of 39 people.

But apparently, the State Department chose not to include Caucasus Emirate in the newest update to its list of foreign terrorist organizations, according to Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-FL, who is calling on the State Department to add the group for the sake of national security and U.S. -Russia relations.

And here it gets really funny:

Some experts note that there is internal debate within the Chechen rebel community about whether the group's declarations of jihad against the West is really such a good idea.

"It seems that the Caucasian rebels themselves are frightened by their own ‘war declaration' against the West," Andrei Smirnov wrote in an article for the Jamestown Foundation, "The absurdity of the rebels' declarations lies in the fact that they declare war against the West, and at the same time beg for aid in their anti-Russian struggle."

"Whatever the Caucasian rebels say, it is clear that they do not have much in common with the interests of the international Jihadi movement," Smirnov went on, "This movement has no smaller plans than the Jihadi movement worldwide, but it nonetheless limits itself to activities inside Russia's borders and has no ambitions to grow into an international problem."

Of course we all remember our flips and then flops and then flips again on KLA, but does anyone here remember our almost recent flip on MEK? So, what’s the latest on that? Did they go back to the list? Are they a part of the Pentagon’s recent souped-up operations inside Iran? Just asking…

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Okay, this is it for now. I will be back with more, so please don’t give up on me or this site (including our new season of podcast interviews and articles by our contributors!).

 

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