Category Archives: Syria

Sunni Awakening in Lebanon

Syria’s Civil War is leaking out of its borders into Lebanon. The two countries share a porous border and very close communal ties. Cross-border ties between Lebanese and Syrians have deep roots, and with the Syrian revolution unfolding, solidarity took on a political and paramilitary character.

The Sunni-Shiite faultline in Lebanon is being projected onto the Syrian civil war. As tensions between Sunnis and Shiites rise in Syria, so too do they mount in Lebanon.
Sunni militants in Lebanon view their jihad against the Shiite movement as a mirror image of the Syrian rebels’ fight against the Alawite-dominated regime of Assad. They see the Lebanon’s Shiite movement of Hezbullah and the Assad regime as both enemies of the Sunnis.

In 1970, Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, took power in Syria. Some Shiites recognize Alawites as fellow Shiites, some do not.

Hezbollah ("Party of Allah") is a Shiite jihadist group and political party based in Lebanon

The Assad regime has a history of lashing out when it feels under siege, coupled with a tradition of violent interference in Lebanese affairs to destabilise its neighbor.

Border areas have been caught in the Syrian revolution, with weapons smuggling, refugee flows and attacks against Lebanese villages along the frontier coming from Sunnis or Shiites, depending on the villagers’ allegiances.

Source: UN agency report, "Revised Syria Regional Response Plan"

The stream of refugees (most of them living with Lebanese host families or finding sanctuary in public spaces and mosallahs) has had political and military consequences as Lebanese Sunnis, bearing witness to the increasing brutality of the Assad regime, step up their involvement.

In the early stages of the Syrian Civil War, which began in March 2011, Sunni support for the Syrian opposition only consisted of fiery speeches and sermons, of public demonstrations against the Assad regime, and of modest smuggling of light weapons. But as the conflict hardened, logistical assistance also was extended to Syrians seeking refuge in Lebanon. Over time, the influx of refugees and dissidents into north Lebanon changed the nature of the border areas’ involvement.

Source: UN agency report, "Revised Syria Regional Response Plan"

Clashes among Sunnis and Shiites have been on the rise in Lebanon, with the risk of cascading violence turning into a Lebanese-on-Lebanese struggle by the knock-on effects of sectarian conflict. Often in Lebanon, communal belongings coincide with religious ones. When a Sunnni or a Shiite is killed or kidnapped, the whole community won’t rest until it takes revenge. Mutual retaliation between Lebanese Sunnis and Shiites could easily become a vicious and unending circle of violence.
Heightened insecurity is leading many armed groups to take matters into their own hands, with tit-for-tat kidnappings and killings, and with the erection of roadblocks that impede critical transportation routes.

Each Lebanon’s faction -- either Sunni or Shiite -- wagers on success by one Syrian side or the other, waiting to translate the ensuing regional balance of power into a domestic one.

The Shiite movement Hezbollah can not contemplate a future with a Sunni-dominated Syrian regime. The Assad regime constitutes Hezbollah’s immediate strategic depth as well as the bridge connecting it to Iran. The relationship between the two allies became organic and even personal, between Bashar Assad and Hassan Nasrallah.

After Syria’s 2005 military withdrawal from Lebanon, Hezbollah’s political independence rose. An asymmetrical relationship grew into a strategic partnership.
On a strategic level, Hezbollah has been engaged in a common struggle against the March 14 Alliance, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and France – which they believe are intent on defeating the Assad regime and Iran.

The March 14 Alliance is a coalition whose elements are united by their anti-Assad-regime stance.

Hezbollah doubted that the Arab uprisings -- from Egypt to Barhain -- would spread in Syria because the Assad regime was considered to be in tune with Arab sentiment about the U.S., Israel and the Palestinians.

"I personally believe that Syrian President Assad believes and is serious and determined about reform…. I know that he is ready to undertake very serious reforms but calmly, with care and responsibility. This factor influences our stance …. In Bahrain the regime was closed. Mubarak was closed. Qadhafi was closed. Zein Al Abideen Bin Ali was closed. In Syria the regime is not closed. On the contrary, he is saying: I am ready and I believe in reforms and I am serious and I want to carry them out …. The fall of the regime is an Israeli-US interest, aiming at getting Syria to sign any peace deal with Israel. … As a resistance movement against Israel, we are required to adopt a responsible stance that is committed to the security and stability of Syria as a government and people."
-- Sayyed Nasrallah, May 25th, 2011

Hezbollah also views any threat to the Assad regime as a threat directed at its principal ally, Iran. The Assad regime has been Iran’s closest strategic partner for the past three decades, its bridgehead to the Levant, and a country without which Tehran’s ability to supply Hezbollah would be severely diminished.

In June 2006, Iranian defence minister Najjar stated that Iran "considers Syria's security its own security, and we consider our defense capabilities to be those of Syria."

If Hezbollah has tied its fate to the Assad regime, it also has to safeguard its posture in Lebanon -- not only at present, but also in anticipation of a regime change in Damascus. That is why it has acquiesced in policies that went against the interests of the Assad regime, while providing that same regime with practical support on the ground, such as lending snipers to Assad forces and killing Syrian protesters. United-States officials assert that Damascus, Hezbollah and Iran are in close military cooperation, even forming an elite militia.

Conversely, the Sunni-dominated Future Movement (Tayyar Al-Mustaqbal) of Lebanon and its Sunni partners see no alternative to the Assad regime’s demise, however long it will take and no matter the costs.

The Future Movement is now led by Saudi-Lebanese Saad-eddine Rafiq Al-Hariri

Lebanese Sunnis view the Syrian civil war as an opportunity to seek revenge against the Assad regime, as well as a chance to challenge Hezbollah’s hegemony in Lebanon.


Hezbollah continues to enjoy a lopsided military advantage in Lebanon over Sunnis, forcing them to think twice before challenging it. But confrontation would not serve the Shiite organisation, for it would attract further domestic and regional condemnation and isolation.

Sunnis are feeling gradually more emboldened, eager for revenge, while Shiites are feeling more and more exposed, fearful of their growing regional isolation.

"The emergence of Sunni power will change the balance of power in Lebanon"
-- Paul Salem (the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon)

The Syrian uprising is helping Sunni jihadists in both Lebanon and Syria bolster their standing and mutual ties that had been debilitated in the 1980s. Solidarity with their embattled brethren has led Sunnis to turn regions of Lebanon into sanctuaries and transit points for the supply of weapons to Syrian rebel forces and for staging ground for attacks by those Syrian rebels. This has been the case in northern Lebanon, notably the border regions of Tripoli and Akkar.

Arms smuggling into Syria began as a commercial affair, but has expanded with the Future Movement using Turkey as the hub for supporting armed opposition groups. The price of weapons rose as a result of mounting demand.

Source: The Daily Star

The price of weapons rose also as pro-Assad Lebanese authorities intercepted several large arms shipments.

In April 2012, Lebanese authorities intercepted a cargo ship, the Sierra-Leone-registered Lutfallah II (لطف الله ٢), in Lebanese waters. The ship was carrying three containers of heavy and light weapons destined for the rebels in Syria, according to BBC, 29 April 2012.

After the entry of the ship Lutfallah II into Lebanese waters and its discovery on April 28, two other warehouses full of imported weapons ("heavy machine guns, shells, rockets, rocket launchers and other explosives") for the Syrian opposition were uncovered on the coast of Tripoli.

The ship is reported to have begun its voyage from Libya, stopped off in Alexandria in Egypt, and finally headed for the port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, before it was intercepted.

Many ships have been reported leaving the Misurata port in Libya and heading towards Tripoli in Lebanon, using Egyptian ports for “transit.”

Russia Today reports Franklin Lamb saying "There is an eyewitness, Hassan Diab, who saw the ship Lutfallah II, carrying a Sierra Leone flag, being loaded in Benghazi, Libya. We know that Qatar and Saudi Arabia control five warehouses in the area of Benghazi. So the great suspicion is that the intercepted arms are from those left over from the Libya campaign."
"The boat went from Tripoli to Turkey, back down to Egypt and then to Libya, then to Tripoli, Lebanon. It was seized on the way there," Mr. Lamb said.

The news service Akhbar wrote that "informed Egyptian sources" reported that an Egyptian port police saw the Lutfallah II transiting through Alexandria.

The owner of the ship is named Mohammed Khafaji (محمد خفاجي), a resident of Damietta, Egypt, who works for KHAFAJI MARITIME Co., "one of the leading shipping companies in Middle East", privately established in 1999, which provides "world-wide shipping, Managing, and Chartering services."

Ten years ago, Mohammed Khafaji bought the German-built Lutfallah II, whose load is 3,900 tons, from Denmark. He then bought another five ships five years ago. He is suspected of human trafficking, of transporting his human cargo from Egypt to Greece, from where the trafficked persons would make their way into Europe through networks of commercial mafias.
As for Khafaji’s involvement in using his ship for arms smuggling, sources indicated to the Ahbar News Service that a voyage from the port of Alexandria to Tripoli normally costs around US$20,000.
The ship was only carrying three containers and the regular price per container is between US$1,500 and US$2,000. This means that the total market price he would have received for the trip to Tripoli would amount to no more than US$6,000.
Information about the ship was apparently obtained by an official Lebanese security agency while the weapons were being packed in Libya.
The manifest says that each of the three containers on board were carrying 31 tons, which is beyond the capacity of the containers.
Even more peculiar is that the ship’s number does not appear in the insurance documents, contrary to maritime transport regulations.

The owner of the shipping company, Motaweh Omar Rima, was in Saudi Arabia when he was contacted by a group of Syrian rebels asking him to support the “Syrian revolution.”
It came through a Lebanese person who said that the plan was to unload the shipment and transport it to pre-arranged locations in Akkar, from which it will be taken to Syria.

Sunni Lebanese jihadists coordinated with Syrian fighters to carry not only weapons, but also injured fighters into Lebanon in order to provide them with medical treatment. They established mobile clinics, offering treatment to the injured and arranging special transportation of the severely wounded to hospitals.

The black flag of Sunni islam, "There is no god but allah, muhammad is allah's messenger"

The Sunnis in the north of Lebanon harbour deep resentment towards the conduct of the Assad regime over the past decades and feel solidarity with their Syrian brethren. This anger and hostility has a longstanding history. In the early 1980s, the violent crackdown of the Assad regime against the Muslim Brotherhood pushed many Syrian Sunnis into northern Lebanon, where they were received and sheltered.

Between 1982 and 1985, Tripoli witnessed intense fighting pitting Sunni jihadi groups such as Al-Tawhid against the Syrian Army before the latter assumed control of the city.
During the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), Syrian security services and their Lebanese allies – including many Alawites – detained, tortured, killed and otherwise persecuted a lot of Lebanese Sunni jihadists.
In the course of the Assad regime’ post-war tutelage of Lebanon (1990-2005), Hezbollah’s ongoing empowerment coupled with the sidelining of Rafic Hariri, a Sunni leader, solidified the Sunnis' belief in their marginalisation.

Former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Baha El Deen Al-Hariri led the Future Movement. The billionaire tycoon reclaimed Beirut's architectural heritage from the shattered cityscape of a civil war and made it his mission to restore Lebanon's mercantile leadership.

Al-Hariri was assassinated in February 2005.

"Shortly after the blast, the Director of Al-Jazeera TV in Beirut received a telephone call from a man who stated that the Nasra and Jihad Group in Greater Syria claimed responsibility for the assassination of Mr. Hariri." (Source)

A Lebanese police officer and U.N. investigators unearthed extensive circumstantial evidence implicating Hezbollah, according to an investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The U.N. International Independent Investigation Commission's report, based on examination of Lebanese phone records, suggested Hezbollah officials communicated with the owners of cell phones used to coordinate the detonation that killed Hariri and 22 others as they traveled through Beirut in an armed convoy (according to Lebanese and U.N. phone analysis obtained by CBC and shared with The Washington Post).

Nasrallah claimed Israel killed Hariri. But in October 2005, U.N. prosecutor Detlev Mehlis issued a report saying that al-Hariri's assassination "could not have been taken without the approval of top-ranked Syrian security officials and could not have been further organized without the collusion of their counterparts in the Lebanese security forces."

The CBC's reporting also uncovered an internal U.N. document indicating Wissam al-Hassan was considered as a potential suspect.

Al-Hassan oversaw security for Hariri at the time of the assassination but claimed he had taken the day off to take an examination at a university...

Al-Hassan was the head of the Information Unit of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (I.S.F.) at the time.

An internal U.N. memo dated March 10, 2008, said Hassan's "alibi is weak and inconsistent" and recommended that he be "investigated quietly."

Jamil Al Sayyed, the former head of the General Directorate of General Security, was also, apparently, involved in the assassination of Rafic Hariri.

Eventually, al-Hassan's intelligence unit, relying on telecommunications analysis, uncovered the network that monitored Rafik Hariri just before his death. The Information Unit's findings were incorporated into the U.N. investigation and lead to the indictment of four individuals connected with Hezbollah.

This episode added to a sense of vulnerability among Lebanese Sunnis.

The perceived loss of Iraq to both Shiite rule and Iranian influence further fuelled the sense that Sunnis are being threatened by a "Shia Crescent."

Meanwhile, the socio-economic decline of the northern Lebanon -- neglected by Beirut and largely cut off from its Syrian hinterland given bitter relations with Damascus -- exacerbated Sunni feelings of abandonment.

But now -- as Sunni jihadists in northern Lebanon shelter and protect Syrians who crossed the border, -- they reactivate ties that had been debilitated in the 1980s, thereby breaking with their sense of isolation and reconnecting with their communal, Sunni identity. Sunni jihadists in the north of Lebanon champion the Syrian uprising as their own cause, considering themselves the pioneers of resistance against the Assad regime.

The financial aid destined to the Syrian revolution contributes to a broader Sunni mobilisation, with jihadist Sunni Lebanese joining Syrian rebels in establishing networks of wealthy donors. An active fundraising network progressively emerged, with money coming chiefly from Gulf Arab states and individuals as well as from wealthy Syrian expatriates and Islamic charitable organisations. Lebanese militants and NGOs play an intermediary role between donors and recipients, among them combatants. Ever since Saudi Arabia and Qatar decided to back the Free Syrian Army, Sunni jihadists have been receiving more funds for Syrian fighters.

Sunni jihadists in Lebanon are joining a broader, region-wide sentiment of Sunni rebirth in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere. Buoyed by both the Syrian revolution and these regional trends, Lebanon’s Sunnis have not hesitated to confront their own authorities.

When, on 14 May 2012, members of Directorate General of the General Security – a Lebanese intelligence agency whose head has close ties to Hezbollah – arrested Lebanese Sunni Shadi Mawlawi, local jihadists rose up in various Tripoli neighbourhoods.

Violent clashes broke out between Jabal Mohsen and Bab Tebbaneh, Tripoli’s Alawite and Sunni strongholds respectively. It took Mawlawi’s release a week later to restore calm.

Shadi Mawlawi carrying the black flag of Sunni islam after his release.

Likewise, the 20 May 2012 killing at an army checkpoint in Akkar of Sheikh Ahmad Abdel Wahed, a Sunni cleric – another backer of the Syrian uprising – prompted a show of Sunni force.

Sheikh Ahmad Abdel Wahed

Sunni gunmen attending the funeral of Sheikh Ahmad Abdel Wahed. (Source)

In the wake of these incidents, Sunni armed groups called for the Lebanese Army’s withdrawal from the whole Akkar District. Several Sunni leaders went as far as to encourage Sunni soldiers to defect from the Lebanese armed forces, which is viewed as sympathetic to Hezbollah and the Assad regime.

And as news of Wissam al-Hassan’s assassination spread on 19 October, armed groups and masked men carrying the black flag of Sunni islam took to the streets of Tripoli, where gunmen forced the closure of shops, Akkar and other areas, including Beirut.

Major General Wissam Adnan al-Hassan was seen as a leading Sunni figure in Lebanon.

On October 19, a car exploded in the heart of Beirut’s Christian district. It destroyed cars, shattered shop windows, caused significant damage to surrounding buildings, killed Wissam al-Hassan and two others, and wounded over a hundred.

In addition to his leading role in the Lebanese intelligence apparatus, al-Hassan was close to Lebanon’s anti-Assad March 14 Alliance and had strong ties with the family of Rafik Hariri. After all, Saad Hariri kept him within his inner circle despite the continued whispering about his whereabouts during the 2005 assassination of his father, and despite the fact that he was deeply distrusted by many of Saad Hariri’s allies, not only for his shadowy dealings in the U.N. investigation, but also for his role in the government’s crackdown on Fatah al-Islam. Leaked cables revealed that al-Hassan played the role of intermediary between Saad Hariri and Hezbollah, brokering a deal that allowed the Shiite movement to maintain its fiber-optics network in exchange for political concessions. Under Hassan’s leadership, the I.S.F. also helped roll up a vast network of Israeli spies in Lebanon, cooperating with Hezbollah to uncover a string of informants. And in 2010, Hassan was invited to Damascus as part of a campaign by the Syrian and Saudi governments to improve relations between the Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon. Despite this ambiguous role of middleman between Sunnis and Shiites, Saad Hariri elevated al-Hassan to higher positions of power.

The assassination of al-Hassan weakens the Lebanese security services at a critical time.

[T]he unit that al-Hassan headed had been particularly effective in the last few months, arresting former information minister Michel Samaha -- one of Assad’s closest Lebanese associates -- who was caught red-handed attempting to smuggle explosives from Syria into Lebanon. The unit was also instrumental in the investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri as well as cases exposing Israeli spy networks in Lebanon.

-- Paul Salem, "Lebanon’s Fragile Peace Will Hold Despite Blow"

Michel Samaha on the left

Before his death, in August, the I.S.F. moved to arrest Michel Samaha. Hassan accused Samaha of smuggling explosives into Lebanon in order to carry out assassinations and drag the country into sectarian strife.

There was something surreal about the Samaha arrest: A high-profile political figure had been caught by a Lebanese police unit with evidence so compelling — reportedly even extensive video and audio footage and witness testimony — that none of Samaha’s pro-Syrian allies came to his defense. The highly public nature of the scandal and the brazen use of the media to air details of the alleged plot seemed to suggest defiance on Hassan’s part in the face of a weakened Syrian regime.

Hariri said shortly after the explosion that killed Hassan, “We have always thought Bashar al-Assad has killed Rafik Hariri, and today he has also killed Wissam al-Hassan.

Hariri may be right, but the question of who killed Hassan seems less important than why he was killed at all, and why now.

-- Elias Muhanna

The assassination of al-Hassan inflamed the Sunnis of the March 14 Alliance. It was immediately followed by a great outpouring of grief and anger. Protesters and mourners condemned the bombing and called on the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati to step down. There was considerable unrest throughout Lebanon for a few days.

The current goal of Lebanese Sunni jihadists is to turn the north of Lebanon into a de facto Sunni enclave, a Sunni bastion where their domination would go unchecked and where they would feel free to develop military capabilities in the service of an incipient Sunni Caliphate.

Efforts to boost their military capacity are intended to produce parity with Hezbollah so as to deter any Shiite foray in the north. Sunni jihadists are now challenging the Lebanese Army’s position in the north in order to curtail its ability to constrain them and to curb efforts aimed at boosting the Syrian revolution. They want the Army to turn a blind eye on the arms and fighters that are being smuggled into Syria as well as on Syrian and Lebanese jihadists’ activities.


New Coalition for the Establishment of an Islamic State

We are the representatives of the fighting formations in Aleppo and we declare our rejection of the conspiratorial project, the so-called national alliance. We have unanimously agreed to urgently establish an Islamic state.”
“We agreed on establishing an Islamic state in Syria and rejecting foreign projects, including coalitions and councils imposed on us inside [the country].”

Ahrar Al-Sham [The Freemen of Syria Battallions], Liwa Al-Tawhid and Al-Nusra [al-Qaeda in Syria] issued a joint statement rejecting the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and affirming the establishment of an Islamic State.

But the FSA downplayed the statement.

Col. Malek al-Kurdi, the FSA deputy commander, talked to the Daily Star:

“We are trying, along with many battalions, to achieve the unity of arms against the regime of Bashar Assad. We do not support any talk of formation of [Islamic] emirates … the people will decide the type of regime [that should be established if the Assad government falls].”

“We support the National Coalition […]”

UPDATE: Al-Jazeera reports that the salafists retract their previous rejection of the Syrian National Coalition!

Opposition commanders in the Syrian city of Aleppo have voiced their support to the Syrian National Coalition, a day after a video emerged showing fighters from at least 14 brigades announcing their rejection of the opposition bloc.

“We call on [the Coalition] to increase the representation of the revolutionary forces and to activate their role in the coalition’s offices and apparatus,” Tuesday’s statement, read by Abdel Qader Saleh, the head the Liwaa al-Tawhid Brigade, said.

Al-Nusra did not retract though…

Surface-to-Air Missiles Captured from the 46th Regiment Base

In both Idlib and Aleppo, the Free Syrian Army is expanding its hold on territory.

The rebels took control of the last bastion of regime forces in the province of Aleppo and the biggest military base.
The prisoners from the base:

They acquired military tanks, rocket launchers, heavy artillery, arms & ammunition, mines and even anti-tank mines.

The FSA has captured a stockpile of weapons able to endanger Assad’s air power in Aleppo.

Those 2 videos show an SA-16 anti-aircraft missile launcher.

This video shows multiple rocket launchers:

This video shows field artillery piece:

This video shows anti-tank-mines:

We should see these weapons in action in coming days…

Slingshots, a Pickup Truck and a TNT Bomb

Was Libya Sending Jihadis and Running Guns to Syria?

Abdulhakim Belhadj went from Libya to Istanbul.
The Daily Telegraph:

Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, “met with FSA leaders in ISTANBUL and on the border with Turkey,” said a [U.S.] military official working with Mr Belhadj. “Mustafa Abdul Jalil [the interim Libyan president of Libya] sent him there.”

According to U.S. military officials working with Belhadj and quoted by the Daily Telegraph, Belhadj met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the Turkey-Syria border.
This suggests that Belhadj is coordinating with people in Turkey. Abdelhakim Belhadj’s contact with the Syrian Free Army was apparently part of a Libyan delegation to Turkey offering arms and fighters to Syrian rebels.

The Daily Telegraph on Saturday [November 26 2011] revealed that the new Libyan authorities had offered money and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad. Mr Belhaj also discussed sending Libyan fighters to train troops, [our] source said. Having ousted one dictator, triumphant young men, still filled with revolutionary fervour, are keen to topple the next. The commanders of armed gangs still roaming Tripoli’s streets said yesterday that “hundreds” of fighters wanted to wage war against the Assad regime.

According to the New York Times, CIA operatives were on the Turkish-Syrian border this summer helping to steer weapons deliveries to selected Syrian rebel groups, most of them “hard-line Islamic jihadists.” One of those jihadis was Abdelhakim Belhadj.

The aftermath of the “intervention” in Libya boosted the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Belhadj was leading. His band had formed an al-Qaeda Front, a front linked both to Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Compare the Coats of Arms.

The Libyan revolution spilled Gaddafi’s stockpiles of weapons around, and the bulk of those weapons has been making its way into Turkey, where rebels are being guided by CIA operatives and Turkish intelligence agents to transport them into Syria.

The Obama regime
In March 2011, the Reuters news service reported that “President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.” That means the Obama regime did provide the rebels in Libya with guns and probably cash. At a hearing on March 31 2011, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen askedWhat assurances do we have that they will not pose a threat to the United States if they succeed in toppling Qaddafi?” “The record on transfers of military-related items involving Libya is also disconcerting,” she says. “For example, for over a year, I requested a detailed national interest justification for two proposed weapons transfers to Libya.

The Obama régime has been running guns and armaments and munitions to the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and its affiliate jihadi groups, including heat-seeking shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles designed to shoot down jetliners. After the Libyan revolution, with Gaddafi dead and a new regime in place, the American mission in Libya has been trying to buy back weapons the Obama régime sold or gave to the Muslim Brotherhood and went “missing.” The Administration was also trying to buy back weapons previously owned by the Gaddafi régime that spread everywhere after the revolution.
Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch emergencies director, told CNN that “in every city we arrive, the first thing to disappear are the surface-to-air missiles.” “We are talking about some 20,000 surface-to-air missiles in all of Libya, and I’ve seen cars packed with themhe said.
Those missiles can fetch several thousands of dollars on the black market, and the United States has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to buy them back.
A month after the October 2011 death of Gaddafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Tripoli that the United States “has committed to providing $40 million dollars to assist Libya’s efforts to secure and recover its weapons stockpiles.”
“The rebels came from all over the western mountains, and they just took what they wanted,” said Riyad to the New York Times, “a supervisor of the ruined arsenal’s small contingent of rebel guards.”

According to a report (PDF) by the UN Support Mission in Libya, Gaddafi had accumulated a large stockpile of MANPADs, and although thousands were destroyed during the 2011 military intervention in Libya, there were “increasing concerns over the looting and likely proliferation of these portable defence systems, as well as munitions and mines, highlighting the potential risk to local and regional stability.”
As soon as islamic organizations outside Libya realized Manpads were available, they tried to get them.

When the Obama régime discovered that thousands of MANPADs had “disappeared” and were “on the loose in Libya,” it turned around and stuck a LOT of cash in the Benghazi CIA “annex”, or “safehouse,” in order to BUY those weapons back.
On September the 11th 2012, Ambassador Stevens is attacked at the Main Compound of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. At this time, former SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods, both working under the State Department (on contract to the CIA), were at the CIA “annex,” a second compound 1.2 miles away.

This CIA annex was a very high value target. It contained a LOT of cash for the Benghazi Gun Running, as well as weapons, and a case files containing the names of the folks who were assisting the US diplomatic mission in this regard.
Tyrone Woods was providing security for CIA operatives at the “annex.” Glen Dougherty had arrived on a rescue flight dispatched by the CIA Chief of Station in Tripoli.
Both ex SEALs died during the attack, and the terrorists got to keep all of the arms and cash of the CIA “annex.”
Ansar al-Shariah took credit for the attack.

The black flag of the logo means this group is an al-Qaeda Front.

Benghazi was staffed by CIA operatives, working for the State Department, whose job was a) to secure dangerous weapons (like rocket-propelled grenades and shoulder-fired missiles) looted from Gaddafi’s stockpiles during and after the 2011 revolution, and b) to facilitate the onward shipment of those weapons to Syria and other countries.

Was Ambassador Stevens’ job to cover for all of this? It looks like Ambassador Stevens was acting, on behalf of the State Department, as an interface between post-Gaddafi Libya and the revolutionary war in Syria.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and the CIA in Benghazi were somehow, some way running or heavily involved in a pipeline of money, weapons and information being routed from Libya to Syria.

On June 21, 2012, the New York Times reported that since March, there is a game-changing “influx of weapons and ammunition to the [Syrian] rebels.”

In August 2012, Reuters reported that “President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.” That means authorizing selling or giving weapons to the rebels.

Fox News Bureau Chief of Intelligence Catherine Herridge said that the role played by the U.S. mission in Libya was to control the movement of weapons out of Libya to Syrian rebels. The president of the Center for Security Policy said the Obama régime played a key role in “engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have taken over or are ascendant in much of the Middle East.”

The Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin
If the Obama regime was indeed running guns with the Muslim Brotherhood or an al-Qaeda Front, what about the last visit Ambassador Stevens received before the attack on 9/11 2012?

According to a briefing of the State Department, Ambassador Christopher Stevens held his last meeting of the day on September 11 with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin from 7:30pm to 8:30pm. At that point, the briefing said, “Everything is calm at 8:30 p.m. There’s nothing unusual.”
But according to Associated Press, said that “[the] neighbors all described the militants setting up checkpoints around the compound at about 8 p.m.” The checkpoints were described as being manned by bearded jihadis in pickup trucks mounted with machine guns and bearing the logo of Ansar al-Shariah, which is an al-Qaeda Front.

So the Turkish Consul General had to pass out through the blockade as he departed the American compound and left the area. Did he phone a warning to Ambassador Stevens? Nope, he didn’t.
And how did the Turk get through the newly-established terrorist checkpoints? — since “no one could get out or in,” (according to a neighbor interviewed by AP).

This points to Turkey playing a role in the murder of Ambassador Stevens and in the gun running from Libya to Syria.

Another elements points to this: the Al-Entisar.

The Al Entisar

The Libyan-flagged vessel Al Entisar (The Victory) was on the port of Malta on Ausgust 27 2012.

And according to a Fox News investigation, shipping records confirmed that the Al Entisar docked at the Turkish port of Iskenderun on September 6. Iskanderun, or ‘Alexandrette’ on the map below is quite close to Idlib (where the Syrian revolution is raging now).

Fox News reported that, according to a report by the Times of London (September 14, 2012), the Al Entisar was carrying 400 tons of cargo when it dock in Iskanderun.

Some of it was humanitarian, but also reportedly weapons, described by the report as the largest consignment of weapons headed for Syria’s rebels on the frontlines.

The cargo reportedly included surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and shoulder-launched missiles.

According to Fox News, the captain of the Al Entisar told the Times of London that “there was a FIGHT about the weapons and who got what between the Free Syrian Army and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The group accused of operating the Al Entisar is the Foundation for Human Rights, and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), “an islamic Turkish NGO.” IHH was behind the “Free Gaza Movement.” It is a registered charity based in Cyprus, and banned by Israel in 2008.
According to the Jewish Chronicle Online, FSA commanders have indeed told The Times that “a boat containing weapons,” [probably the Al-Entisar] that docked in Syria the week of September 14, 2012, and was “registered to members of the IHH.”
“IHH,” wrote the BBC, “raises some of its money from Islamic religious groups and has strong sympathy among Turkey’s Islamist-rooted ruling party.”

According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the islamic Turkish organization is an overt supporter of Hamas, which is an islamic militant group (founded by the Muslim Brotherhood) that seized power in Gaza in 2007. According to the BBC, “The ITIC says it also has evidence the IHH has helped provide weapons and funds for ‘Islamic terrorist elements in the Middle East‘.” The ITIC has reliable information indicating that in the past IHH had links with global jihad and Islamic terrorist elements in the Middle East. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said, “The organisers are well-known for their ties with global Jihad, al-Qaeda and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror.”

So we shall speculate that the IHH has been involved in the gun-running from Libya to Syria on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Samar Srewel, reportedly an FSA activist who had helped to organise the naval consignment, reportedly told The Times:

The Muslim Brotherhood, through its ties in Turkey, was seizing control of this ship and the cargo. This is what they do. They buy influence with their money and guns.

The U.S. mission in Benghazi was participative in running weapons from Libya to Syria via Turkey. Then something went wrong at delivery: Free Syrian Army members fought elements of the Muslim Brotherhood over the cargo.

Five days after this fight, a Turkish diplomat will help set up the assassination of Ambassador Stevens, and the subsequent looting of the CIA annex, which was full of weapons and cash.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and the CIA were somehow, some way running or heavily involved in this armament pipeline. And Turkey was acting as the nexus of this pipeline of weapons and information being routed to Syria. Turkey was the nexus, and Libya the doorway to get arms in for distribution to Syria.

This is the NGO that was running the flotilla trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza since 2008.

Jamal Maarouf (aka Abu Khalid): The Shields and the Unification Brigade

Jamal Maarouf, AKA Abu Khalid, is the face behind Kata’ib wa Alwiyat Shuhada’ Souriyya [the Syria Martyrs Brigades], a coalition of various bands of war. I will be calling this band The Shields, in reference to its logo.

In early September 2012, Jamal Maarouf gained fame when his Coalition released a YouTube video showing him with a few of his fighters posing near burning pieces of a camouflage-painted aircraft and examining the bloodied corpse of the pilot, tangled in a parachute.

Who is Jamal Maarouf, aka Abu Khalid?

A pious man and a husband of three, Abu Khalid in essence stands for traditional values, a mixture of Islam and rural mores rather than political ideology. In the absence of operational political and judicial structures in his territory in Jabal Al-Zawiyeh, he reportedly relies on Sharia to resolve disputes, but remains willing to let such matters be decided by a local government should one be established. Abu Khalid does not advocate the establishment of an Islamic State, is wary of Salafi groups and hates the [Muslim] Brotherhood. But, in operational matters, he cooperates with all. Syria’s Martyrs Brigades currently include 45,000 strong.
— Ammar Abdulhamid, in Syrian Revolution Digest, September 1, 2012.

Jamal Maarouf’s career as a militant began in 2004. After completing his service in the Syrian army, he joined Fatah al Islam, an offshoot of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah Movement.

“We didn’t know it was part of Syrian intelligence,” he said. “The idea when we enlisted in Fatah al Islam was we would be fighting the Americans in Iraq and that we wouldn’t have any armed work outside Iraq.”

He came back to Syria after 10 days, mainly because he didn’t have any sympathy for the tactics of al-Qaeda.

“Al Qaida does not pay attention to whether it’s positive or negative, or if it’s good or not,” he said. “I met with (al Qaida). We disagreed about many things, including killing Shiites. We refused to kill women and children.”

How did he get involved in the revolution against the Assad regime?

“We formed before the revolution as peaceful cells, but after the killing and torture took place in Syria, we decided to carry weapons,” Abu Khalid said.

“Since the 18th of March [2011], we were involved with the demonstrations [against the regime of Assad],” he said. “I was there when they raided the Omari Mosque, and started shooting bullets at the protesters.”

On March the 18th 2011, Syrian security forces attacked large anti-government demonstrations in Daraa.

After the 18 March 2011 massacre, Maarouf created the Tawhid Brigade [Unification, or Monotheism Brigade; Arabic: كتائب التوحيد‎].

Logo of the Tawhid Coalition.

The Tawhid Brigade in Aleppo is headed by Abdul-Aziz Salameh

Al-Tawhid in Aleppo was founded by Abdul-Aziz Salameh (Hajji Anadan, or Abou Jom’a), Abdulqadir Saleh (Hajji Marei), a fellow from Tal Rifa’at (Hajji Tal Rifa’at) and Ammar Dadikhi from Eizaz (AKA Azaz).
At one point, several groups carrying the name of Al-Tawhid appeared acting in Idlib, Daraa and Aleppo. Jamal Maarouf was one of the founders of the Al-Tawhid in Idlib, but the group was never part of the battles in Aleppo.

He began running guns in Jordan in June 2011.

Getting those weapons has become increasingly difficult as the conflict has dragged on, however. Two weeks after Abu Khalid had procured weapons inside Jordan at inflated prices — $8,000 for an M4 rifle, and $1 per bullet — he still had not been able to get them across the border. [source]

Most of the cross-border smuggling, he said, now requires bribing Jordanian army officers. For fighters trying to enter Syria from Jordan with weapons, the price has gone up to nearly $2,000 per person.
“If the border guards want to help, they have to do it secretively and individually, without the government knowing,” he said. “The border guards are really acting from a humanitarian point of view.”

The money for the weapons, he said, comes not from hostile governments, as the Syrian government has claimed, but from individual donors.

“The funding is coming from Syrians in the Gulf and Europe, as individual actions, from our own network,” he said. “We’re not going to allow any non-Syrian people to have any power, even if that person is a Muslim or Arab. But we don’t mind any kind of cooperation,” even from the U.S.

“Our goal now is to end the regime, even if another million people are killed,” he said. “We think it’s going to be a long war. Not less than one year.”

“It’s not a revolution for Salafis or the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s a people’s revolution. But each string is trying to pull things in their direction,” he said. “We wish a moderate Islamist trend, as happened in Egypt, to give the rights to the people.”

Last week, Jamaal held a large gathering, of both the Syria Martyrs Brigades and the Vanguards Brigades:

His band and his coalition are integrated into the Free Syrian Army.

Massive Gathering of The Shields (Jamal Maarouf)

Maarouf is the leader of the Shields.

And as a friend commented:

SO much effort put in the shooting of this video! They want to show their numbers, their weapons: it’s like Braveheart, something out of the medieval age, the soldier on the hill, blocking the horizon. Stunning.

Yes indeed. It’s a way to get money, to get SPONSORED.

The game being played is bipolar.

On one pole, we have what I call the *Istanbul Exchange Room,* — financiers who want to back the winning coalition of warriors — in order to win a seat at the table of power of the new Syrian state.

On the other pole, you have gangs of warriors marketing themselves on YouTube and the Internet to get elected by that money.

This is why we will be able to follow the war via FaceBook and blogs.

One Lynching Mob, and Killing Snipers

The Towhid Brigade executing an Aleppo leader and members of his clan in cold blood & broad daylight.

Snipers from the Freemen of Syria Battalions and from the Free Syria Army killing preys now in Syria.