Posts Tagged ‘Free Syrian Army’

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Money and fundamentalism: suggested reading

August 6, 2015
  • The Department of Justice considers protecting the Palestinian Authority from a civil suit verdict for the victims of terrorism… more>>
  • Lobbyists peddle influence on behalf of an alleged Hamas-financing charity from Qatar… more>>
  • Senators propose to declassify the report on Saudi sponsorship of 9/11 hijackers… more>>
  • The rebels of the Free Syrian Army have used their Western funding and support to… kidnap Westerners… more>>
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FSA hammered by Qatar-funded al-Nusra Front

November 10, 2014

The Free Syrian Army, Washington’s best hope for a Syrian alternative to Bashar al-Assad and Al Qaeda, suffered a major defeat last week at the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra—Al Qaeda’s formal affiliate in Syria.  The FSA was recently forced to leave their Western-provided arms behind them as they retreated from advancing Nusra forces.

In case you’ve forgotten who funds al-Nusra, it’s Qatar. And their foreign minister’s cousin.  It’s not just private donors working outside the Qatari ruling class—the money and support for al-Nusra comes from within their very own ranks.  From The Telegraph (h/t Sal):

Minister’s family ties to terror

Cousin of Qatari foreign minister was arrested for terrorist funding but freed after intense lobbying

The cousin of Qatar’s foreign minister has been convicted of funding international terrorism and is believed to be linked to an alleged terrorist known as the “Wolf of al-Qaeda”.

Abdulaziz bin Khalifa al-Attiyah was found guilty in absentia by a Lebanese court of channelling financial support to al-Qaeda.

He was detained in Lebanon – apparently following a tip-off by British and American intelligence – but was allowed to leave the country before his trial after intense pressure by Qatar on the Lebanese government.

On social media, al-Attiyah appears to have energetically supported Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s Syria franchise, the al-Nusra Front.

He also appears to have tweeted support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil.)

The al-Nusra Front last year instructed donors to channel money to it through an organisation closely linked to al-Attiyah.

Al-Attiyah is also associated with Umar al-Qatari, known as the “Wolf of al-Qaeda”. Al-Qatari was named last month by the United States government as a designated terrorist.

In a brief statement, lawyers for al-Attiyah insisted that he had not funded terrorism.

However, they repeatedly refused to deny that he had been arrested and convicted for doing so in Lebanon or that he had written pro-terrorist messages on social media.

The lawyers declined to respond to any further questions about him, despite repeated requests over several days.

Al-Attiyah’s conviction, in June, brings the funding of terrorism closer to the heart of the Qatari government and will increase the growing pressure on the country to end its role as a centre for the funding of global jihad…

Still think that Qatar is a good intermediary for prisoner swap deals in Afghanistan, or for peace negotiations between Israel and its neighbors?  Now we see clearly that Qatar holds the bloody dagger that stabbed Pres. Obama, the State Department, and the CIA in the back in Syria. Will Qatar’s victims learn for this treachery or sit down at the bargaining table to be betrayed one more time?

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Freed Belgian tells how he was “sold” by the Free Syrian Army to a jihadist group

October 13, 2013

In April, Pierre Piccinin da Prata, a teacher from Belgium, was visiting Syria under the promise of protection by the Free Syrian Army.  Suddenly, he and his colleague, an Italian journalist, were sold as hostages to a group of Islamist fighters.

Pierre says the Islamists “wanted money.” Pierre says they were called dogs, and “we were considered as not really human beings.”  The only real men, the captives were told, are Sunni, Arab Muslims.  His colleague was subjected to mock executions.

After months of being held hostage, Pierre wanted to commit suicide rather than endure further humiliation and captivity, but was eventually released.

Listen to a few minutes of Pierre’s story in his own words during a Sept. 20 interview with the BBC:

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Funding armed struggle: suggested news reading

March 14, 2013
  • Twenty Chechen blackshirts show up to join the fight in Syria.  “Jihad needs very many things. Firstly it needs money. Much is dependent on money today for jihad,” says the rebel leader… more>>
  • A Hamas charity maintained an account with a French bank in the early 2000s.  Eight suicide bombs, five bus bombs, and 140 corpses later, a federal judge says Credit Lyonnais will stand trial… more>>
  • When you’re laundering money for the world’s biggest gun-runner, you might not want everybody to know exactly who you are.  Maybe that’s why Syrian-born “Richard Chichakli” has 16 aliasesmore>>
  • Ansar al-Sharia attacked the U.S. embassy in Tunis last year, and they seem to have a lot of money to throw around.  But we are, says one member, merely funded by local donations from around the neighborhood.  It is, Aaron Zelin explains, not the whole storymore>>
  • The U.S. State Department has announced it will provide aid to the Free Syrian Army.  True, the FSA fights alongside Al Qaeda, but let’s not split hairs… more>>
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Syria: funding an Islamist rebellion through theft

January 20, 2013

Free Syrian Army steals flour from Aleppo’s main warehouse

Al Qaeda seizes monopoly control of bread distribution

The BBC is reporting that flour heists by the FSA has led to long bread lines and volatile crowds at bakeries in Aleppo.  Daily life in areas under FSA control is turning out to be a disaster for the locals.  One FSA officer tells the reporter, “We are all thieves.”

Western foreign aid to Syria looks increasingly ill-considered.  Take a listen to two minutes of the BBC’s report:

But the FSA’s corruption, greed, and accusations of “theft, looting and kidnapping for ransom,” aren’t the only problems.  The BBC and NPR have also reported that al-Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, has wrested control of flour distribution out of the hands of the FSA.  This ensures that bakers and the hungry are loyal to Al Qaeda exclusively rather than corrupt “moderates” of the FSA.

Either way, the Syrian flour situation is a recipe for disaster.

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Syrian war machine funded by looted relics

October 15, 2012

Caravan raids.  Confiscation of enemy property and enslavement of the vanquished.  Exorbitant tax rates against non-Arab Muslims and ever higher taxes against non-Muslims.  It’s all justified by sharia law and centuries of Islamic tradition—especially if the profits are reinvested into jihad.

Now add to sharia’s financial crimes against civilization the systematic destruction, looting, or both, of priceless historical artifacts throughout the Middle East during the Arab Spring.  The Syrian rebels are bartering away Roman heirlooms in exchange for weapons of war.

From the Smithsonian Museum’s “SmartNews” blog late last month:

War zones are dangerous places, for both people and cultural heritage. Lately, Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt have endured high-profile looting or looting attempts on archaeological sites and museums. Now, Syria has joined the inglorious list as priceless artifacts are being stolen, smuggled and even traded for weapons.

Interpol has gotten involved. The situation got to a point where they posted this warning in May:

The on-going armed conflict in Syria is increasingly threatening a significant part of the cultural heritage of mankind. Roman ruins, archaeological sites, historic premises and places of worship are particularly vulnerable to destruction, damages, theft and looting during this period of turmoil.

The INTERPOL General Secretariat therefore joins UNESCO’s warning of the imminent threats to which Syrian cultural heritage is currently exposed and is strengthening its co-operation with other international partner organizations for a coordinated response to this menace.

Meanace, indeed. The notice was posted as part of an appeal for the return of a group of mosaics looted from the Roman ruins of Apamea, near Hama.

An article in Time paints a vivid picture of how Syrian artifacts are being used as fodder for the war machine:

Abu Khaled knows the worth of things. As a small-time smuggler living along the porous border between Syria and Lebanon, he has dabbled in antiquities as much as the cigarettes, stolen goods and weapons that make up the bulk of his trade. So when a smuggler from Syria brought him a small, alabaster statue of a seated man a few weeks ago, he figured that the carving, most likely looted from one of Syria’s two dozen heritage museums or one of its hundreds of archaeological sites, could be worth a couple thousand dollars in Lebanon’s antiquities black market. So he called his contacts in Beirut. But instead of asking for cash, he asked for something even more valuable: weapons.

“War is good for us,” he says of the community of smugglers that regularly transit the nearby border. “We buy antiquities cheap, and then sell weapons expensively.” That business, he says, is about to get better. Fighters allied with the Free Syrian Army units battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad have told him that they are developing an association of diggers dedicated to finding antiquities in order to fund the revolution. “The rebels need weapons, and antiquities are an easy way to buy them,” says Abu Khaled.

But it isn’t just the rebels accused of stealing, as an article from the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports:

In Reyhanli, a small Turkish village near the border with Syria, a newly arrived Syrian refugee from the famed ancient desert town of Palmyra told AFP that the museum there had been looted and reported large-scale theft at the site.

“These are the shabiha, the Assad gangs (militiamen) who do this,” charged Abu Jabal, giving a fictitious name. “The army is there, and oversees everything.” An amateur video posted online on August 17 shows seven or eight sculptures and busts crammed into the back of a pick-up truck. Soldiers can be seen chatting alongside the vehicle.

“We have studied what our Syrian colleagues are saying, and it is indeed soldiers. Everything leads us to believe that the army is stealing antiquities in Palmyra and elsewhere,” Spanish archaeologist Rodrigo Martin told AFP.

It seems that in Syria, unlike Egypt, neither government nor rebel is willing to protect Syria’s treasures.

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Islamic charity gun-running for Syrian rebels

September 21, 2012

The Turkish Islamic charity IHH is sending guns and money to Syrian rebels according to the Jewish Chronicle.  It’s just the latest in a long series of partnership with violent Islamist groups:  in addition its role in the Gaza flotilla, IHH has been banned by Germany for funding Hamas, and IHH has worked cooperatively with al-Shabaab in Somalia.

IHH is proving to be very similar to Hamas and Hezbollah.  It uses its widespread charitable endeavors as cover for militant, jihadist objectives.

From TGMDBR on Sept. 16:

Turkish IHH Involved In Gun Running To Syria?

Jewish media in the U.K. is reporting that the IHH, a Turkish charity tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and sponsor of the June 2010 Gaza flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces, may be involved in transporting weapons to Syria on behalf of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. According to a Jewish Chronicle report:

There is evidence to suggest that IHH, the Islamic charity that helped organise the 2010 flotilla to Gaza, has been involved in gun-running to Syria on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood. Free Syrian Army commanders have told The Times that a boat containing weapons that docked in Syria this week was registered to members of the IHH, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Samar Srewel, an FSA activist who had helped to organise the consignment, told The Times: ‘It was clear from that second what was happening. 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.’ In Syria, rebel groups that have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood are said to have the best weapons and equipment. About a quarter of the 130 members of the Syrian National Council have links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

A post from June reported that the President of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) was being investigated for allegedly financing al-Qaeda through his organization.