WASHINGTON, June 16, 2014 — In the throws of a terrorist militant insurgence, the threat of the fall of Iraq’s cities and its elected government is so severe that Iran is not only moving arms and military assets into the country, but, for the first time, contemplating a cooperative joint effort with the United States to stave off insurgent jihadi forces. For its part, the Obama administration is entertaining the same and will be holding direct talks in Geneva this week in combination with nuclear discussions.
ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is a group that was formerly affiliated with al Queda, although some reports indicate that just as the Boko Haram movement in Nigeria is considered by al Queda to be counter productive, so is ISIS thought by Ayman al-Zawahiri as too extreme. Whether such a thing is possible, ISIS was actually born in Syria and was responsible for cruel actions that even the al Nusra Front rejected, leading to a split.
It was blamed for the February killing of a founding member of the Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham and the group’s leader in Aleppo, Muhammad Bahaiah, who had close connections with senior al-Qaida leaders. It was also blamed for the assassination of Jabhat al-Nusra’s leader in the Idlib governorate, Abu Muahmmad al-Ansari, along with his wife, children and relatives. It ordered the crucifixion of a man accused of murder; other forms of punishment include beheadings and amputations.
With all of this ferment between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq and the continued existence of the tenuous Iraq government that America spent more than $2 Trillion and thousands of American casualties to bring into existence – a troubling question is emerging. What are the implications of evidence that has come to light to suggest that American military supplies transferred to jihadist elements within the Free Syrian Army, have made their way into the hands of the ISIS insurgent group in Iraq?
To form a framework within which to examine this, we must look back to Benghazi. Circumstantial evidence indicates that the ‘Special Mission Compound’ in Benghazi was employed as a control / staging area for the inventory and transshipment of heavy weaponry that was spread throughout Libya following the defeat of Gaddafi.
From there, many security experts including Admiral James A. Lyons (retired) believe that Turkey was acting as distribution agent for these weapons, including Surface-to-air missiles to the al Nusra brigade and ISIS in Syria for the purpose of overthrowing the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Remember that on Ambassador Stevens’ appointment calendar for September 11th, 2012 included a visit from Turkey’s Consul General Ali Sait Akin, less than an hour before the compound came under attack. Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President of the Center for Security Policy recently stated:
The evidence suggests that the Obama administration has not simply been engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have taken over or are ascendant in much of the Middle East – the Obama administration has been arming them, including jihadists like Abdelhakim Belhadj, leader of the al Qaeda franchise known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
The New York Times, has reported that the Obama administration has partnered with Saudi Arabia and Qutar in providing arms that have fallen into the hands of jihadists in Syria:
“Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.”
The Times went on to detail that the CIA had sent consultants to assist Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in getting heavy armament into Syria. From interviews of government officials, rebel commanders and air traffic reports, the New York Times concludes that over 160 military flights have carried arms into Syria and delivered them to opposition forces.
Weapons that were taken from the warehouses attached to the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi can reasonably be assumed to have left Syria and entered Iraq, in the hands of ISIS in the aftermath of their falling out with al-Queda. This is not according to critics of the Obama White House. This is according to Pentagon officials!
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda affiliate, is “driving some of these vehicles, they’re in possession of some of this stuff, but I’d be loathe to tell you that we actually have a really solid sense of what they’ve got,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Friday.
Additionally, State Department Deputy Press Secretary Marie Harf told reporters, “We are certainly concerned that the fact that [ISIS] has gotten its hands on so many weapons, both in Syria and Iraq, is a very serious security concern for both countries.”
With this emerging picture, the investigation of the CIA’s activities in Benghazi and the arms transfers to Syria, becomes increasingly critical to determine the precise role of the State Department under Hillary Clinton, the Defense Department under Leon Panetta and the White House under Barack Obama in the crisis that we see building in Iraq. The security threat facing Iraq and that Obama, the Pentagon and the State Department must address, could very well be a crisis of their own making.
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