Ending the CIA program to arm and train Syrian opposition won’t work. Here’s why…

Syrian Map | WashingtonPost, 01-27-15
Syrian Map | WashingtonPost, 01-27-15

Cancelling the CIA program to “arm and train moderate opposition” will not be effective: Billions of dollars worth of weapons are already in the hands of well-trained terrorists. The movement of weapons and mercenary fighters is still set up and functioning.

In 2011, we were told the Syrian conflict originated from a localized “opposition” for “democracy”. But beginning in April 2011, weapons worth several billions of dollars began to be smuggled to Islamists, most of them foreign mercenaries, fighting to replace the Syrian government with Islamic Law.

When Obama authorized the CIA to begin arming the Islamists, the CIA needed help financially. The CIA made a deal: Saudi Arabia would contribute weapons and money and the CIA would train the Islamist armies. The Obama administration welcomed covert financing from Qatar and Turkey at that time also.

The Qataris and the Saudis had already been funneling weapons and mercenaries into Syria starting in 2011. The CIA joined this process and in early 2012 began its program that provided training and weapons to the Islamist fighters.

Saudi Prince bin Sultan, intel chief at the time, directed Saudi intelligence agents to buy thousands of AK-47s and millions of rounds of ammunition in Bulgaria for the Islamist fighters. The CIA helped arrange some of the arms purchases for the Saudis, including a large deal in 2012.

By the summer of 2012, various gulf nations were funneling cash and weapons to Islamists in Syria via the Turkish border. The money and weapons were primarily being funneled to the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Free Syrian Army”, but also to al-Qaeda in Syria, covertly called Jabhat al-Nusra.

In 2012, the Free Syrian Army and al-Qaeda targeted regions with large numbers of Christians or Alewites, often massacring entire villages in order to take immediate territory and set up bases of operation.

But the desires of the Syrian people were underestimated. Many thousands of Syrians began joining the armed forces and fought back. The Syrian Army’s numbers were at an all-time low; having been living in peace for years, there was no need for a lengthy conscription service.

But as the massacres began to take place, Syrians began enlisting in enormous numbers. And as the Syrian Army liberated a town from al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood, they would train and arm the locals so that the locals could defend their own towns, thus enabling the army to move onward to the next battlefront. What originally appeared to be an easy overthrow of the Syrian government, quickly became a stand off.

In response, Turkey’s President Erdogan and Saudi Arabian prince bin Salman al-Saud joined forces and created a coalition army of foreign mercenary fighters with several divisions so it could spread itself throughout Syria, thus spreading the Syrian Army thin. The mercenary army was named Jaish al-Fateh and Turkey began permitting massive numbers of foreign fighters and weapons to enter Syria via the Turkish border.

230 tons of weapons valued at 6.5 million dollars were delivered to the Islamists via Croatia. The transfer to Turkey was handled by Jordan International Air Cargo and the weapons were then parachuted in by the Qatari Army.

In late 2012, David Petraeus, CIA director at the time, held a meeting in Jordan with intelligence officers from several Muslim countries. Petraeus made it clear that arming Islamists in Syria must be coordinated with CIA officers in Jordan and Turkey. Immediately after this meeting, Obama gave his approval for the CIA to begin training the Islamists at a Jordanian base.

The CIA trained the Islamist fighters and Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency provided money and weapons. The Qataris helped finance the training and even allowed a Qatari base to be used as an additional training location.

More than 1000 double cabin pick-up trucks altered to resist desert conditions were supplied by Saudi Arabia. The vehicles had been negotiated with Toyota by Abdul Latif Jameel, a Saudi company.

Qatar bought an Air Missile Defense Complex from a Ukranian company and the delivery was made by Blessway Ltd, a Cyprus company.

Electronic intelligence equipment was given by Israel and transferred to Islamists by the firm Elbit Systems.

By 2015, transportation of weapons from a Romanian port to the Jordanian port of Aqaba was added to the arms supply system to Syria. The U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command commissioned Transatlantic Lines for the transport of weapons from the Romanian port to the Jordanian port of Aqaba. Note: This system was extended recently, in March of 2017, via the opening of a U.S. maritime line, created by Liberty Global Logistics, linking Livorno, Italy to Aqaba, Jordan, and then to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This new line has just been used to deliver tanks to Syria and Yemen.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the US have bought millions of dollars of Soviet-style Bulgarian made weaponry and have shipped these weapons to Syria.

Saudi Arabian Cargo planes repeatedly landed in Bulgaria and loaded up with 60-80 tons of weapons each time, then flew to Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, 62 miles from the border with Jordan, where the weapons were dropped off to be transferred. Cargo planes from United Arab Emirates via their Etihad Cargo airline also loaded up many times with similar amounts of weapons which were transferred to Jordan.

Many of the transfers to Turkey were conducted by aircraft from Jordan International Air Cargo and the weapons were dropped into Turkey by the Qatari Army.

Bulgaria’s annual report on weapons exports shows that Bulgaria sold 85.5 million Euros worth of munitions and military equipment to Saudi Arabia. This included ammunition worth €65.4 million, large caliber weapons valued at €12.5 million and small caliber weapons worth €5 million and included machine guns and 120 SPG-9 recoilless anti-tank guns.

The United States also purchased weapons from Bulgaria as part of a $500-million dollar program to train and arm Islamists in Syria.

Bulgaria had built up an enormous weapons stockpile while they were under communism. The regime acquired Soviet technology to make arms and ammunition and then stockpiled billions worth of these weapons. These weapons are recognizable and are stamped with identifiable markings. These weapons are seen being used by various Islamists fighting in Syria, including al-Qaeda, and starting in 2014, ISIS has filmed themselves using these weapons as well.

The weapons from Bulgaria were supplied to Islamist fighters through two key “military operations rooms”, one in Turkey and one in Jordan. The military operations rooms in Turkey and Jordan were supported by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Silk Way Airlines, an Azerbaijani state-run cargo airline, also transported weapons to Syria and Iraq via 350 flights. Silk Way furnished “diplomatic” flights to private companies and weapons manufactures from the U.S., Israel and Bulgaria, and also provided “diplomatic” flights to the militaries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Diplomatic flights are exempt of checks, air bills and taxes. This gave Silk Way the ability to transport hundreds of tons of weapons without any type of regulation; in other words, they shipped the weapons and the military personnel covertly.

Some of the U.S. clients of these “diplomatic” flights carrying weapons to Syria were companies that supply weapons to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Special Operations Command. These American companies were given one billion dollar contracts. Many of these U.S.-made weapons have since been seen in ISIS videos.

In March of 2015, Silk Way shipped 26 tons of military cargo, including 89 tons of White Phosphorus. White Phosphorus causes skin to melt away from the bone.

Since this shipment of White Phosphorus, many various chemical attacks have occurred in Syria by the Islamist armies. Additionally, White Phosphorus was recently used by the U.S. coalition. The U.S. coalition dropped incendiary bombs containing White Phosphorus on June 8, 2017 in Raqqa, Syria leaving 45 civilians dead.

As recent as May of 2017, the Pentagon was still trafficking arms from Bulgaria to Saudi Arabia. The cargo ships transported Grad multiple rocket launchers and OT-64 SKOT armored vehicles.

These deliveries were made under contracts created by the Obama Administration in January, just days before President Trump took office. The contracts were with the company Orbital ATK, an American defense industry company. The contracts are worth 200 million dollars. These contracts entered into by the Obama admin have not been cancelled and will continue to operate because they do not fall under the “CIA program to arm and train moderate Syrian opposition” (that Trump just cancelled).

Most of the weapons traffic was initially under the control of Gen. David Petraeus, via his control over the CIA, then via the global financial investment company KKR, for which Patraeus became Chairman of after his resignation from the CIA. But Patraeus had full assistance from large numbers of senior civil servants under President Obama, and who are now in the administration of President Trump.

Via Silk Way, the Azerbaijani airline that ships weapons and White Phosphorus, weapons are also being supplied to Islamists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Congo, paid for by the Saudis and United Arab Emirates. Some of these weapons are delivered to Saudi Arabia, and then redirected to Africa, where there is an enormous number of Islamist groups determined to take control of Africa and impose Islamic Law governments.

The weapons transported to Afghanistan by Silk Way Airline were delivered to the Taliban. Those delivered to Pakistan were used to commit Islamist attacks in India, where Islamists are taking over.

Under Trump, $110 billion in weapons have been sold to Saudi Arabia: where will those weapons go? Other things to ponder:

The weapons transfer stations continue to exist that supply weapons to Islamists in Syria and elsewhere.

There are six U.S. bases in Syria, the Tanf base continues to house Free Syrian Army brigades (Muslim Brotherhood) who work in tandem with al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda has a much larger army than ISIS and their goals are exactly the same, verbatim. Al-Qaeda is well-established throughout the world, but highly concentrated in southeast Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula, the Maghreb and Sahel of Africa, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Al-Qaeda can stand on its own, or prime those countries for formations of Islamic States.

The CIA program to arm and train “moderate” Syrian “opposition” has been cancelled. But several billion dollars worth of weapons are in the hands of Islamists who have already been trained and have their own training camps. They no longer need the CIA program.

See sources and additional images at CheriBeren.net

Cheri Berens lives in Egypt working as a researcher for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. She experienced Egypt’s 2011 and 2013 revolutions and witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood takeover and violence that followed.