The rebranding of JFS (Jabhat Fateh al-Sham)/Nusra/AQ is purely cosmetic and strategic, enabling opportunistic calls for “unity” in East Aleppo, occupied by these AQ largely foreign mercenaries in a “death before surrender” stand at the expense of around 300,000 civilians who remain there.
On the propagandist Facebook wall of Australian number one terrorist Shaykh Mostafa Mahamed aka Abu Sulayman, his current slick spiel is delivered by his student acolytes. He/they can also be found at present slogannising on multiple twitter accounts* in his name and for the JFS in several languages for “unity”. Significantly, main leader of the “rebel” Aleppo team is Sheikh Muhaysini, who “is ready to announce all factions must unite.” ‘I’ve described him as “pro-Al Qaeda” since 2014.‘ says analyst Thomas Joscelyn.
On a US kill list, Sulayman, AQ/JFS/Nusra’s head propagandist in Aleppo, announced the fake split of the rebranded Nusra under the banner of JFS from AQ about 3 weeks ago on CNN and Skynews. Notably Sulayman broadcast Zenki promoter Rslan’s recent rebel propaganda which went mainstream before the Syria Campaign. Bin Laden was never so fortunate to have the mainstream global media whitewashing his agitprop and facilitating the viralisation of toxic AQ ideology.
This JFS split from AQ is fictitious. AQ is a franchise.
‘The split between Al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra is part of the competition between Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri on the future and the leadership of the global jihad. It reflects a decentralized strategy of AQ’s central leadership.’
As Joscelyn observes:
‘Al Qaeda’s branches technically owe their loyalty to Mullah Haibatullah as well.
In al Qaeda’s hierarchy, the regional branches — AQAP, AQIM, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Shabaab in Somalia and Al Nusrah Front — swear allegiance to Zawahiri. These groups are then responsible for waging jihad in their designated regions on behalf of al Qaeda. (Al Nusrah Front recently rebranded itself as Jabhat Fateh al Sham, or the “Conquest of the Levant Front.” The move was directed by al Qaeda’s senior leadership.)
Therefore, al Qaeda’s regional branches are loyal to the Taliban’s emir by virtue of their bay’ah (allegiance) to Zawahiri.’
Who is Sulayman?
Born in 1984, Mostafa Farag aka Mostafa Mahamed aka Abu Sulayman arrived in Australia with his family from Egypt in 1985, gaining Australian citizenship. He is said to have a Masters in education from Sydney University and was founder and director of Bankstown Arabic school Knowledge House.
In 2012, Sulayman was the founder of the Sydney childcare network which has defrauded the Australian taxpayer of $27 million. Yet ASIO knew he had extremist connections since around 2003? this staggers belief.
2012 was also the year Sulayman decamped from Australia to Syria where he was quickly shuffled up the Nusra/AQ food chain to his present position of lead propagandist. Initially he was responsible for an attempt to reconcile Nusra with ISIS, which failed.
‘As a result of ISIS’ effective online attacks, Al Nusrah has been forced to expose the identities of some of its most seasoned personnel, some of whom were dispatched to Syria by al Qaeda’s senior leadership. While previous reports identified Abu Sulayman as an Al Nusrah Front official in Raqqah province who was expelled by ISIS, little was known about his role in al Qaeda’s mediation efforts.
Abu Sulayman does not hide his allegiance to al Qaeda. On his own Twitter feed, which currently has nearly 7,000 followers, Abu Sulayman decribes himself as a member of “Al Qaeda in the Levant.”’
In 2015, the Murdoch press amplified and sanitised Sulayman’s rhetoric, indulging in another bout of promotion on July 15 this year.
“(The) terms of the Joint Implementation Group state that the areas which US and Russia will target are basically everywhere Assad isn’t,” Mahamed said in a Twitter post yesterday.
“Destroying JN (al-Nusra) would mean carpet bombs, genocide and wiping out whole communities.
“JN has become an inseparable part of Syria.
“JN are too deeply rooted into society to be exterminated as per US/Russian plans.”
At present Sulayman uses @LiveUpdateSyria war porn to bignote JFS revenge actions.
Why is all this information important? because there is a lack of understanding about the constituency and goals of “rebel” forces in Syria and their role in destabilisation serving long-standing US policy tilting at Syria, along with paid and unpaid “rebel supporter” pressure for US intervention via no fly zones in Syria. From the US State Department 18/8/16 daily briefing:
QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up on Afghanistan. People of Afghanistan, the last 93 years, they have gone ups and downs from one regime to another. Now in the last 30 years, they were freed by the U.S. from the Soviet occupation, and now they are under the occupation of Taliban and al-Qaida. And what they’re asking is if and when are they going to be free from these terrorists.
QUESTION: That’s my second question.
MR KIRBY: (Laughter.) I mean, Goyal, I can’t possibly put a date certain on the elimination of the terrorist threat in Afghanistan. And Afghanistan, as we talked about at the opening, isn’t – I mentioned Turkey – isn’t the only country that continues to face a very real threat from terrorism, and we know that groups like Daesh are trying to expand their influence there. And we know that not every member of the Taliban has and is willing to embrace the political process moving forward. That’s why it’s important that the United States continue to make clear our intention and our support of a strong, sovereign, secure, stable Afghanistan.
From Vietnam, to Honduras, Grenada, Columbia, Chile, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and countless more US interventions, we need to remember and learn from history when the US targets countries in the name of “democracy” and “humanitarianism” it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The Intercept provides yet another platform for Sulayman’s JFS sanitisation, erasure of his initial task in Syria to resolve differences with ISIS and concealment of the falsity of the “split” with AQ. Shame they didn’t ask him about the disappeared $27 million of Australian taxpayer money.
Preceding 2011 there were long term US plans for destabilisation and regime change, from placing Syria on the cartoonish “axis of evul” after 9/11 to tough sanctions to IMF debt and pressure to “neoliberalise”.
Recap back to 2006:
The US tilted at the Syrian government years before Clinton’s email where she said she wanted to dismember Syria “for Israel”.
For example, US cables in 2006 are clear:
‘A December 13, 2006 cable, “Influencing the SARG [Syrian government] in the End of 2006,”1 indicates that, as far back as 2006 – five years before “Arab Spring” protests in Syria – destabilizing the Syrian government was a central motivation of US policy. The author of the cable was William Roebuck, at the time chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Damascus. The cable outlines strategies for destabilizing the Syrian government.’
At the bottom of my post last year, there’s more links and info about pre-2011 US dodginess in Syria, and particularly interesting are those involving Jim (James) Prince and the “Democracy Council” in Syria, Prince was also involved in similar schemes in the Palestinian OPT with “Best Plans” and “Free Muslims Coalition” Kamal Nawash. Worth a very close look indeed.
For more on Nawash and his astroturfing of the Palestinians, see here.
More on the Jim Prince “Democracy Council” astroturfing of Syria 2006 – 2009 here.
And more on US astroturfing of Syria here
‘Edgar Vasquez, a State Department spokesman, said the Middle East Partnership Initiative has allocated $7.5 million for Syrian programs since 2005. A cable from the embassy in Damascus, however, pegged a much higher total — about $12 million — between 2005 and 2010.
The cables report persistent fears among U.S. diplomats that Syrian state security agents had uncovered the money trail from Washington.
A September 2009 cable reported that Syrian agents had interrogated a number of people about “MEPI operations in particular,” a reference to the Middle East Partnership Initiative.
“It is unclear to what extent [Syrian] intelligence services understand how USG money enters Syria and through which proxy organizations,” the cable stated, referring to funding from the U.S. government. “What is clear, however, is that security agents are increasingly focused on this issue.”
U.S. diplomats also warned that Syrian agents may have “penetrated” the Movement for Justice and Development by intercepting its communications.
A June 2009 cable listed the concerns under the heading “MJD: A Leaky Boat?” It reported that the group was “seeking to expand its base in Syria” but had been “initially lax in its security, often speaking about highly sensitive material on open lines.”
The cable cited evidence that the Syrian intelligence service was aware of the connection between the London exile group and the Democracy Council in Los Angeles. As a result, embassy officials fretted that the entire Syria assistance program had been compromised.’
James Prince mixes with prime zionist evangelists including Rob Eshman at a Syria fundraiser last December in California
What this information indicates is that having committed to regime change early on, the US used its usual methods tried and tested throughout South America, Africa and elsewhere, working through its “humanitarian”, “democracy” fronts.
More on the DC and other astroturfing initiatives funding here.
The National Democratic Institute, chaired by “the price – we think the price is worth it” Madeleine Albright has worked/works over Syria.
‘Working with a local partner, the Syrian Civil Administration Development Center (SYCAC), NDI provides ongoing skills-building and training to local and provincial councils inside of Syria through a network of NDI-trained embedded governance advisors. Beginning in August 2014, activists identified in partnership with SYCAC have been taking part in a comprehensive training-of-trainers (ToT) program, which aims to equip them with knowledge, training skills, and a firm understanding of administrative and organizational facets of local governance so that they can begin to address local council needs and encourage community engagement.
NDI’s support to SYCAC dates back to 2012, when opposition activists responded to local governance needs by forming administrative councils in communities throughout the country. In December 2012, NDI assisted SYCAC to organize the first significant gathering of local council representatives in Ankara, Turkey. The meeting brought together more than 200 local council representatives from all parts of Syria to discuss, revise, and approve a set of bylaws to govern their practices and relationships between councils.
Using the same model of embedded advisory assistance, in early 2016 NDI launched a program in partnership with Creative Associates International to build the legitimacy of local councils inside Syria by improving governance, service delivery, and citizen outreach capacity.
NDI’s Citizen Syria civic education program, which has been ongoing since October 2013, aims to empower Syrian citizens to become active participants in political decision-making process at the local level.
NDI has worked with a number of established political parties and emerging movements on party development and organizational structure. The Institute’s partners have included: the Damascus Declaration; the People’s Party; Building the Syrian State; the Kurdish Youth Tanseekiyat Union; the Ahrar Party; the Muslim Brotherhood; the Democratic Platform; the National Change Trend; the Syrian Democratic Coalition; and the Yekiti party, as well as many others.’
The Ahrar Party and Muslim Brotherhood, eh.
Creative Associates Top Programs feature MEPI programs over several years.
Who pays for ‘rebel’ propaganda?
The British government is picking up the Western-backed opposition’s $1.4 million annual tab influencing policymakers in Washington and at the American United Nations mission in New York, Justice Department records reveal. And Saudi Arabia helps get the rebel point of view in the media via the kingdom’s $8 million contract with PR giant MSL Group (formerly Qorvis).
Ruby Hamad shares the stories of Syrian refugees driven out by extremist violence and patriarchal oppression:
‘Three years ago, it had taken 29-year-old Hajar, a part-time beautician, all her powers of persuasion to convince her husband Majid to leave Aleppo after he had fallen under spell of the then-al-Qaeda affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra (now called Jabhat Fateh al-Sham).
“The radical clerics brainwashed him,” she recalls. “His mentality totally changed. He just became so angry, so argumentative; it was impossible to discuss anything with him,” her voice drops. “He was always hitting me.”
The birth of their son brought a reprieve. Majid agreed to quit fighting and the family fled to Beirut. But Hajar’s relief proved short-lived and months later, Majid again turned on her and the children, blaming them for “taking him away from (his) jihad.”
“One time he drew a knife, as if to slaughter me. But my son saw it and fainted. That stopped him.”
When he announced that he was returning to Syria with their children, she hatched a plan. As his involvement with a terror group placed him on the Syrian government’s wanted list, his only option was to fly to Turkey alone and cross into Syria from there. She told him she would meet him in Aleppo with the children.
“We had sold everything. I had nothing left here, so he assumed I had no choice but to go back,” she replies, when I ask why he believed her. “But I didn’t go. There was no way I was going to follow him.” ‘
Storified US policy directions, present, past and future re Syria
More on the JFS rebranding and use of propaganda to sanitise, along with US and British PR funding.
In his terrific book on ISIS, leading academic specialist Fawaz Gerges explained that “Al Nusra has a Salafi-jihadist worldview that is similar to that of ISIS, with the two only differing tactically and operationally.”
Gerges observed that Turkey and Qatar have lobbied for JAN to split from al Qaeda central, in the hope that this could unite the anti-Assad opposition, and increase its chances of garnering Western recognition and support. Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, a Jordanian theoretician of Al Qaeda, reportedly said that Zawahiri was fine with JAN splitting from Al Qaeda, other than his concern that ISIS would be the primary beneficiary.
JAN took the plunge in July, renaming itself Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. Earlier that day, “Zawahri, gave the Nusra Front his blessing to break away. In his message, Golani thanked Zawahri for putting the interests of Syrians ahead of organizational concerns.”
Despite the obvious coordination involved, and the fact that the new organisation has not claimed any kind of ideological change, Joulani said the change was made “to remove the excuse used by the international community – spearheaded by America and Russia – to bombard and displace Muslims in the Levant: that they are targeting the Nusra Front which is associated with al Qaeda”
On the potential results of safe/no fly zones pushed by imperialist neocon pundits
So what do these outraged observers want “us” to do to ameliorate Syrian suffering? For prominent pundits and leading editorial boards, the answer is usually bombing the Syrian government. More often than not, they use humanitarian euphemisms like “safe zones” or “no-fly zones.” Rarely mentioned is the fact that establishing these zones would require US bombing of Syria’s air capacity, including infrastructure, planes, buildings, possibly troops. That would, in effect, be a declaration of war. How Russia would respond is anyone’s guess, but it would certainly heighten tensions between Washington and Syria’s longtime ally (which also happens to have the world’s largest nuclear arsenal). One 2012 Pentagon estimate found that enforcing a no-fly zone would involve at least “70,000 American servicemen”; another estimate insisted such an effort would involve “hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers.” These messy details are hardly ever mentioned when the do-something crowd calls for “action” in Syria.
Foul boofhead Efraim Inbar from an Israeli stink tank which consults for NATO and the zionist government advises long-term war in Syria, as if that’s not what the US has been and is facilitating with its contras. Norton, who appears to have rebranded himself on Syria recently, recycles the story here). Inbar previously recommended that Israel “mow the grass” permanently in Gaza every now and then. Inbar was in Australia in February, minimising ISIS fears and advising a credulous audience to focus on Iran if anywhere in the region.
Recalling Carl Bernstein’s expose of the CIA’s use of journalists back in 1977.
US training “rebels” then minimising the US role aided by the western media.
A four-year-long deliberate strategy of backing anti-Assad forces–which has helped fuel the bloody civil war and paved the way for the rise of ISIS–is reduced to a cheesy “bumbling bureaucrat” narrative.
French government supporting “Syrian journalism” in Gaziantep.
In April2014, CFI will open a media centre, the Syrian Media Incubator, in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, 60km from the Syrian border, to the north of Aleppo. This collective workspace aims to provide modern telecommunication tools and support Syrian journalists who are determined to continue relaying news from their country, whatever the cost.
As a reminder, CFI already works in partnership with International Media Support (IMS) and Reporters sans frontières (RSF), and, in particular, helped in2013 to set up an independent Syrian radio station called Radio Rozana, which broadcasts from Paris and relies on a network of 30correspondents based in Syria. CFI provided several training sessions for these correspondents in2013.
Max Blumenthal on the Syria Campaign and White Helmets vested capitalist, imperialist connections.
* Sulayman english twitter https://twitter.com/AbuSulaymanMM (last tweet Sept 26/16)
Sulayman arabic twitter https://twitter.com/AbuSulaymanUr (last tweet Sept 27/16)
Sulayman german twitter https://twitter.com/AbuSulaymanDE (last tweet Sept 27/16)
Sulayman syrian twitter https://twitter.com/AbuSulaymanPsh (now deleted ~ Oct 3/16)
JFS twitter https://twitter.com/JFS_Eng
JFS arabic https://twitter.com/J_FSham (a/c suspended ~ Oct 3/16) and https://twitter.com/J_F_Sham (still active)
Your Daily Al Qaeda
How the western media and twitter is assisting Sulayman to deploy AQ/Nusra/JFS propaganda. Here’s some screenshots from Sulayman’s English twitter feed.