Billions of Dollars’ Worth of Weapons Brought into Syria, “Arms Traffic Organized by CIA and Pentagon

Over the last seven years, several billion dollars’ worth of armament has been illegally introduced into Syria – a fact which in itself is enough to disprove the myth according to which this war is a democratic revolution. Numerous documents attest to the fact that the traffic was organised by General David Petraeus, first of all in public, via the CIA, of which he was the director, then privately, via the financial company KKR with the aid of certain senior civil servants. Thus the conflict, which was initially an imperialist operation by the United States and the United Kingdom, became a private capitalist operation, while in Washington, the authority of the White House was challenged by the deep state. New elements now show the secret rôle of Azerbaïdjan in the evolution of the war.

During the liberation of Aleppo and the capture of the Saudi military staff who were on site, Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva noted the presence of weapons from her country in nine warehouses abandoned by the jihadists. She carefully noted the information on the boxes, and once she returned home, she investigated the way in which the weapons had been delivered to Syria.

Since 2009 – with the short exception of the period between March 2013 to November 2014 – Bulgaria has been governed by Boïko Borissov, a highly colourful character allegedly with links to one of Europe’s main criminal organisations, the SIC. Let’s remember that Bulgaria is a member of both NATO and the European Union, and that neither of these two organisations offered the slightest criticism concerning the accession to power of a Mafia lord who had been identified as such a long time previously by the international police services.

It is therefore clearly at the risk of their lives that Dilyana Gaytandzhieva uncovered the organisation, and the editors of the Sofia daily, Trud, published her article [1]. While Bulgaria was one of the main arms exporters to Syria, it received help from Azerbaïdjan.

The gigantic CIA arms traffic against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and India

Since the beginning of the Arab Springs, a gigantic arms traffic was organised by the CIA and the Pentagon in violation of a number of resolutions by the UNO Security Council. All the operations that we will be mentioning here are illegal under international law, including those organised publicly by the Pentagon.

As far as arms traffic is concerned, even when individuals or private companies are used as shields, it is impossible to export sensitive equipment without the authorisation of the governments concerned.

All the weapons we will be mentioning, apart from the electronic intelligence systems, are ’Soviet-type’. By definition, even if we pretend that the armies supplied with NATO-type weapons are indeed the final recipients, this is an impossibility. These armies serve only to cover the traffic.

We already knew that the CIA had contacted the SIC, and that Boïko Borissov had been called upon to manufacture an emergency quantity of Captagon destined for the jihadists, first in Libya, then in Syria. Since Maria Petkova’s investigation, which was published in the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), we knew that between 2011 and 2014, the CIA and the SOCOM (Pentagon Special Operations Command) had bought 500 million dollars’ worth of weapons from Bulgaria on behalf of the jihadists. Then, later, we learned that other weapons were paid for by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and transported by Saudi Arabian Cargo and Etihad Cargo [2].

According to Krešimir Žabec, of the Zagreb daily Jutarnji list, at the end of 2012, Croatia delivered 230 tonnes of weapons to the Syrian jihadists for a value of 6.5 million dollars. The transfer to Turkey was handled by three Ilyushins from Jordan International Air Cargo, and the weapons were then parachuted by the Qatai Army [3]. According to Eric Schmitt of the New York Times, the whole system had been created by General David Petraeus, director of the CIA [4].

In 2012, when Hezbollah attempted to unearth the CIA / SOCOM network, an attack was perpetrated against a number of Israëli tourists at Burgas airport, the nerve centre of the traffic. Ignoring the Bulgarian police enquiry and the report of the medical examiner, the Borissov government blamed the crime on Hezbollah, and the European Union labelled the Lebanese Resistance as a “terrorist organisation” (sic). We had to wait for the provisional fall of Borissov before the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kristian Vigenine, pointed out that this accusation is without foundation.

According to a source close to the PKK, in May and June 2014, the Turkish secret services chartered special trains to deliver Ukranian weapons to Rakka – which was then called the Islamic Emirate in Iraq and Syria, and is now known as Daesh. The weapons were paid for by Saudi Arabia, as were more than a thousand Hilux vehicles (double cabin pick-ups) specially altered to resist desert conditions. According to a Belgian source, the purchase of the vehicles had been negotiated with the Japanese firm Toyota by the Saudi company Abdul Latif Jameel.

According to Andrey Fomin of the Oriental Review, Qatar, which did not want to be left out, bought the most recent version of the Air Missile Defense Complex “Pechora-2D” from the Ukranian state company UkrOboronProm, for the jihadists. The delivery was made by the Cypriot company Blessway Ltd [5].

According to Jeremy Binnie and Neil Gibson of the professional arms magazine Jane’s, the US Navy Military Sealift Command launched two tenders in 2015 for the transport of arms from the Romanian port of Constanta to the Jordanian port of Aqaba. The contract was won by Transatlantic Lines [6]. It was implemented on 12 February 2016, just after the signature of the cease-fire by Washington, in violation of its engagement.

According to Pierre Balanian of Asia News, this system was extended in March 2017 with the opening of a regular maritime line by the US company Liberty Global Logistics, linking Livorno (Italy) / Aqaba (Jordan) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) [7]. According to geographer Manlio Dinucci, it was mainly used to deliver tanks to Syria and Yemen [8].

According to Turkish journalists Yörük Işık and Alper Beler, the last contracts of the Obama era were implemented by Orbital ATK, who organised, via Chemring and Danish H. Folmer & Co, a regular line between Burgas (Bulgaria) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia). For the first time, we are now talking not only about weapons produced by Vazovski Machine Building Factory (VMZ) (Bulgaria), but also by Tatra Defense Industrial Ltd. (Czech Republic) [9].

Many other operations took place in secret, as demonstrated by the affairs of the cargo Lutfallah II, inspected by the Lebanese Navy on 27 April 2012, or the Togolese cargo the Trader, inspected by Greece on 1 May 2016.

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The total of these operations represent hundreds of tonnes of weapons and ammunition, perhaps even thousands, mainly paid for by the absolute monarchies of the Gulf, allegedly to support a “democratic revolution”. In reality, these petro-dictatorships only intervened to dispense the Obama administration with having to explain themselves to the US Congress (Operation Timber Sycamore) and cement their belief that the moon is made of green cheese [10]. All of this traffic was under the personal control of General David Petraeus, first of all via the CIA, of which he was the director, then via the financial investment company KKR, for which he worked thereafter. He benefited from the assistance of senior civil servants, sometimes under the presidency of Barack Obama, and then – massively – under that of Donald Trump.

The secret rôle – until now – of Azerbaïdjan

According to Sibel Edmonds – ex-FBI agent and founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition – Azerbaïdjan, under President Heydar Aliyev, from 1997 to 2001 hosted in Bakou the number 2 of Al-Qaïda, Ayman el-Zawahiri. This was done at the request of the CIA. Although officially wanted by the FBI, the man who was then the number 2 of the international jihadist network travelled regularly in NATO planes to Afghanistan, Albania, Egypt and Turkey. He also received frequent visits from Prince Bandar ben Sultan of Saudi Arabia [11].

To its security relations with Washington and Riyadh, Azerbaïdjan – whose population is nonetheless mainly Chiite – adds Sunni Ankara, which supports it in its conflict with Armenia concerning the secession of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

Heydar Aliyev died in the United States in 2003, and was succeeded by his son Ilham Aliyev. The USA-Azerbaïdjan Chamber of Commerce thus moved into Washington’s backyard, with, alongside President Aliyev, stood Richard Armitage, James Baker III, Zbigniew Brzeziński, Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, Richard Perle, Brent Scowcroft and John Sununu.

According to Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, in 2015, Minister for Transport Ziya Mammadov placed the state company Silk Way Airlines at the disposition of the CIA , at the expense of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, minimally scrupulous Elmar Mammadyarov, sent requests for official recognition of “diplomatic flights” to several of his embassies, which protected the flights from being searched under the Vienna Convention. In less than three years, more than 350 flights benefited from this extraordinary privilege.

Although, according to the international treaties, neither civil nor diplomatic flights are authorised to carry military material, requests for recognition as “diplomatic flights” require the explicit detailing of the cargo transported. However, at the request of the US State Department, at least Afghanistan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, Congo, the United Arab Emirates, Hungary, Israël, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Turkey and United Kingdom closed their eyes to this violation of international law, just as they had ignored the CIA flights to and from their secret prisons.

In less than three years, Silk Way Airlines transported at least one billion dollars’ worth of armament.

One thing leading to another, journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva uncovered a vast system which also supplied the jihadists not only in Iraq and Syria, but also in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Congo – also paid for by the Saudis and the Emiratis. Some of the arms delivered in Arabia were redirected to South Africa.

The arms transported to Afghanistan were delivered to the Talibans, under the control of the US, which is pretending to fight them. Those delivered to Pakistan were probably destined to commit Islamist attacks in India. We do not know who were the final recipients of the arms delivered to the Republican Guard of President Sassou N’Guesso in the Congo, or those delivered to South Africa under President Jacob Zuma.

The main arms dealers were the US firms Chemring (already mentioned), Culmen International, Orbital ATK (also mentioned) and Purple Shovel.

Apart from the Soviet-type arms produced by Bulgaria, Azerbaïdjan, under the responsibility of Minister of the Defence Industry Yavar Jamalov, bought stocks in Serbia, the Czech Repûblic and also in other states, declaring each time that Azerbaïdjan was the final recipient of the merchandise. Concerning the electronic intelligence material, Israël placed at their disposition the firm Elbit Systems, which pretended to be the final recipient, since Azerbaïdjan does not have the right to buy this type of equipment. These exceptions attest to the fact that the Azerbaïdjani system, although requested by the United States and Saudi Arabia, was controlled from start to finish from Tel-Aviv.

The Hebrew state, which pretended to be neutral during the whole of the Syrian conflict, nonetheless bombed the Syrian Arab Army on many occasions. Each time Tel-Aviv recognised the facts, it pretended that it had destroyed the arms destined for the Lebanese Hezbollah. In reality, all these operations, with perhaps a single exception, were coordinated with the jihadists. So today we learn that Tel-Aviv supervised the deliveries of arms to these same jihadists, so that although Israël limited itself to the use of its air force to support them, it did in fact play a central rôle in the war.

According to the international conventions, the falsification of certificates of final delivery, and the supply of weapons to mercenary groups who overthrow legitimate governments, or destroy recognised states, are considered to be international crimes.

Translated by Pete Kimberley

Thierry Meyssan is a political consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in French – Sous nos Yeux. Du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump (Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump).

Notes

[1] “350 diplomatic flights carry weapons for terrorists”, Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, Trud, July 2, 2017.

[2] “War Gains : Bulgarian Arms Add Fuel to Middle East Conflicts”, Maria Petkova, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, December 21, 2015.

[3] “TAJNA LETOVA JORDANSKIH AVIONA S PLESA Sirijski pobunjenici dobivaju oružje preko Zagreba!”, Krešimir Žabec, Jutarnji list, 23 veljača 2013. «TRANSFER HRVATSKOG ORUŽJA POBUNJENICIMA U SIRIJI Sve je dogovoreno prošlog ljeta u Washingtonu!», Krešimir Žabec, Jutarnji list, 26 veljača 2013. “VIDEO: JUTARNJI OTKRIVA U 4 mjeseca za Siriju sa zagrebačkog aerodroma Pleso otišlo 75 aviona sa 3000 tona oružja!”, Krešimir Žabec, Jutarnji list, 7 ožujak 2013. “PUT KROZ ASADOVU SIRIJU Nevjerojatna priča o državi sravnjenoj sa zemljom i njezinim uništenim ljudima: ’Živote su nam ukrali, snove ubili…’”, Antonija Handabaka, Jutarnji list, 9 ožujak 2013.

[4] “In Shift, Saudis Are Said to Arm Rebels in Syria” and “Airlift To Rebels In Syria Expands With C.I.A.’S Help”, C. J. Chivers & Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, February 26 and March 25, 2013.

[5] “Qatar and Ukraine come to deliver Pechora-2D to ISIS”, by Andrey Fomin, Oriental Review (Russia), Voltaire Network, 22 November 2015.

[6] “US arms shipment to Syrian rebels detailed”, Jeremy Binnie & Neil Gibson, Jane’s, April 7th, 2016.

[7] “Jordan strengthens military presence on border with Syria and Iraq”, Pierre Balanian, AsiaNews, April 11, 2017.

[8] “From Camp Darby US weapons for the war in Syria and Yemen”, by Manlio Dinucci, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Il Manifesto (Italy) , Voltaire Network, 18 April 2017.

[9] “The Pentagon is following through on arms agreements that Obama made with Jihadists”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 30 May 2017.

[10] “U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels”, Mark Mazzetti & Matt Apuzzojan, The New York Times, January 23, 2016.

[11] Classified Woman. The Sibel Edmonds Story: A Memoir et The Lone Gladio, Sibel Edmonds.

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Pentagon Furious After Turkey Leaks U.S. Base Locations in Syria: “Hard Not to See This as a F-You”

So much for NATO-alliance members working for the common good.

In a move that has angered the U.S. for obvious reason, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu Agency has leaked the precise locations of U.S. bases in northern Syria. The move – which exposes the exact locations of American soldiers on the front lines in the war-torn nation – has sent the ongoing feud between the two NATO allies to new lows. As Bloomberg details, in reports published in both Turkish and English on Tuesday, Anadolu provided detailed information about 10 U.S. bases in northern Syria, including troop counts and a map of the U.S. force presence in the Turkish version.

Without citing specific sources, the state-run news agency unveiled the ten US outposts located in areas controlled by “terrorist” Kurdish militias in the provinces of Aleppo, Hasakah and Raqqa. The reports said that the military outposts are “usually hidden for security reasons, making it hard to be detected.” It said they were located “in the terrorist PKK/PYD-held Syrian territories,” a reference to Kurdish groups that Turkey’s government considers terrorist organizations.

While locations of two of the bases, in Rmeilan district (in Hasakah province) and Harab Isk village (near Kobani, in Aleppo province), had already been widely publicized, the others had been mentioned only in outside reports, or were completely unknown. Anadolu’s story also provided systematic and detailed information about troop numbers, equipment, and US operational procedures at the outposts.

Needless to say, the Pentagon was furious.

According to the Daily Beast, Washington was so incensed that it even tried to prevent US media from reprinting the story, after it had already appeared in the Turkish media.

“The discussion of specific troop numbers and locations would provide sensitive tactical information to the enemy which could endanger Coalition and partner forces,” Colonel Joe Scrocca, director of public affairs for Operation Inherent Resolve, reportedly wrote to the New York-based Daily Beast, which was the only major US outlet to pick up the story by Wednesday morning.

“Publishing this type of information would be professionally irresponsible and we respectively request that you refrain from disseminating any information that would put Coalition lives in jeopardy,” Scrocca added.

It is no secret that over the past few years Turkey and the U.S. have been at odds over the U.S. backing of Kurdish fighters in Syria who are affiliated with separatist movements inside Turkey. The Turkish government probably leaked U.S. troop locations to Anadolu as retaliation, according to Aaron Stein, a fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

“The U.S. takes force protection seriously, obviously,” Stein said by email on Wednesday. “The Turkish government knows this, and still decided to leak the locations of U.S. bases in Syria. Hard not to see this as a F-you.”

Indeed, on Monday, Turkey’s National Security Council proclaimed that the Syrian-based YPD is the “same organization” as the separatist PKK that operates inside the country, and which Turkey has branded as terrorist. Turkish officials said that weapons freely flow between the two groups, and last month accused Washington of arming “terrorists,” saying that “some allies” apply “double standards.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said it had conveyed its concern to the Turkish government.

“While we cannot independently verify the sources that contributed to this story, we would be very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would purposefully endanger our forces by releasing sensitive information,” Major Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, a Defense Department spokesman, said in an emailed statement. “The release of sensitive military information exposes Coalition forces to unnecessary risk and has the potential to disrupt ongoing operations to defeat ISIS.

According to Bloomberg, Levent Tok, an Anadolu Agency reporter on the story, said the information about U.S. troop positions wasn’t leaked.

“The story was based on field work by Anadolu’s Syria reporters and some of the information on bases had been broadcast on social media by Kurdish fighters”, he told Bloomberg on Wednesday. “The U.S. should have thought about this before it cooperated with a terrorist organization,” he said.

The Anadolu report claims that the US operates several types of facilities in the Kurdish-controlled territories. Some are “field-type military points” which are “usually hidden for security reasons, making it hard to be detected.” The most prominent of these is Rmeilan, established in the Al-Hasakah province in October 2015. It has an airfield through which cargo planes deliver weapons to the fighters – one of the two major arms routes into the country, along with a land route from Iraq, according to the news agency. Another is Harab Isk, a helicopter base set up near Kobani in March 2016.

Apart from the more traditional facilities, the US-led coalition “uses some other places which are hard to be detected like residential areas, PKK/YPD camps, easily transformed factories.” Eight of the facilities are staffed with officers responsible “for airstrikes and artillery shelling, military consultants, training officers, [and] operational planning officers.”

“The equipment in the military points includes artillery batteries with high maneuverability, multi-barrel rocket launchers, various mobile equipment for intelligence and armored vehicles such as ‘Stryker’ for general patrols and security,” the report adds.

* * *

The incident was the latest to strain relations between Turkey and a major NATO ally.

Last week, a senior Turkish official told Bloomberg that Turkey had agreed to purchase a missile defense system from Russia, a move that could jeopardize Turkey’s relations with the Western security bloc. Germany is in the process of withdrawing from Turkey’s most important NATO base, Incirlik, after Turkey repeatedly refused to allow German lawmakers to visit troops there.

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