22.12.2013 Author: Henry Kamens

US Links to Terrorism: Rubbing Out the Dots Before Someone Connects Them

talibs.opWorld leaders are now lining up to condemn the government of Syria, laying at its door the blame for the civil war and insurgency there. All these comments have one simple subtext: if the government is changed, there will be no problem. The question is, what sort of problem do these leaders want to solve? Will they eliminate war and atrocity – the leading exports of any major power – or will they lead people to assume that they do not need to look at what is going on in Syria anymore because everything bad must have been swept away with the previous government?

The comments made about Syria are merely recycled from previous attacks on Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other places. The reason leaders from all over the world are making them is because this is a tried and tested tactic used by all governments who don’t want people to look too far into things. How tried and tested? Let’s take a couple of seemingly unconnected examples.

Thirty years ago there was a big scandal about radioactive material disappearing from the nuclear energy plant at Windscale, in Cumbria, UK. So the government moved immediately to allay people’s fears – it changed the name of the plant. No one was left to wonder what sloppy contracts had been signed, by whom, on the basis of what information, to create this problem because Windscale didn’t exist anymore and its ongoing deeds had therefore died with it. Didn’t stop the material disappearing, but you could only blame the new plant, which had an unblemished record up till then, so the disappearances must be alright really.

When Barack Obama announced that his operatives had killed Osama bin Laden he was pulling the same trick. He was implying the same thing – that this would be the end of al-Qaeda, and therefore everything bad. Al-Qaeda members, past and present, are still allegedly involved in every atrocity under the sun, including those being committed in Syria. But as bin Laden is dead al-Qaeda doesn’t exist anymore, so these people, and those who fund and train them, must actually be doing good, even if they are doing exactly the same things they did before.

Finding al-Qaeda

What Obama was actually trying to kill was not al-Qaeda, but enquiry into the widespread connections between the US, its compliant allies and its so-called enemy, the almost unknown group the US suddenly seemed to know an enormous amount about as soon as 9/11 went down.

Let’s look at the facts. It is no secret that current events in Syria are linked with the Republic of Georgia, the US ally next door to Chechnya, both by accident and design. About a year ago, as reported by RIA Novosti, the Islamists who were supposed to wither away after the death of bin Laden announced that they had formed a number of armed divisions. Who were the members of these? According to the same announcements, they were combatants from Chechnya and other regions of the Caucasus who had previously been associated with al-Qaeda in northern Syria.

Coincidence or not, the so-called head of al-Qaeda in Syria, Omar Gorgashvili, who is a Georgian as his name implies, has been proven to be tied in with both the Georgian and American intelligence agencies. This clearly connects the US and Georgia, and other allies, with the apparent proxy wars and false flag attacks in Syria, involving the use of deadly Sarin gas, which are occurring with increasing frequency, allegedly committed by the enemies of the US and Georgia. But what is the US doing about this? Merely trying to pretend that, if only it gets its way and the right side wins, the present connections did not exist and any ongoing ones will no longer be a bad thing.

More-countries-express-reservations-about-UN-draft-on-arms-tradeThere are also many questions concerning Turkish involvement in the transit of Chechens to Europe and other hotspots around the world, their use of fake Georgian passports and residence and business dealings on Turkish territory and how they are alleged to be fighting alongside pro-democratic elements in Syria. However we are being subtly encouraged to ask such questions about Turkey, as this not only deflects attention but serves another stated US purpose – to dent Turkey’s EU aspirations. What is escaping critical attention is to what degree these Chechens have been supported by larger geopolitical actors.The connection with the United States is obvious: Chechens with dubious records, who would otherwise be regarded as undesireables, have been able to obtain immigration status in the US, and certain other Chechens, who tried to beat them because they were not allowed to join them, were eliminated in a Georgian special operation which many, including human rights organisations and the media, have described as coldblooded murder.

Director of the Middle East – Caucasus Research Centre of the International Institute of the New States, StanislavTarasov, has talked about how what is happening in Syria could affect the “Greater Caucasus”, how Turkey itself is in danger of collapsing and how Iran, the international pariah, may end up having a big part to play in helping maintain stability in a region where frozen conflicts, such as that in Karabakh, serve to remind us that further violence is only a stone’s throw away. Like the continuing involvement of al-Qaeda in actions the US has an interest in, this would be another strange outcome, given that Iran is alleged to be the next stop on the US military’s global intervention tour.

It is known that Syrian rebels met with Western and local arms traffickers in Georgia prior to the new government coming to power, and indeed anyone was welcome there as long as they could ensure the cocaine supply to certain ministers. There are also other unofficial Georgian links to larger operational and financial mechanisms in Turkey, Israel, Azerbaijan and the Middle East – many of which are spearheaded by the uncle of the outgoing President of Georgia, who would likewise be on the “undesireable” list given to US border officials were he of another nationality.

The incontrovertible link between Chechen fighters and Georgia, which dates back to the late 90s, continues till now. The so-called ‘Emir of the WMD Committee’ of al Qaeda is Midhat Mirsi al-Sayid Umar, who has also gone by the name of Abou Khabab (pronounced, rather fittingly, ‘Kebab’). Not much is known about him, but there are rumours that he was once holed up in the Pankisi Gorge, previously a well-known jihadi stronghold on the border region between Chechnya and Georgia.

Earlier rumours floating around the intel circuits suggested that Jordanian Abu Musab al Zarqawi had migrated to Georgia after fleeing his Afghan camp near Herat after 9/11, before moving on to Iraq, where he was killed by US forces. It was suspected that he had entered Georgia to meet Abou Kebab in the Pankisi and offer his services. These same sources related that Zarqai had been casting around for a cause, as a freelance terrorist in those unsettled days of al-Qaeda, but ultimately decided to ally himself with Ansar al Islam, not a very wise decision.

A hodgepodge of groups is now fighting in Syria under the banner of the Free Syria Army. However, in practice few of these owe allegiance to anyone other than their financial supporters. There are several groups there with al-Qaeda links, mainly made up of foreigners. One ofthese is Jaish Ansar al-Mujahireenwal (“the Army of Emigrants and Reinforcements”) which consists primarily of Caucasians and is led by Abu Omar Shishani – alias Omar Gorgashvili – the former Georgian special forces agent who has allegedly changed sides, despite the links between official Georgia, the US and the side he is now on. He changes sides, no one wants to investigate his former allegiance. Is there not a pattern here?

Terrorist links to US intelligence

20130419_slider_Boghosian_Suspects7_METAm I suggesting that there are links between the US and terrorism? No I am not; I am stating it as a fact. It is just a matter of connecting the dots, and understanding all that has transpired over the years. As one source wrote:

“Are you suggesting they orchestrated or played a role in the Boston Marathon bombing?  They wish to link the US with that area.  I looked through the economics business and financial and I noticed a big buildup of investments by the US.  Which is strange given the financial state of affairs?  There were also quite a few Israeli businesses investing in that region, especially Georgia.  I do not really get into politics; I do not want to be associated with anything negative.  If anyone bombed a school at Beslan it was accidental, or the major players used it, or set the kids up, to make the US simply look bad.  Maybe they would be happy to sacrifice their own, well they do that all the time.  They don’t give a damn about the kids.  They probably set that up.  The thing is that the Boston Patriots Day is very connected with the US Boston tea party, going back to the American Revolution with the settlers to the New World resisting tax on British tea.”

Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili stated on Georgian TV last year that he could not exclude the possibility that terrorists had been trained in Georgia in recent years, as suggested in the Public Defender’s report on the controversial Lapankuri military incident, a special operation believed by many to have been designed“to-shut-up-forever-the-mouths-of-some-terrorist-trained-by-Georgian intelligence” in August 2012.

The mechanism for training terrorists, the US Train and Equip Program designed to support the Georgian Army, which never sees most of anything it is supposed to get, has been widely discussed in the Georgian media. The Georgian media, and especially The Georgian Times, GT, the top English-language newspaper in the country, was running investigative stories about these terrorist links 12 years ago. Some of these US-supported Chechen rebels were subsequently responsible for carrying out the deadly Beslan school massacre and the Moscow theatre siege. Then the bombings at the Boston Marathon were added to this list, as reported by GT on April 29, 2013, and now the government of Georgia has changed they have found a new job with their Saudi and American paymasters in the latest proxy war in Syria.

Vested Geopolitical Interests

But the US is not the only actor involved. It is going to be interesting to see whether the Russian Federation decides to start sharing its files on the Chechens now residing in the United States and Europe openly, and explain their links with Georgia, and especially how they transited from one place to another and first obtained travel or refugee documents. As The Georgian Times said,

“By uniting US and Russian counter-terrorism efforts, the Boston bombings have been an unexpected windfall for all concerned: the Russian government finds itself with increased leverage in countries of strategic importance and in its domestic war against terrorism, and the American government finds itself with a useful escape clause for all that happened in Georgia under the Saakashvili administration, including Georgia’s role in supplying material support and fighters to Syria and to Chechen rebels.”

So what do we conclude from all this? That the US and other countries have entered into an unholy alliance with terrorist groups they claim to be waging war on, to suit their own interests, and only attacking those terrorists when this alliance becomes too obvious? Maybe there are other conclusions to be drawn. Maybe, too, as the apparent death of bin Laden and convenient defection of Omar Gorgashvili suggest, there are things the US assumes we will think, wants us to think, and needs us to think.

Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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