• Zionist state working closely with al Qaeda affiliate to bring down Assad in Syria.
• Mossad hit squads have been active in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq for a decade.
By Richard Walker —
Contrary to Israel’s claim that it is not involved in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, it has expanded the role of its special forces in the terror wars in both countries, supporting the terrorists of the al-Nusra Front, and working closely with Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq.
In a classic example of a double-edged strategy, Israel has taken advantage of widespread terror by generating even more chaos. It has upped its military support to the al-Nusra Front, a co-partner of the Islamic State (ISIS) and al Qaeda.
At the same time, Israel has devoted considerable resources to the Iraqi Kurds’ efforts to defeat ISIS and consolidate its hold over territory in Iraq and Syria. Israel expects the Kurds to emerge from the conflicts in Iraq and Syria strong enough to create an independent Kurdish state that will split both nations and provide Israel with an ally that has lately been secretly supplying over 75% of Israel’s oil needs.
The backing of the al-Nusra Front, for which there is considerable United Nations evidence, is an Israeli ploy to weaken the Syrian regime, as well as Hezbollah, which has been fighting al-Nusra on Syrian land close to the Golan Heights—land Israel illegally seized from Syria in 1967.
Evidence has emerged that a Mossad squad murdered Muhammad Suleiman, a senior Syrian general, in 2008 near Tartus, the Syrian island where Russia maintains a military base.
While there has been handwringing about that killing, which was a crime according to international law, it was just one example of Israel’s wider assassination policies, extending over decades in the Middle East.
The episode pales in significance to the growing presence of Mossad hit squads in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq over the past decade.
In the last two years, Israeli special forces units and military specialists from Israel’s army and air force have been operating in Iraq and Syria. Some have also been training Jordan’s special forces, and helping the country shape its air and undercover campaigns against ISIS. The Israelis have been running and planning operations out of a Jordanian airbase near the border with Syria. Israel has even sold drones to Jordan and has given it Cobra attack helicopters. Israel’s aim has been to establish a command-and-control role in respect of Jordan’s choice of targets in Iraq and Syria.
While Israel has been arming al-Nusra, and allowing its injured fighters to be treated in Israeli military hospitals, it has been careful not to have too many of its special forces on the ground in Syria, knowing the Russians are closely watching the Israeli military footprint in that country. Russia has made it clear to Israel it will not take kindly to Israeli forces assisting al-Nusra units to target Russian specialists operating with the Syrian military. The warning has not entirely deterred Israel from using al-Nusra fighters to gather intelligence on the Syrian regime’s war plans, however.
Israel’s main focus has been on helping the Kurds in Iraq.
Recently, the Iraqi government responded with anger when officials learned Israel was directing a clandestine oil “pipeline” with the Kurds. The Israelis were helping the Kurds move large supplies of Iraq’s oil out of Kurdistan to an Israeli terminal, using the services of a Greek company. Israel sold some of the oil on international markets, while the remainder provided up to 75% of Israel’s energy needs.
When Israel’s role was exposed for hiding the oil sales from the government in Baghdad, it responded disingenuously that it had merely been helping the Kurds build a better economic base while fighting ISIS. One of the benefits of the secret oil transfer was that the Kurds were able to borrow $4 billion in 2014.
Israel is convinced an independent Kurdistan built on parts of Iraq and Syria will weaken Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, and Syria. It will also create an ally with a constant energy supply. While the Kurdish Peshmerga, with Israeli help, has made significant inroads against ISIS centers in Iraq, it has also consolidated its gains in Syria. The Kurdish dream is to unite the Kurdish populations in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
That would be a political headache for Turkey since more than 18% of its population is Kurdish. Turkey is vehemently opposed to a large, oil-rich, independent Kurdish state on its borders, even if the state were to only comprise Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, and not the Turkish portion. To Turkey’s dismay, Washington, like Israel, favors the concept of an enlarged Kurdish entity.
In the past 12 months, Israel persuaded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is controlled from Washington, to move a large quantity of arms from Bulgaria, through Greece, to the Kurds in Iraq. That occurred after Turkey, a NATO member, refused to allow the arms to be routed through its territory.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.