Author: Martin Berger
It goes without saying that it’s mainly due to the unprecedented courage of certain journalists that go above and beyond to report the truth, we know that that there’s a whole list of Western countries that continue arming such radical terrorist groups as Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.
On June 15, the UN report would release a report that would state that Israeli authorities are routinely financing and supplying Islamic radical militants fighting against the legitimate government of Syria and its armed forces in the Golan Heights. The report that was penned by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) summarizes the period from March 2 to May 16, noting there’s a number of cases Israel would assist renegade armed groups. In total, there’s been sixteen such instances recorded by UNDOF.
But it goes much further that this. As it’s been reported there’s been at least 350 diplomatic Silk Way Airlines flights transporting weapons to various war zones across the world over the last 3 years. This Azerbaijani state-run company has been smuggling weapons to Syria under the pretext of shipping diplomatic pouches.
The files that were leaked to the members of the press include correspondence between the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Azerbaijan, with attached documents for weapons deals and diplomatic clearance for overflight and/or landing in Bulgaria and a great many countries, including US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Turkey.
And there’s no need to be surprised over that since it’s been established a long while ago that the most intense weapons trafficking to radical Islamists has been run by Bulgaria. Moreover, a total of fifteen different intelligence agencies, including special services of the USA, Great Britain, France and the countries of the Persian Gulf have joined their efforts in organizing the so-called “Bulgarian Stream”. They’ve been using diplomatic flights run by American companies to supply pro-US forces on the ground with non-NATO weapons, buying them in Bulgaria and then delivering the crates to Saudi Arabia for them to be smuggled to Syria.
In the west of Mosul, more than 500 such crates with various ammunitions delivered from Saudi Arabia were discovered a while ago. It goes without saying that they were used by ISIS to continue their reign of terror. Pictures of those crates were initially published on Twitter by Iraqi Day.
At the same time, one can recall that Iraq has already tried to accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting radical Islamists last year, when Iraq’s permanent representative to the UN, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, said that ISIS was receiving funds from Riyadh that were sent under the guise of charity for the children of the city of Fallujah . According to this official figure, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, sent a letter to Riyadh with a request to clarify why the Saudi authorities would not stop sponsoring terrorism, thus abiding numerous resolutions of the Security Council.
Yet another channel of arms trafficking has recently been exposed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kuwait. According to this information, suppliers purchased weapons and ammunition for artillery systems in Ukraine and supplied them to ISIS through Turkey. Saudi Arabia has also been using the pretty same route to supply radical militants with US-produced TOW systems. As for MANPADS, jihadists have been receiving those from Libya, those are apparently being stolen from the warehouses built back in Gaddafi years.
The American Conservative notes that the policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—to supply heavy weapons to Syria.
Additionally, it’s been pointed out that CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi. CIA-controlled firms would ship the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former US military personnel to manage the logistics. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.
It would then state that:
A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo. That suggests a total payload of up to 250 tons of weapons per shipment. Even if the CIA had organized only one shipment per month, the arms shipments would have totaled 2,750 tons of arms bound ultimately for Syria from October 2011 through August 2012. More likely it was a multiple of that figure.
The single largest Saudi arms purchase was from the United States. In December 2013, would approve the sale of 15,000 TOW systems to Riyadh, the total worth of weapons sold back then amounted to 1 billion dollars. The TOW missiles began to arrive in Syria in 2014 and soon had a major impact on the situation on the ground.
It’s no secret that the flood of weapons into Syria, along with the entry of 20,000 foreign fighters, have largely defined the nature of the conflict. By helping its Sunni allies provide weapons to al-Nusra Front and its allies and by funneling into the war zone sophisticated weapon, Washington can be describe as the actor responsible for the spread of radical Islamists across the Syrian territory.
Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”