THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Michael Springmann*
As a US diplomat, I was assigned to the CIA’s consulate general at Jeddah between 1987 and 1989. There, I was repeatedly ordered to issue visas to what turned out to be terrorists recruited for the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. Never told about this, I repeatedly questioned the demands to issue visas to dubious applicants. I protested to the American embassy in Riyadh, the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, D.C., the State Department’s Inspector General, the Department of Justice, and to a Congressional committee having oversight of the State Department. As a result, I was fired.
The U.S. legal system repeatedly blocked my attempts to learn about the birth of the mujahideen and their metamorphosis into an international cadre of terrorists. Because of this, I researched and wrote my book, learning in the process that the U.S. government used these people to destabilize and overthrow governments American politicians don’t like,
Iraq. Following the 2003 US attack on and occupation of Iraq, the American Embassy in Baghdad, along with the Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency created sectarian, vigilante militias, placing them under the control of Iraqi politicians. The US Ambassador, John Negroponte; the Political Counselor, Robert S. Ford; Ford’s deputy, Henry Ensher; and the US Army’s Special Forces recruited and used death squads to strike at Iraqi resistance leaders.
The American aim in Iraq was divide et impera (divide and rule). With a goal of spreading a sectarian hatred between the three major Iraqi groups, Kurds, Shii, and Sunni, American agents, ably assisted by Israeli ones, executed Sunni and Shii leaders while blowing up their mosques and setting off explosives in their communities. Congress gave the CIA $3 billion to create paramilitary units run by militias. The object was to kill “nationalists, other opponents of the US occupation, and thousands of civilian Baathists.”
Additionally, and as part of this process, just as it had done in the Balkans, the American government convoyed terrorists into the country and supplied them with weapons. According to Al Jazeera, combatants infiltrated Iraq from Syria to engage in terror bombings. As in similar events in Afghanistan and Bosnia, these included Egyptians, Syrians, Sudanese, and Saudis. Also among the Arab-Afghans, according to Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kubba, were those from safe havens in Jordan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. The Israeli press linked a retired Israeli officer to covert sales of weaponry to terrorist groups in Mesopotamia. An Iraqi parliamentarian charged the occupying coalition with secretly masterminding terrorist attacks and organizing terror squads. The Coalition Provisional Authority (the ad hoc occupation government) allowed al-Qaeda financial figures to move large, untraceable amounts of gold in and out of Iraq. An American-sponsored airlift flew many mujahideen out of Afghanistan, presumably into Iraq and other countries. Many Legionnaires had moved to northern Iraq, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a retired general, stated that the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq had fought in Afghanistan with the CIA.
Saudi Arabia continued with its successful efforts, perfected in Afghanistan, to support al-Qaeda terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Moreover, the House of Saud has been clandestinely shipping small arms, explosives, anti-armor, and antiaircraft weapons into and through Iraq from the Saudi city of Nakheib and the Ar Ar border crossing. According to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Saudis have been attacking his country through Syria.
Libya. The North African street protests provided an opportunity to overthrow Libya’s longtime director, Moammar Gaddafi. Players included radical militants, as well as Gulf monarchies and NATO . A leader in the plot was Anas al-Liby, who was later given political asylum in Great Britain despite suspicions that he was a high-level al-Qaeda operative. The United States of America had been providing more than two thousand al-Qaeda fighters with arms and other support in parts of eastern Libya. These guerrillas were “Salafists.” The anti-Gaddafi combatants came from Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, as reliable Libyan journalists stated. These were the same origins and fit the same pattern as the warriors who had fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Iraq.
“Justification” for American and European misadventures in Libya came down to cock and bull stories concocted for the “fawning corporate media”. In addition,a quick, successful war would help to heavily overpaint the distasteful image of American aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. There would be no time for Congressional debate, awkward questions, or criticism.
The aim was to move against Libya as an apparent way station on the road to Damascus. In 2011, it was overthrow Gaddafi. In 2012 and later, it was recruit soldiers and supply weapons to Muslim fanatics trying to overthrow the government of Syria. The World Socialist Web Site stated that Libyan extremists comprised the largest part of the combatants active in Syria, making up twelve hundred to fifteen hundred of about thirty-five hundred men sent to Syria from great distances, such as Chechnya and Pakistan. Essentially, they were more Arab-Afghans, in many instances “veterans of guerrilla fighting in Afghanistan, either as part of the US-backed war against the Soviet army in the 1980s, or in the ongoing war against the US-NATO occupation regime established in 2001.” The CIA had mobilized Islamic fundamentalists, including veterans of the al-Qaeda and Taliban war in Afghanistan, to overthrow Gaddafi, and then was recruiting them for a new war against Assad.
Syria. Beginning in the 1950s, first in Egypt, then in Syria, American and British intelligence services have worked to overthrow men and governments they didn’t like. With past attempts unsuccessful, the United States, aided by repressive governments in the region, moved against the Syrian Arab Republic in the new century, using its favorite cat’s paw, the Arab-Afghan Legion. The attack began, if not in concert with the alleged “spontaneous” uprising in March 2011, then not long afterward. Conceivably, the Obama Administration had begun arms shipments to the Syrian terrorist groups earlier than acknowledged. Reports surfaced in May 2013 that between two thousand and fifty-five hundred foreign nationals were active in Syria, including hundreds from countries such as Britain, France, and Ireland. European government officials are now worrying about the consequences of these foreign legionnaires returning home.
In later stories, the numbers changed. The war in Syria had allegedly attracted approximately seven thousand combatants from fifty countries and that one of the main US-sponsored groups there “aspires to carry out an attack in the United States.” US Special Forces are preparing these terrorists for action in Syriaat locations in Turkey and at an American base in southwest Jordan. Rebellion leaders have been supplied by recruiting programs run by the CIA, Britain’s MI6 [the Secret Intelligence Service], Israel’s Mossad [external intelligence service], and the French DGSE [external] intelligence service.” Beginning in early 2012, the FARS News Agency related that Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan flew weapons acquired in Croatia to Turkey, which then delivered them by the truckload to “insurgents” committed to overthrowing the Syrian government. Hundreds of combatants came from the CIA’s war in the Balkans.
At the beginning of the anti-Assad rebellion, the US Ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford, was the key State Department official recruiting Arab death squads. They were brought in from al-Qaeda-affiliated units in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Chechnya to fight military and police units.
The US, with its huge military budget, 39% of world spending on arms, and its economic resources, has deliberately moved against small, weak countries, often riven by internal disputes and tensions, turning the story of David and Goliath on its head. While busily destroying the countries of the Arab world, to prevent democracy and economic advancement from flourishing, America has destroyed itself. The US needs vast sums for health care, repair of infrastructure, and for the human costs of constant warfare. Yet, staggering levels of money go to drive the American war machine and its puppet, the Arab Afghan Legion.
*Michael Springmann served in the United States government as a diplomat with the State Department’s Foreign Service, with postings in Germany, India, and Saudi Arabia. He left federal service and currently practices law in the Washington, DC, area.Springmann has been published in numerous foreign policy publications, including Covert Action Quarterly, Unclassified, Global Research, Global Outlook, the Public Record, OpEdNews, and Foreign Policy Journal. He holds a JD from American University, in Washington, DC, as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees in international relations from Georgetown University and the Catholic University of America. In 2004, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee recognized Springmann as one of its Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year.