Normally, I respect the folks at Global Research, but their recent piece on the Boston bombings
is as frustrating as it is helpful. It's frustrating because it focuses on an allegation that is clearly wrong. The article says that Tamelan Tsarnaev was Naked Guy, the fellow in police custody who was ordered to strip -- as cameras recorded the whole humiliating business.
Tamerlan did indeed resemble Naked Guy. But Tamerlan had copious chest hair, and Naked Guy clearly does not.
When I pointed that fact out in a previous post, a reader suggested that jihadis who wear explosive vests have been known to shave their chests. First, I have no idea why body-shaving would prove advantageous to a suicide bomber. Second, although there was some talk of "suicide vests" in early reports, later (and supposedly more authoritative) news accounts have assured us that Tamerlan did not possess anything other than a 9mm pistol. Third -- and most damningly -- the corpse seen in the morgue photo has chest hair
, matching the shots we have of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the boxing ring.
Conclusion: Two different guys.
I still think that the Watertown police chief lied when he said that Tamerlan was run over by his brother. The morgue photo shows a bullet wound, and the doctor who worked on the body insisted that the corpse showed no sign of vehicular impact. (We've discussed all of this in previous posts.) So it remains quite possible that Tamerlan died after capture. But he wasn't Naked Guy.
There are other problems with the Global Research piece. Right now, I want to talk about that article's most important revelation -- a revelation which has nothing to do with the Boston affair. At the same time everyone in the U.S. was frantic about the bombers, the Canadian Mounties announced that they had broken up a terror plot north of the border...
At Monday’s press conference, the RCMP asserted that Esseghaier and Jaser had acted under the “direction and guidance” of “al-Qaeda elements located in Iran.”
The RCMP said that they had no evidence of Iranian government involvement.
Most American newspapers covering this story left out that last sentence -- the bit about "no evidence of Iranian government involvement." In fact, Al Qaeda (a Sunni organization) has always hated the government in Iran (ruled by Shi'ites). Al Qaeda (or whatever is left of it) has allied itself with the rebels trying to overthrow
the current Iranian government.
To prove the point, Global Research links to this important 2008 Sy Hersh piece
in the New Yorker:
The Administration may have been willing to rely on dissident organizations in Iran even when there was reason to believe that the groups had operated against American interests in the past. The use of Baluchi elements, for example, is problematic, Robert Baer, a former C.I.A. clandestine officer who worked for nearly two decades in South Asia and the Middle East, told me. “The Baluchis are Sunni fundamentalists who hate the regime in Tehran, but you can also describe them as Al Qaeda,” Baer told me. “These are guys who cut off the heads of nonbelievers—in this case, it’s Shiite Iranians. The irony is that we’re once again working with Sunni fundamentalists, just as we did in Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties.” Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is considered one of the leading planners of the September 11th attacks, are Baluchi Sunni fundamentalists.
One of the most active and violent anti-regime groups in Iran today is the Jundallah, also known as the Iranian People’s Resistance Movement, which describes itself as a resistance force fighting for the rights of Sunnis in Iran. “This is a vicious Salafi organization whose followers attended the same madrassas as the Taliban and Pakistani extremists,” Nasr told me. “They are suspected of having links to Al Qaeda and they are also thought to be tied to the drug culture.”
We have the same problem in Syria: The guys we're backing -- the Nusra Front -- have inextricable ties to Al Qaeda. I have a strong suspicion that if Nusra wins, they will soon turn on us.
My jaw dropped while watching David Ignatius pontificate about Syria on the Chris Matthews show the other day. After confidently predicting that Assad will fall, Ignatius said that the administration was now concentrating on making sure that "moderates" took over.
Laughable. The more moderate Assad opponents have been dying on the vine, because all of the Western aid has gone to the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. I discussed that point
at some length last month.
That earlier post links to this piece in the Telegraph
And in recent weeks it is Jabhat al-Nusra, a radical jihadist group blacklisted by the US as terrorists and a group that wants Syria to be an uncompromising Islamic state governed by sharia, that is holding sway.
The New York Times
The group is well funded – probably through established global jihadist networks – in comparison to moderates. Meanwhile pro-democracy rebel group commanders say money from foreign governments has all but dried up because of fears over radical Islamists.
revealed that Nusra's money wasn't coming through "established global jihadist networks" (unless you want to define that term in a rather novel fashion). In fact, the cash comes from your tax dollars.
The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.
As it evolved, the airlift correlated with shifts in the war within Syria, as rebels drove Syria’s army from territory by the middle of last year. And even as the Obama administration has publicly refused to give more than “nonlethal” aid to the rebels, the involvement of the C.I.A. in the arms shipments — albeit mostly in a consultative role, American officials say — has shown that the United States is more willing to help its Arab allies support the lethal side of the civil war.
The likeliest explanation is that the U.S. is aiding Nusrah because Nusrah has the boldest fighters. Wisely, they have also set up an effective humanitarian aid program for ordinary people affected by the war.
That said, I am beginning to find the pattern alarming. In both Iran and Syria, the United States is backing jihadis who have Al Qaeda links. These warriors will probably turn against the west once in power, as did the anti-Soviet Afghan fighters. Part of me wonders if there isn't a faction in DC that considers such an outcome desirable. Perhaps the neocons want a new version of the Cold War. Or perhaps they want a hot
war. Maybe that's why they're so desperate to replace Assad and Ahmadinejad with people who are more belligerent.