Al-Qaeda mercenaries have been fighting face-to-face with Hezbollah for the first time in their lives in Syria. It's been a rattling experience for the former, despite billions of dollars worth of assistance pouring into Syria from U.S., E.U., GCC nations, and with Turkey and Israel playing hospitable hosts by providing them with accommodation, safe haven and medical treatment.
Mystery sponsors of weapons and money to Al-Qaeda in Syria are no longer secret news, carrying a striking resemblance to that old script already used for Iraq to topple Saddam. The only difference between the powwow of Iraq and Syria is that the Syrian confab has a different cast - instead of Saddam, it's Assad who is the "brutal, chemical weapons-using dictator."
While Saudi Arabia is backing Al-Qaeda in Syria, Qatar is mainly behind Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia has spent a minimal of $9 billion on weapons, training and salaries of mercenaries during the last 3 years. Until 2013, Qatar had spent $3 billion in Syria, excluding a one-off monthly salary as bonus to terrorists in Aleppo of $150 each. It's now almost mid 2014 and Qatar's funding of the Syrian war is likely close to $4 billion.
Industrial hardware and other costly items from factories and shops in Aleppo and other Syrian cities close to Syrian-Turkish border have been plundered/smuggled by gatecrashing Turks with the help of the "jihadists."
Al-Nusra Front which is the official Al Qaeda franchise in Syria and most radical of all, is supported by wealthy individuals not only in Saudi Arabia but in most gulf countries and to an extent in Qatar as well, despite Qatar primarily being a Brotherhood base.
Direct funding by the United States to Al-Qaeda and other "jihadis" in Syria has been in the billions. U.S. is now also considering sending manpads to the terrorists.
Truckloads of drugs sent to the "jihadis" have been smuggled periodically into Syria via Turkey from various AQ financiers. Several illegal consignments of Captagon pills have been intercepted and confiscated by Syrian customs and security forces that have widely been shown on Youtube videos and other news sites. It's not known precisely how much worth of drugs have been sent to the infiltrating criminals inside Syria, but surely drugs cost big money which is viewed as an investment by the financiers.
E.U. has not only been sending its taxpayers' money directly to the terrorists in Syria but has also lifted Syrian oil sanctions from rebel held areas within the country to help terrorists get control over Syrian oil wells and pipelines in the rebel held areas and consolidate their power. The main beneficiaries of EU’s lifting of sanctions have been Al Nusra Front and several other smaller terrorist groups who now control majority of the oil wells in Deir Ezzor province by forcibly evicting the indigenous Sunni tribes. Reportedly, they have also seized control of certain Kurdish sectors to the north-east. According to Abu Saif, a fighter of the Muslim Brotherhood, who is apparently wary of Al-Nusra: “Jabhat al-Nusra is investing in the Syrian economy to reinforce its position in Syria and Iraq. Al-Nusra fighters are selling everything that falls into their hands from wheat, archaeological relics, factory equipment, oil drilling and imaging machines, cars, spare parts and crude oil.”
Another Al-Qaeda franchise, LIFG, presently the rulers of oil-rich Libya which has been turned into one of the richest entities in the world by the courtesy of NATO, is hand-in-glove with Al-Nusra.
Weapons that are sent to smaller groups of Syrian "jihadis" fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda fighters in little time. There is no meaningful distinction between Al-Nusra and the so-called Free Syrian Army or any other groups categorized as "rebels." Al-Nusra is the boss of all "jihadist" groups currently operating in Syria.
In spite of such colossal pampering, Al-Qaeda ingrates in Syria are whining and grumbling that they're poor, lacking in resources and support. However, not hard to guess, their real issue is lack of battlefield strategy, lack of military discipline, lack of ideology and therefore a complete lack of commitment to a cause. All of these shortcomings have been bundled together and twisted the other way round to portray themselves as the deprived ones.
While talking to Al-Akhbar, some Al-Qaeda cry babies upset over their failure cut comical figures in an attempt to camouflage the truth. Concerning their experience with confronting Hezbollah soldiers, here's what some of them had to say:
"some Hezbollah fighters looked like they were possessed."
"We hit three of them but they continued to descend. Only a crazy person would do that. Their courage is not normal."
"it is certain that they are using drugs" When asked, "wasn't it an open secret that Al-Qaeda was the one on drugs for years since the Syrian war began?" The man's response: "Pills are forbidden by our Sharia." Seems likely that this Al-Qaeda mercenary was on drugs at the time he made these sub-standard comments.
Another AQ interviewee jumped in trying to be a bit more candid: "Their side also forbids pills. Even if they were your enemies do not underestimate them. I saw them with my two eyes."
Yet another Al-Qaeda sympathizer inside Syria from Lebanon trying to play the underdog:
"They (Hezbollah) are also more numerous and their weapons are more modern and more powerful. They have warplanes, tanks, Burkan rockets, and other types of rockets, which we know nothing about. They also have their uniforms and meals, which cost thousands of [US] dollars. On the other hand, al-Qaeda fighters need to borrow money and pay for their weapons and ammunition from their own pockets."
Excuse me? Al-Qaeda fighters need to borrow money and pay for their weapon from their pockets ?? Isn't this going a bit too far insulting the intelligence of readers?
But how can you expect an uneducated and opportunist terrorist network like al-Qaeda to have the slightest understanding of a well-organized welfare entity with a solid goal like Hezbollah?
Hezbollah surely is NOT receiving funds from U.S. nor E.U. nor the GCC states. It's using its own funds as a welfare organization which it has been for years, also paying stipends to its war widows, orphans and needy seniors. Hezbollah isn't only a Lebanese paramilitary force and an important political party within the Lebanese parliament. Hezbollah's social jihad as a non-profits organization plays just an important a role. Hezbollah has meticulously been providing social services (including healthcare), and its social-service provision has been increasing community support for Hezbollah. Its humanitarian work by volunteers and employees of Hezbollah’s nonprofit health and social-service organizations is a vital part of the act of resistance or jihad that is integral to Hezbollah’s struggle against Israel and all imperialist forces. Presently there are also several NGOs in Lebanon operated by Hezbollah, legally registered.
Hezbollah's visionary financial and welfare planning is also a personification of simplicity. It's social-welfare headquarters situated in a crowded dusty street with potholes, looks simple like any other building in Beirut’s southern suburb. Its entrance consists of a dark stairway with no signs or nameplates leading to the office. You would probably be unimpressed until this point if you're an admirer of flashy and plush exteriors. But when you step inside Hezbollah's welfare office, it's a typical modern workplace setting with dedicated employees attending to their clients' loan applications and other requests from behind a long stretch of sparkling glass windows. In summary, Hezbollah has a highly organized system of health and social-service system made up of the Social Unit, the Education Unit and the Islamic Health Unit which make up an elaborate network of service providers. Additionally, it also runs its own television network, Al-Manar.
The international community only speaks of Hezbollah's military action against Israeli offensives as this is the only facet of Hezbollah's activities which is covered by the mainstream media with tons of distortions in favor of Israel.
Not Al-Qaeda, but it is Hezbollah that is isolated by the international community, yet a disciplined fighting force. Its only allies are Syria and Iran .... the group recognized as the Resistance in the region. At present Syria is under attack and needs Hezbollah's help. Iran under Hasan Rouhani's presidency has been blatantly lukewarm toward the Resistance and is trying to keep a low profile of its relation with Hezbollah to appease the U.S. for lifting sanctions. In plain terms, Hezbollah is pretty much on its own. Its decision to join the Syrian war is a part of its pledge to the Resistance when Hassan Nasrallah announced that his Party "would bear the responsibilities and the sacrifices. This battle is ours, and I promise you victory!'' A few weeks later, Hezbollah fighters along with the Syrian Arab Army recaptured the strategic city of Al-Qusair in June 2013. Qusair had been a terrorist hub for months prior to that. It was a victory that turned the tables and has not allowed the invaders to get the upper hand in any battle within Syria until the present.
It's laughable to read AQ statements slandering Hezbollah as taking "drugs" while compelled to acknowledge its organized and fearless confrontation of Salafist "jihadists." It's also inherent of losers to give a spin to their own shortcomings and dump them on their rivals. If Al-Qaeda and its comrades in Syria were not generously and systematically assisted by the U.S., E.U. and GCC states, they wouldn't be able to last in Syria for six months, let alone three years. Al-Qaeda was not helped by the U.S. in Afghanistan so it lost. Muslim Brotherhood and AQ infiltrators aren't being helped by the West in Egypt so they have been unable to make any headway against the Egyptian government. Al-Qaeda was helped in Libya by NATO, so it won. It's being helped by proxy in Syria by U.S., E.U. and their Middle Eastern allies, so it's been able to acquire a nuisance value. Yet it's not winning because NATO, al-Qaeda's official air force, has not yet complied to its request to carpet bomb Syria.
Al-Qaeda is commonly known for its lack of battlefield acumen and frequent infighting rife within ambitious self-seekers. In addition to brutalities on civilians in the areas they control, they are often shown in images posing "fearlessly" before the camera holding Israeli or U.S. made automatic weapons. But they have never achieved victory on the battlefield unless NATO comes along to do the bombing for them. Their only chance to occupy Syria was when Obama was considering a military intervention in Syria in August 2013. But when the White House decided otherwise, Al-Qaeda was heartbroken because it's never been able to win any war until NATO pops in to play the most vital role.
o far 162,000 Syrians have been killed since 2011 including at least 35,000 army men, and millions displaced who are refugees in the neighboring countries or within Syria.
Al-Akhbar's conversation with AQ: