NATO arming, financing al-Qaeda death squads in Syria

June 23, 2012 | Interview with Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, author and historian

“…NATO is supporting, arming and financing al-Qaeda death squads. That’s not just a threat to Syria, that’s the whole region and to all of Europe, to everybody in the whole world as we’ve seen in the sad story of the Afghan war of the 1980s which led to the creation of the original al-Qaeda.”

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned that foreign interference in Syria and the flow of weapons to the country’s armed gangs will further escalate the months-long crisis in the Arab nation.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the Rio+20 Earth Summit in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, President Ahmadinejad stated that such measures will only increase bloodshed, hatred and hostilities in Syria.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.

While the West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of killing the protesters, Damascus blames ''outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups'' for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, an author and historian, to further discuss the issue. The following is a transcription of the interview.

Press TV: What is the possible driving force behind such a degree of cruelty in the socio-ethnic context of what’s actually happening in Syria?

Tarpley: What we’re given as a description here by the Associated Press which is, of course, the official US establishment view is that there are, in effect, death squads operating in this case in northern Syria, in the Idlib region.

The author seemed to indicate 20 death squads with numbers ranging from about 100 to fewer than a hundred to slightly more than a thousand; and their job, as they see it, is to go out and kill members of the Syrian military. They’re willing to do that using classic Syrian terrorist methods. They’re animated primarily of hatred, hatred of Assad and the Assad family, and then also by religious hatred of the Alawites and perhaps others.

I would say there are a couple of obvious problems with the story. In other words, this is not the whole truth. This is a limited hangout. The first thing is that we don’t hear anything about foreign fighters. We know that there are fighters from Libya, from Saudi Arabia, from Chechnya, from all over the Mediterranean, really all over large parts of the world. People have come there to be parts of this effort.

The other side of it, of course, is that this is not informal. This is very formal and we know that from reading the New York Times yesterday, the article by Eric Schmidt, where we find that it is CIA officers operating supposedly from Turkish territory, probably also going into Syria I would add, to distribute these weapons. We’re told the absurd story that the CIA is there to make sure that the weapons don’t get into the hands of al-Qaeda.

The Associated Press is not telling us how many members of this particular column, this “foco” I guess you’d could call it, of death squads under “Al-Shaikh” which is the subject of the article, how many of them are from al-Qaeda? We don’t find out.

This is a paramilitary effort organized with the help of somebody like US Ambassador Robert Ford in Syria. I think there is a deficit in truth, although for the US press this is a step forward.

The listeners of this network have known about the CIA officers especially in the Iskenderun area of Turkey for I think about two months.

Press TV: How do these observations not lead to major reactions from international rights groups that have taken particular interest in what’s happening in Syria, and have been quite vocal about their opinions?

Tarpley: The International Press Corp, of course, is so corrupt they refuse to see the violence of the death squads which is really the primary thing going on. It’s certainly the detonator of everything else. The aggressors are the death squads not the regime.

This was also my finding when I was in Syria last November. The other thing I would say that it is high time that countries of good will like Russia and some others call things by their names, and instead of simply being on the defensive when it comes to NATO accusing them of intervening, to throw that back with the obvious fact that NATO is supporting, arming and financing al-Qaeda death squads.

That’s not just a threat to Syria, that’s the whole region and to all of Europe, to everybody in the whole world as we’ve seen in the sad story of the Afghan war of the 1980s which led to the creation of the original al-Qaeda.

Press TV: How do you see this situation progressing and in what direction do events lead towards, considering this is setting a very dangerous precedent not just within Syria but as you’ve mentioned throughout the region and the world as a whole?

Tarpley: The group that we’re given to understand in this Associated Press report is about 1000 fighters. Now, 1000 fighters is about the number of killers that went into Houla and carried out the Houla massacre, burning out the hospital and massacring everybody as they came out of the hospital.

That was a false-flag event. That was a massacre that was portrayed by the corrupt media as being a war crime of the Assad regime. In fact it was not. It was primarily, 90 percent of it, the activity of these death squads. They tried to false-flag and they couldn’t get anything out of that.

What they added today was the attempt at a Gulf of Tonkin incident, that is to say the story of the Turkish-NATO fighter jet supposedly shot down, brought down or coming down either in the Mediterranean or on Syrian territory, two people on board, their status uncertain; Erdogan of Turkey saying he’s looking into it.

That could easily flip into an incident like the famous, fake, Gulf of Tonkin incident of 1964 that started the Vietnam War. The US government will tell you now in retrospect that the Gulf of Tonkin incident never occurred -- too bad if you died in Vietnam.

This time, though, it would be Turkey turning to NATO and saying ‘invoke Article 5, help us, we’re under attack by Syria.’ It’s absurd. It looks like, if anything, the Turkish plane is violating Syrian airspace; but that is obviously the great danger of escalation.

At that point, the ball would go back in the Russian court. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to let your only ally in the area be the target of NATO aggression of will you retaliate in some way? This remains to be seen.

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