A member of an anti-Damascus foreign-backed gang with weapons illicitly shipped supplied through a CIA-led network (file photo)
US spy agency CIA has played a major role in locating weapon sources and coordinating a huge surge of arms shipments to foreign-backed militants in Syria by governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan.
From “offices at secret locations,” American intelligence agents have aided the US-backed Arab kingdoms “shop for weapons,” including a major Saudi arms purchase from Croatia, and have even determined which terror gang or commander should receive the weapons as they arrive, The New York Times
reports Monday, citing American officials that spoke on condition of anonymity.
The scale of shipments was “very large,” with Turkish government exercising oversight over much of the operation, “affixing transponders to trucks ferrying the military goods through Turkey” to monitor shipments as reach Syria by land, the report adds, citing “officials familiar with the (weapons) pipeline and an arms-trafficking investigator who assembled data on the cargo planes involved.”
“A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment,” said an illicit arms transfers monitor, Hugh Griffiths, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, as quoted in the report.
“The intensity and frequency of these flights are suggestive of a well-planned and coordinated clandestine military logistics operation,” Griffiths added.
The shipment of weapons from Qatar and Saudi Arabia climbed drastically in late fall as Turkish government allowed the pace of arms airlifts for anti-Damascus terror gangs to accelerate.
Simultaneously, the report notes, Jordanian cargo aircraft, acting as front for the kingdom’s military, were flying in a major Saudi weapons purchase from Croatia to foreign-backed gangs operating in southern Syria, forming “a cataract of weaponry,” as described by a former US official briefed on the US-facilitated illicit arms transfers.
Qatar, using it Al Udeid Air Base, which serves as “a hub for American military logistics in the Middle East,” has been “an active arms supplier,” the daily underlines, citing US and other Western officials as well as commanders of anti-Damascus gangs in Syria, “so much so that the United States became concerned about some of the Islamist groups that Qatar has armed.”
The report further cites air traffic control data as showing that Jordanian cargo planes “made a combined 36 round-trip flights between Amman and Croatia from December through February” in addition to five flights between Amman and Turkey this January.
While regular Qatari arms airlifts continued, the Royal Saudi Air Force “began a busy schedule too,” the daily adds, “making at least 30 C-130 flights” into Turkey’s Esenboga air base from mid-February to early March of this year.
American officials, the report insists, “have confirmed that senior White House officials were regularly briefed on the [arms] shipments,” further saying that previous CIA Director David Petraeus “had been instrumental in helping to get this aviation network [of illicit arms shipments] moving and had prodded various countries to work together on it.”
Even as the Obama administration has publicly claimed that it only offers “nonlethal” aid to the gangs trying to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, “the involvement of the CIA in the arms shipments… has shown that the United States is more willing to help its Arab allies support the lethal side of the civil war,” the report emphasizes.
The daily also suggests efforts by the US and its Arab allies for “drawing Turkey and Jordan actively into the war” they have waged on Syria, hoping to “provoke” Iran into the conflict as well.
The development comes as recent press reports have cited Israeli military leaders as claiming with the Syrian military “falling apart,” the Zionist forces are in a position to “focus” their efforts on Lebanon.
This is while US media outlets have widely reported that in his surprise visit to Iraq, American Secretary of State has pressured the nation’s leaders to limit Iranian flights into Syria, while vowing “revitalized” ties with the country they occupied for over seven years, leaving behind what has been widely regarded as a trail of death, destruction, abuse and still ongoing political interference.
The Islamic Republic has expressed full support for the government of President Assad in Syria while urging peaceful resolution of the nation’s crisis among Syrians and without any foreign intervention.
Iran has further maintained that the current Syrian unrest has been incited and financed by the chief backer of the Israeli regime, the US, and largely corrupt Arab kingdoms in the Persian Gulf that have been kept in power with American military backing.