Editor’s note: The following report is excerpted and adapted from the current issue of Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence newsletter published by the founder of WND. Annual subscriptions are $99 and include a free copy of Farah’s latest book, “Taking America Back.” Monthly trial subscriptions are just $9.95 for credit card users, who get instant access to the site.
WASHINGTON – With suggestions the U.S. negotiate with Syria and Iran dominating the news, Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin reports Washington has already been talking quietly to a Syrian dissident group linked directly to the 9/11 hijackers and their sponsors in al-Qaida.
The group is the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, known for its association with al-Qaida and allied with former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
The Bush administration sought out the terrorists because of its desire for regime change in Damascus – apparently at almost any cost.
The National Security Council staff in August met twice at the White House with members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and former Syrian Vice President Abdul-Halim Khaddam, says the report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence newsletter published by the founder of WND.
Together, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and Khaddam are part of a larger opposition group, the National Salvation Front, comprised of a coalition of Syrian opposition figures in exile. The NSF is led by Khaddam. The head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni.
Now, the National Salvation Front is preparing to open a Washington office which some critics claim may be nothing more than an outlet for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to lobby Congress and the administration, reports G2 Bulletin. Some reports suggest that the National Salvation Front already has the tacit approval of the National Security Council, whose officials met with some of the organization’s members in August.
For years, Khaddam, now in exile in Paris, allegedly worked with then head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Ghazi Kanaan, to extort money from Lebanon.
Khaddam also was instrumental in extending the term of pro-Syrian Lebanese President Emile Lahoud beyond constitutional limits. The move emboldened Syrian influence over the internal affairs of Lebanon.
Khaddam then implicated President Bashar Assad in the February 2005 assassination of Rafiq Hariri, infuriating Damascus. In response, Khaddam’s vast assets in Syria were frozen. Damascus also asked Interpol to return Khaddam to Syria for trial, which it agreed to do.
Because the United States has been seeking regime change in Syria, it has refused to talk to the Assad government. The United States accuses Syria of trying to bring down the fragile Lebanese government and being a transit point for insurgents into Iraq.
The meeting of a member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and Khaddam with staff of the National Security Council is not the first encounter of U.S. officials with Syrian Muslim Brotherhood members.
For years, the Central Intelligence Agency was involved with elements of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood residing in Hamburg, Germany. Those individuals not only were Syrian Muslim Brotherhood members but were members of al-Qaida.
These Syrian Muslim Brotherhood members had escaped from Syria after the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad murdered some 20,000 of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood members by raiding the Syrian town of Hama in 1982. A number of them sought refuge in Hamburg, Germany, among other places.
As early as 1986, CIA began to develop ties with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Former CIA operative Bob Baer referred to such efforts in his book “Sleeping With the Devil.”
Both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein supported the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. For years, bin Laden gave financial assistance to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Saddam Hussein provided material support due to his Baathist opposition to the late Hafez al-Assad.
Bin Laden also has a close connection to Syria. His mother, Alia Ghanem, is from the Syrian coastal city of Latakia. She is said to be from the same Alawite group as al-Assad. She also is known to have ties to elements within the Syrian intelligence service.
Members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood adhere to Wahabbism from which bin Laden based his religious fanaticism.
Since 9-11, CIA had touted how Syria aided the United States in the war on terror. There is some debate, however, whether it was a Syrian setup to con the CIA into thinking it was sincere on the war on terror.
Prior to U.S. action in Iraq in March 2003, CIA jealously coveted its direct ties to the Syrian intelligence service. U.S. policymakers for years have gone out of their way not to interfere with that relationship.
After the ouster of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, however, that relationship began to sour following allegations that Syria harbored Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and fleeing Iraqi officials. It prompted former CIA Director George Tenet in October 2003 to pay a secret visit to Syria in an effort to mend fences.
The outreach of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is rather extensive throughout Western Europe. For example, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood members in Hamburg had ties to similar Brotherhood members in Madrid, Spain.
Spanish investigators linked al-Qaida leader Imad Eddit Barakat Yarkas in Madrid with fellow Syrian Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammad Haydar Zammar in Hamburg.
Along with Barakat, Spanish authorities arrested five other al-Qaida members of Syrian descent. Yarkas and Zammar knew the Egyptian, Mohamed Atta, reputed leader of the 9-11 hijackers.
Investigators report that Zammar not only had created the Hamburg al-Qaida cell but recruited Atta as well.