A newly released research paper from the West Point counterterrorism center cites U.S. weapons being sent to Syrian rebels that now may be in the hands of ISIS.
The West Point paper, released in the August edition of the academy’s CTC Sentinel magazine, is entitled, “ISIL’s Political-Military Power.”
ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is now known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
The West Point paper relates that field reports show ISIS utilized “recoilless rifles, shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons, and, less frequently, guided anti-tank missiles.”
A footnote in the report explains how ISIS likely obtained those weapons. It cites a March 8, 2014, posting entitled, “ISIS Deploys Croatian Weapons Against The Iraqi Army,” from the Brown Moses Blog.
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According to that blog post, Saudi Arabia in early 2013 “began smuggling weapons it had purchased from the Croatian government through Jordan to the south of Syria, to forces loyal to the Free Syrian Army.”
The blog noted videos surfaced on the Internet in March 2013 of some of those weapons being brandished by jihadist organizations, including the al-Qaida-linked Ahrar al-Sham.
Meanwhile, the West Point paper documented numerous Syrian rebel extremist groups have joined ISIS.
Many of those groups were reportedly aided by Arab countries to fight in Syria.
Asks the West Point paper: “What makes ISIL more appealing to foreign fighters than other jihadist groups? Is it because ISIL is more welcoming of foreign fighters, or is it because other groups prefer to rely on Syrian fighters rather than foreigners? It is also possible that a new wave of foreign fighters will be attracted to ISIL’s unbounded enthusiasm and seemingly unstoppable ‘victories.’”
Lost in the report is the alleged U.S. involvement in arming Syrian rebels now reportedly joining ISIS.
According to the New York Times, the CIA started helping Arab governments and Turkey in obtaining and shipping weapons to the rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Times reported on March 25, 2013, that this covert aid to the Syrian rebels started in early 2012.
The Times reported U.S. intelligence officers aided Arab governments obtaining weapons “including a large procurement from Croatia.”
The Times reported in its March 2013 article the weapons airlifts to Syria began on a small scale and continued intermittently through the fall of 2012, expanding into a steady and much heavier flow later that year.
The Times reported that from offices at “secret locations,” American intelligence officers “helped the Arab governments shop for weapons . . . and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.”
The CIA declined to comment to the Times on the shipments to Syria or its role in them.
The Times quoted a former American official as saying that David H. Petraeus, the CIA director until November 2012, had been instrumental in helping set up an aviation network to fly the weapons to Syria.
The paper said Petraeus “had prodded various countries to work together” on the plan.
Petraeus did not return multiple emails from the Times asking for comment.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.
It’s been described as bigger than Watergate or Iran-Contra, and the details of the Benghazi terror attack scandal all can be found inside “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know,” autographed by New York Times-bestselling author Aaron Klein.