Bellingcat

Monday, 2 December 2013

Senior Member Of The SMC Defects To ISIS And Details Foreign Involvement In the Oppostion

Earlier today I came across the following video, posted on the Eretz Zen YouTube channel, featuring Saddam al-Jamal, the former leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army's Eastern Front, who recently joined the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.  In this clip he details foreign involvement with the Syrian opposition


The above video is just part of a a much longer 30 minute long video recorded by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, which can be found here.  I've had the complete video translated, with some duplicate lines and statements removed for brevity's sake.

Revealing the biggest conspiracy to target our brethren in ISIS
Confessions of leaders and officers of Liwa Ahfad Al Rasoul
Grandsons of the prophet brigade
0:24 What about the support given by some western and Arab countries to the Staff Board, the military council and the Syrian Coalition?
0:32 Is this support free? Only to help Syrians get rid of tyrant Assad? What about the closed meetings in Ankara between highest leaders of the FSA and the Arabic and Western Intel?
0:51 What are their goals and plans?
0: 56 What’s the reason behind this fervent media campaign by the agent TV channels against the ISIS?
1:05 All these questions and others will be answered by Saddam al Jamal, the former revolutionary leader of the Eastern Front in the Staff Board, and leader of Liwa Allah Akbar of the Ahfad al Rasoul, which is one of the biggest brigades in eastern Syria.
1:28 After he discovered this plot against Islam and Muslims and the ISIS.
1:39 He surrendered to the ISIS and disclosed info of plans made by the infidel West and some treacherous Arab countries against theproject of Al Ummah, the Nation.

2:04 Part Two
2:06 In the name of God, most gracious, most merciful. My name is Sddam al Jamal, the former revolutionary leader of the Eastern Front in the Staff Board, and leader of Liwa Allah Akbar of the Ahfad al Rasoul. I declare my dissociation from the Staff Board and the Military Council and the Syrian Coalition, and my dissociation from the general leader of Grandsons of the Prophet Brigades, Major Maher Noaimi, and from Ragheb al-Tohma, leader of Ahfad al Rasoul in Deir Ezzor. And I declare my repentance, and I do not fear from Allah any blame. I address a call to my brethren in the FSA to dissociate themselves from the military councils, the Staff Board and the [Syrian] Coalition, which call them to fight our brethren the Islamists and to prevent the Sharia of Allah from being established in the land.
2:55 How were you offered to join the conglomerate of Ahfad al Rassoul?
3:07 When the Staff Board was formed, we met Maher [Noami] there, in Turkey. It was suggested to form the conglomerate of al Ahfad, and that it will receive support. You know, support given to the FSA was little, so we were looking for someone to supply us with arms and ammo. Based on this we, and Liwa al Umma- The Nation Brigade-and Qua’qua’ joined [the Ahfad].
3:30 What’s the goal behind forming this conglomerate?
3::34 Originally, the Ahfad was meant to be part of the FSA, without any agenda or [political] ambitions, and that it would be supported without any return, only to fight the Assad regime. However, we discovered later that this project has an agenda and long-term objectives. Obviously it is supported by Qatar.
4:06 Who are the intel that sponsored this project?
4: 10 It's Qatari. In general, all the intelligence services of the world were participating in the project of the FSA.
4:20 Can you name those intel services?
4: 20 Jordanian intel, Saudi intel, Emirati intel, and Qatari intel. And, obviously, Western intel services are also present.
4:33 Can you name the Western intel?
4: 35 Obviously, the US, Britain, France, those are the main intel services present in the meetings of the Staff [Board] and the Military Councils.
4:50 Is al Ahfad exclusively funded by Qatar?
4:51 At the beginning of the Syrian revolution, the file was handled by Qatar. After a while, they switched to Saudi Arabia, under the claim that Qatar no longer wants to support the Muslim Brotherhood since they are a failed project in Syria.So, the Saudi intelligence services took over the file during the last period of the Syrian revolution. Obviously, the main goal of this project is to fight the Islamists in the Sham and preventing establishing of Sharia, though they wouldn’t openly declare this. The project was prepared for a later period, till it materialize through supporting it with money and ammunition.
6:00 Did they offer you huge sums of money?
6:01 Sure, they fund the Staff Board, who then distribute money to the battalions and brigades.
6:07 Can you give an estimate of this money?
6:10 Recently, the Staff Board was offered a sum of 450,000 USD in the form of relief aid, as far as I know, it was paid by the USA. The money was later distributed to the battle fronts, to the leader of the military council and the leader of the revolutionary council. The money was split between these two councils.
6:47 Who has given you the shipment of arms and ammo lately?
6:50 A first lieutenant of the Staff Board, I remember his name was Haitham.
7:13 After receiving the last arms shipment, did you meet with them?
7:14 Yes, we held many meetings, especially after the latest disputes between Ahfad al Rassoul and ISIS. We were ignorant of the [project] as we didn’t know that we were infidels and apostates after we used to meet with the apostates of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and with the infidels of Western nations such as America and France in order to receive arms and ammo or cash.
7:47 What was the main discussion point in those meetings with the intelligence services?
7:46 The meetings were dominated by showing blind confidence in the FSA. The most frequent question by the intelligence services was: why are you growing this beard. I replied that this a sunnah of our prophet Muhammad. They wanted to know other reasons. Qatari and American intel were present in those meetings.
8:16 Did they ask those kind of questions during the meeting or after it?
8:20 They asked those questions in front of everyone in the meeting. They also ask why we shave the mustache.
8:35 Did they ask other questions?
8:38 They asked why we are fighting Bashar, what objectives we have. We answered that after the fall of Bashar, we will give up arms and return to normal life.
9:00 What were the main questions?
9:01 All of the above, besides asking whether there was any presence of the Islamists and the extremists or the terrorists. They wanted to know if there were foreign fighters in Deir Ezzor. We denied this presence, but it looks like they knew of it and they would tell us that they knew about foreign fighters, maybe they got this info through their spies.
9:42 What intelligence that used to focus on these questions?
9:45 American and Saudi, all of them ask the same questions, even the Jordanian.
9:53 Did they ask you separately?
10: 00 Somewhat, but they were not secret meetings.
10:10 Did they ask you openly to fight the Islamists?
10:13 Those countries, especially Saudi Arabia, give weapons and ammo to to a faction that controls a certain area, only to make sure that the Islamists don’t take it over. Their arch enemy is Islam and Sharia.
10:54 Does this mean that they declared their rejection of establishing Sharia?
10:58 Yes, then how do you explain supplying and funding the FSA while denying it to Al Nusra Front and ISIS? They do know that ISIS would establish Sharia.
11:17 Tell us about the last meeting.
11:18 The last meeting included all the FSA leaders in the east areas, Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, as well as the leaders of Aleppo front, They held meetings with each front separately, eastern and northern, on the first and second days. On the third they met with both fronts in a single meeting, which was sponsored by Prince Salman.
12:03 Whos is Prince Salman?
12:05 Prince Salman occupies the position of Saudi Deputy Defense Minister, and he is currently responsible for the Syrian file, I told you before that Qatar was responsible, but he took over the file from them. Of course, Prince Salman is known as the brother of Prince Bandar [bin Sultan] of the house of Saud. Those present include the Jordanian, Qatari, and Emirati intelligence services as well as Salim Idriss. There were no international intel services that were not present. Maher Noami, Muhannad Tallaa’ and Muhammad Abboud, Jabhat al Asala wa al Tanmiya was also present.
12:54 What did Prince Salman ask you?
12:57 He asked all the attendees in general to …………
13:03 Did he ask you openly to fight the Islamists?
13:05 On the first day he asked those who have plans to attack Assad positions to present their needs of arms, ammo and money. There was a plan to take full control of the eastern area, just to deny those areas to the Islamists. The suppliers did not openly say this, but they insisted that we capture almost all eastern Syria, including oil fields. They asked us to organize ourselves, select a leadership, set up training camps, and pay regular salaries. They asked that all FSA factions unify under the umbrella of the Revolutionary Council or the Military Council.
14:58 What did Salim Idriss say during this meeting?
15:00 He said that the Prince [Salman] had come to support us and supply us with ammo and money, and that he wants the various factions to unite under the umbrella of the Staff Board, and without any other names or labels, in which case all countries will support us.
15:37 What did Ragheb Tohme said during this meeting?
15:40 He was commander in the city [of Deir Ezzor] He also has close ties with Ahmed Jarba, chief of the Coalition prior to the forming of the Coalition, and he received support from Jarba. For me, I had never any contacts with the Coalition or its head Jarba. Prior to the dispute between ISIS and Al Ahfad, Yaser al Qate, Firas Kharaba, Iyad Kharaba, and Walid Shadad got a phone call from Ragheb Tohme to go and meet him in Turkey. They went and he paid 3-5 m SYP. Jarba had already gave 150,000 USD to Tohme, but I don’t know about what happened else during their meeting in Turkey. After they came back from Turkey, problems started to appear in Deir Ezzor.
17:05 Can you say that Jarba was behind the problems in Deir Ezzor?
17:07 I told you Jarba and Tohme have close ties, and Jarba is the favourite man in Syria by Saudi Arabia, Prince Salman and the international intel, he even lacks any [university] degrees and he was imposed on everyone without getting anyone’s approval.
17:32 What do you know about the Raqqa plan?
17:30 It was planned to deploy 500 fighters to liberate it from Salmiya to Raqqa.
17:45 Do this mean they planned to target ISIS in Deir Ezzor?
17:50 Sure, their original objective was to liberate AL Raqq [of ISIS] and continue along the line. Ragheb Tohme knew of this plan, and this is why he recalled them to Turkey and gave them money. When the problem started, Maher phoned and asked us to help [al Ahfad]. The relationship with them worsened after this, and later Maher asked why we did not help al Al Ahfad, I replied that I didn’t know the Ahfad in Raqqa. I said to him also that I was in Raqqa 5 days prior to the problem, and knew well the basis of the problem, namely, ISIS found alcohol in one of the al Ahfad’s vehicles.
The second reason of the problem was that Al Ahfad fighters stopped one of the ISIS’s members at a checkpoint, he was accompanied by a woman who was wearing niqab. Ahfad fighters asked that the woman remove the niqab. After we refused to help al Ahfad, I started receiving angry calls from ….. and he threatened that we will be dismissed by Al Ahfad’s leadership, I then replied that this does not matter to me, let them dismiss us, let them say I am with Qaeda.
The following day he phoned me and said that we didn’t support him and let him down, and he vowed to fight ISIS even alone. I replied that this is not of my business. He added that he will set up a training camp in Turkey and offered to give us support if we join him, and that he will train the fighters and form Special Forces. For me, if in the future some faction will fight ISIS, it will be the Special Forces.
21:25 Will there be a new shipment of arms in this period?
21:27 The countries said that the last shipment was only to boost the morale, but in the coming days a bigger shipment will arrive.
21:35 What kind of weapons they said they would send?
21:42 They always promised to send anti-aircraft missiles, but they sent none, all they sent was 14,5 mm anti-aircraft guns, shoulder fired OSA anti-armor and anti-personnel grenades.
22:09 Who will receive the next arms shipment?
22:15 As far as I know, the shipment would be sent by America and France and Western countries in general, but nobody will receive it. Those countries want to give the weapons to fighters that they call the right hands, ie, fighters who will be trained abroad. They will not give it to any faction inside Syria. They want to receive 25-50 fighters and train them abroad, without disclosing the location of the training camp, whether it was Turkey or Jordan. And when they ask for fighters for training, they at first ask for full information on them, starting from his birth date and so on. They have been asking for this info for the last 9 months.
23:06 Did they ask you this?
23:07 Yes, they did.
23:09 What did they ask exactly?
23:11 When we asked for anti-aircraft missles, and night-vision goggles, they refused to send them, saying that we give these weapons to select elite troops only, after we train them outside Syria. We will then hand them those weapons as well as night-vision snipers and modern anti-armor missiles.
23:50 Are there any FSA fighters who are being trained outside Syria?
23:52 Yes, the FSA, of course, especially from southern Syria. I know since I was in the Staff Board. In Ghouta, Damascus and Dara’a, many groups got trained in Jordan at the hands of the Jordanian intelligence services and Western ones. Everyone knows that when we say Jordan this means Israeli intelligence services. Israel is present in Jordan. All people know that. The media activist Abdu Abu Yazan was ordered by Maher Noami to appear on Al Arabiya TV channel and speak against ISIS, and say that ISIS attacked the FSA and Al Ahfad, which is contrary to the truth. Now he is on the ISIS’s wanted list. Everyone knows that ISIS found alcohol with the Ahfad in Raqq.
The Staff Board held a meeting, Feras Kharaba and Bashir Tohmeh were present, and they discussed the subject of the fight between ISIS and the FSA, especially in Deir Ezzor, Ragheb al Bashir stood up in the meeting. Jarba, head of the Coalition was present in the meeting. They wanted to know if there was a reliable faction that can fight ISIS in the eastern area, and it was suggested that this faction will receive all kinds of support. At this point, Ragheb stood up and said that he, along with Feras Kharaba, are ready to fight ISIS. Feras told them during the meeting that he had 300 fighters. He also told them that they would be able to face ISIS if they convinced Saddam to join them.
26:21 Do you mean that Ahfad started the dispute and problems in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor?
26:23 Yes, they did, In Deir Ezzor the same persons, namely, Feras Kharaba got orders from Ragheb al Tohme, aka Abu Bashir, to start the problem with ISIS. In the last meeting, which was attended by FSA leaders, and headed by Abu Furqan, who is a retired General in the Turkish Intelligence, he said that we have credible information that ISIS is related to Bashar Assad. At first, many people got convinced by this claim.
28:04 This is the devilish plan to target ISIS, through convincing the FSA that it is part of Assad regime and must be fought.
29:30 It’s an honor to come to ISIS and show repentance.
30: 55 Saddam, how did you think of ISIS before repenting and surrendering yourself?
31: The world and Military Council always told us that ISIS are terrorists and takfiris.
31:12 After surrendering yourself, what do you say about these claims?
31:14 After Allah granted me the honor of repentance, I found that all these claims are false and baseless. The treatment I received here is unbelievable, and they considered me more than a brother, and treated my according to the Sharia.

Released on November 23, 2013

Update December 5th Dan Layman of the Syrian Support Group contacted me with the following details
The supposed defection of the Saddam al-Jamal, commander of the Allahu Akbar brigade, to ISIS was not a wholly voluntary act. ISIS has been in constant combat with over 15 FSA units in northern Syria throughout the past few months in an effort to expand their zones of total control. The Ahfad Al-Rasoul brigade, of which the Allahu Akbar Brigade was an affiliate, is one of these units. Because of the existing tensions with Allahu Akbar's parent unit, ISIS stormed an Allahu Akbar command post post in Deir Ezzour, taking the brigade's weapons cache and killing several fighters, including the brother of Saddam Al-Jamal. Having lost his brigade, his weapons, and his brother, Mr. Al-Jamal pledged allegiance to ISIS to protect himself. Ideological factors were not at play.
You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

13 comments:

  1. Hey, this sounds like the U.S. armed forces:

    "...
    21:35 What kind of weapons they said they would send?
    21:42 They always promised to send anti-aircraft missiles, but they sent none, all they sent was 14,5 mm anti-aircraft guns, shoulder fired OSA anti-armor and anti-personnel grenades.
    ..."

    al Jamal probably had a *better* chance of getting anti-aircraft missiles from them than the average U.S. marine has if he requests one. The rest of the stuff they sent him is pretty standard former Yugoslavian arms dealer junk. Odd, since price is usually no object when the CIA is using my tax dollars to by war toys to kill someone.

    "...
    23:11 When we asked for anti-aircraft missiles, and night-vision goggles, they replied to send them, saying that we give these weapons to select elite troops only, after we train them outside Syria. We will then hand them those weapons as well as night-vision snipers and modern anti-armor missiles.
    ..."

    The U.S. army does the same thing. Average infantry dude gets boots and bullets. Night-vision goggles? Forget it - those were only for 'elite' troops a few years ago. Anti-aircraft missiles? I don't think so. Those went to Libya and then vanished. Sniper rifles and scopes? No chance. Those are for designated sniper teams, not bullet-stoppers.

    Not surprised at the Qatari, Saudi and Emirates so-called support: we'll send your leaders big sacks of money (that they won't necessarily share with you) and pay you some kind of monthly salary to die for us and our assassination scheme. You know, that kind of reminds me of...

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  2. Worth noting that British and French armies had decided against heavy machine guns for serious AA use by 1938.

    The RAF had done tests which concluded that the damage done to airframes by heavy machine gun bullets as opposed to ordinary machine gun bullets was not proportional to the extra power, weight and cost, and the French had observed that 13.2mm Hotchkiss bullets, when fired upwards, tended to come down again with a lot more force than expected as the bullet was heavy and streamlined.

    The French army went for 20mm cannon with self-destructing ammunition, essentially the same gun being adopted by the RAF for airborne use, while the British Army didn't really believe that anything less than 40mm HE would bring down a modern aircraft without numerous hits. By 1944, even the US Navy believed this.

    The 14.5mm Russian HMG is very much of the same era as the 13.2mm Hotchkiss and as an AA weapon suffers the same defects on a slightly larger scale. They do more harm on the way down on average than on the way up.

    May not matter in Afghanistan, but really does matter in Damascus.

    BTW:
    Hundreds of Stinger missiles, and thousands of MI16 rifles, were allegedly stolen from pre-loaded US transports ships anchored at Panama City Naval Base (in Florida, not actual Panama) sometime before 9/11. When the heightened alert on 9/11 meant that these weapons might be needed by US soldiers and Marines, or at the very least checked, the relevant inventory computers were all deliberately and immediately crashed.

    This is the damage which the autistic hacker, Gary McKinnon was alleged to have done, and it's interesting that this is the only hacking action attributed to him which he consistently denies. (He took pride in obtaining data, not destroying it.)

    Two possibilities:

    the weapons, including the stingers, were stolen over the years by right wing racist militias, who certainly have members and supporters in the US Military and in Florida's civil population. The computer crash covered their tracks and the FBI picked up on McKinnon because he was a sitting duck.

    or

    US Government agencies had given/sold the weapons over the years to what now turned out to be the wrong side, so the absence of the weapons needed to be covered up and a mentally-deficient scapegoat sought.

    It's really a question of which wrong hands you think got hold of the stingers on those ships, not whether they fell into the wrong hands or not.

    It is possible that supplies to Syrian rebels (or US Marines) that never actually arrive are another way of cleaning up US inventories of weapons they have already given away but couldn't account for. So someone pretends to supply them a second time, that creates an official reason for them not being on the inventory anymore: they're clear!

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  3. Excellent post, once again proving that the only independant factions are ISIS and JAN in the civil war. Seeing as the regime is preassured by Russia and Iran while the FSA are preassured by the "West".

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  4. is the video verified? anybody can sit in a room with a flag on the wall.

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    1. It's been verified as Saddam al-Jamal, and it's being shared widely in pro-ISIS circles.

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  5. Can someone help with relative sizes of the opposition forces today? Al-Jamal defected from the FSA's Eastern Front to ISIS. This would be one of a series of events around the collapsing FSA structure ever since the U.S. and the Tomahawks didn't show up.

    I saw this article describing a new opposition coalition called the Islamic Front (IF), made up of the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF), and the Kurdish Islamic Front (KIF).

    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/rebels-consolidating-strength-in-syria-the-islamic-front

    So the major opposition forces today are primarily:

    Whatever is left of the FSA (still 10's of thousands?) mostly secular rebels
    new Islamic Front (~50K) jihadi salafists?
    Al Nusra / ISIL / ISIS (#?) revolutionary salafists
    many local councils (#?) sunni insurgents

    That list seems incomplete. Who am I missing?

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    1. You didn't miss anybody. The kurds are already allied with Assad.
      "Whatever is left of the FSA (still 10's of thousands?) mostly secular rebels"
      But here the word 'secular' can be interpreted differently, i.e, most of them didn't take up arms to fight Assad but rather to make secular gains, to have influence in some areas, or you can say they are profiteering from war. Most ardent fighters are now with the Islamic Front, I say this through my observation of the conflict anf through my direct contacts with many rebel factions in Syria over the 30-month long conflict.

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    2. Thanks, Mark. Secular isn't the best qualifier here - I was just trying to distinguish their goals as *not* driven solely or primarily by religion. I imagine members of the FSA are largely Sunni, but the initial efforts were (my understanding) to get rid of Assad because of his heavy-handed repression and had little to do with establishing an Islamic state.

      The local councils are what's confusing me. Tens of thousands? Their allegiance to any/all of the above seem to change on a whim, and they seem to range from criminal street-gangs exploiting residents in some places to local militias dedicated to the safety of neighbors and stability of the neighborhoods in others.

      I thought the distinction between dedicated FSA forces and the local councils is critical. Local councils may be sympathetic, but are unlikely to leave their local sections of towns to formally join the FSA at large if I understand the situation correctly. The western press continually lumps them all together to vastly overstate the claimed FSA support.

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    3. The question of opposition force sizes was prompted by a distressing exchange between the U.S. Senate and the Pentagon when they were gearing up to blast Assad at the beginning of September. The Pentagon - right on the brink of war - said they didn't know. They have never provided a satisfactory answer (or at least nothing credible).

      http://blogs.defensenews.com/intercepts/2013/09/want-to-know-the-size-of-syrias-opposition-forces-ask-the-diplomat/

      I'm not finding anything consistent from any source. My figures above may be overstated. After looking around more, I'm inclined to say it's closer to:

      FSA & Local Councils - Syrians
      TOTAL: ~20K

      IF & revolutionary Salafist block - Predominantly foreign
      TOTAL: ~30-40K

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  6. The origin of the 'revolution' was political discomfiture of the Alawites, one can dress it up as one man one vote or whatever, but the focus was psychic revenge on Alawites.

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  7. In other words, nobody in Syria, was or is fighting for democracy, so the phenomena that is getting stronger, is any movement that can decisively deliver a revolution. Obviously that is not going to require western stooges in exile.

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    1. Makes sense given what seems to be happening. I really wouldn't care to live in any version of the Salafi's Islamic state, but I'm not a muslim and haven't had to live under Assad and the Alawite's boot in Syria the last few decades.

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  8. Al Jazeera reporting on Jamal's defection: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/12/syrian-fighter-defects-qaeda-linked-group-201312158517493207.html

    Smuggler turned FSA dictator turned jihadi extremist. Sounds like an opportunist psychopath looking for his next sack of treasure. Syrians are just his personal doormats. I can see why they started calling him mini-Bashar.

    Funny the US didn't shower this guy with millions. He sounds exactly like the kind of puppet replacement dictator the west would want in power after they facilitate Assad's execution.

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