Since January, I have been ploughing a lonely furrow in this column by covering what is certainly one of the most under-reported stories in the world right now: Israeli involvement in the war in Syria.
Almost unnoticed by the mainstream media, Israel’s occupation forces in the Golan Heights have been in alliance with the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s official franchise in Syria. This alliance certainly includes logistical support and may even extend as far as arming al-Qaeda rebels in south-western Syria.
In January, I showed how the reports of UN peacekeepers in the Golan had talked of regular contacts between rebel forces in that Israeli-occupied sector of Syria. They also observed, according to a June report, Israeli soldiers “handing over two boxes to armed members of the opposition” from the Israeli-occupied side to the Syrian-controlled side.
According to further reports by UN peacekeepers, such interactions continued after Quneitra (a town containing a key checkpoint between the Israeli-occupied and Syrian-controlled sectors of the Golan) was overrun by the Nusra Front.
In March, I wrote on how an Israeli army spokesperson had now confirmed these reports. He clarified that this extended to logistical support in the form of medical aid to al-Qaeda rebels. “We don’t ask who they are, we don’t do any screening,” the unnamed Israeli military official told the Wall Street Journal. “Once the treatment is done, we take them back to the border [sic – ceasefire line] and they go on their way [in Syria],” he said.
But why has all this been pretty much ignored by the mainstream press? Last month, I tried to draw some of the strands together, and suggest how this Israeli-al-Qaeda alliance fits into the wider fight in Syria and the region, especially the latest al-Qaeda offensive in Syria.
We can say with confidence that the mainstream press in the West supports Israel, and so does not find it convenient to report on this scandalous Israeli-al-Qaeda alliance in Syria. But it’s crucial to understand that this is part of a wider pattern in which the West’s alliances with (to say the least) morally-dubious regional actors are ignored, downplayed or actively disguised by the media.
As I have argued previously, the US and the UK were in large part to blame for the rise of the forces that eventually became the “Islamic State”. They can be said to have created “Islamic State,” since the 2003 invasion of Iraq (and especially the very consciously sectarian policy of divide and rule that the occupation regime enforced there) created the swamp in which al-Qaeda in Iraq (which later became the “Islamic State in Iraq,” which in turn re-branded and became the “Islamic State of Iraq and Sham” when it expanded into Syria and is now know as just the “Islamic State”) was born.
But, reports the sterling investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed, a newly-declassified Pentagon report has now proven that Western intelligence agencies were aware, as far back as August 2012, that “Islamic State” could arise and furthermore they even wanted it to happen ..
-Read more: Why is the Media Ignoring Israel’s Alliance with al-Qaeda? – Asa Winstanley, Middle East Monitor