By Barry Secrest
Terrorist members of the Islamic State (ISIS) on Sunday, launched two suicide bombing attacks against Syrian rebel fighters, coming just on the heels of Trump’s devastating Tomahawk cruise missile strike against a Syrian air base, for the alleged Syrian government gas attack on Idlib.
The terror attacks left 12 Syrian rebels dead and a significant number of rebels wounded, it was reported on Sunday.
The obvious question, based on the timing, is whether or not ISIS might be retaliating against the US for its cruise missile attack against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s air base.
In addition to the recent terrorist attacks against western-backed rebels in Syria, ISIS also launched twin suicide bombing attacks against Coptic Christian Churches in Egypt, leaving 47 dead and hundreds injured.
Interestingly enough, these twin attacks, also, appear to also come just on the heels of President Trump’s meeting with Egyptian President el-Sisi, which occurred only a few days before, at the White House.
In essence, we have twin ISIS attacks occurring in (2) different nations within the same span of time, which speaks to a relationship between the two attacks suggesting a connection, but is that connection what it appears to be suggesting?
While a host of conspiracy theories having been flying about on both sides of the political aisle, in recent days, the real evidence would seem to suggest that ISIS may be retaliating against the US for its attack on Syria, as difficult as that might be to comprehend, at least based on the prevailing narratives from oppositional politics.
When combined with the other possibly connected causation, regarding the string of ISIS attacks, it almost appears as if Syria may indeed have a relationship with ISIS that could blow the lid off of all previous narratives, and even completely justify Trump’s missile attack, as a whole new dimension opens up in the panoply of confusing Mideast entanglements.
While rarely reported, what intelligence information has confirmed is the fact that ISIS does indeed have a relationship with Bashar al Assad’s government, in that Syria actually pays ISIS for providing oil and gas to the nation of Syria as was reported in January of 2017 by both Fortune and the Wall Street Journal:
“Revenues from oil and gas sold to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are now the largest source of funds for the Islamic State (ISIS), as the militant group faces mounting military pressure in both Iraq and Syria. The Wall Street Journal reports that officials from the U.S. and Europe said the Assad regime, despite pronouncements that it is fighting the extremist group, is directly supporting ISIS through the purchase of energy, needed to power the Syrian capital Damascus and other parts of the country.
Amos Hochstein of the U.S. State Department told the Journal that the group’s “revenue and energy generation is being supported by the Syrian regime.” Syria’s state-owned energy company and oil ministry have previously denied purchasing gas and oil from ISIS and did not respond to the new allegations, the Journal reports.”
Therefore, If Syria has already-established financial ties with ISIS, an enemy that Trump has sworn to wipe out, then how deeply do these ties extend, and even worse, does the Russian government enjoy the full knowledge of these ties?
The fact that the Syrian government may have established a terrorist relationship with ISIS would, in effect, mean that Syrian president Assad is, for the better part, completely insane and therefore should be taken out as a terrorist sponsoring despot and wholesale slayer of his own citizens.
In other words, if Syria has an axis relationship with ISIS, then all former bets are off as to the question of whether or not America should militarily engage Syria.
In that same vein, another interesting bit of evidence might be the number and range of attacks by ISIS, that have occurred in Syria.
In most of the ISIS attacks in Syria, the victims appear to be members of groups that primarily oppose the Syrian government.
For example, in February 2017, ISIS attacked the predominantly Kurdish village of al-Bab, killing 51.
In July of 2016, ISIS attacked the Kurdish town of Qamishli killing 57.
In February of 2016, ISIS attacked A Shia shrine near Damascus killing 83.
Also in February of 2016, ISIS attacked the city of Homs, considered an opposition stronghold against the Syrian government, killing 57.
In December of 2015, ISIS attacked (3) restaurants attended by Kurds and Assyrian Christians killing 16.
In December of 2015, ISIS attacked a Kurdish hospital & market killing 60.
The interesting thing, in each of these cases, is the fact that the fight appears not to be directly against the Syrian government, rather, ISIS appears to be attacking those groups which oppose the Syrian government; so, has the Syrian government reached some form of detente with ISIS?
Whatever the true story might be, though it often seems to shift like the sands in a tidal zone, it might be time to re-examine the Syrian government’s relationship with ISIS and proceed on the basis of whatever conclusion has been reached.
The Rest of the story, from Reuters:
An attack at midnight on a heavily defended base near the al Tanf border crossing involved at least one explosive-laden vehicle that rammed an entrance to the base. At least two U.S.-backed rebels were killed and scores wounded, a rebel source said.
The militants also staged a suicide attack on a convoy of rebel fighters from the Western-backed Osoud al Sharqiya rebel group, who had sent reinforcements from their outpost near the Rukban refugee camp further southwest. Two of the fighters in the convoy were killed in the ambush.
ISIS “staged a suicide attack and there were clashes inside Tanf. Two were killed and several injured. They also attacked our convoy but it’s over and matters are under control,” said a senior rebel source from Osoud al Sharqiya who requested anonymity.
ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency said two suicide attacks were conducted by its fighters near Tanf on “positions of Syrian groups supported by America.” It gave no details.
U.S.-led coalition planes were involved in the operation to track down the militants who staged the hit-and-run attack and apparently fled, a rebel commander involved in the operation said.
Both Tanf and Rukban are near the joint Syria-Iraq-Jordan border. Osoud al Sharqiya, one of the main groups in that area fighting ISIS, is part of the Free Syrian Army of rebels financed and equipped by a Western coalition.
Jordan, a U.S. ally, backs the moderate rebel groups aligned with the so-called Southern Front supported by an Arab-Western coalition, who are trying to prevent opposition-held southern Syria from falling to ISIS.
The rebels took the border crossing of Tanf last year from the ultra-hardline militants and tried unsuccessfully to drive the militants out of the Syrian border town of Bukamal on the Euphrates, further north-east, a major supply conduit for Islamic State between its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.