Sunday, October 25, 2020

After Bin Laden’s niece, Trump gets endorsement from Taliban

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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told CBS News [1] in a phone interview Sunday, “We hope he will win the election and wind up US military presence in Afghanistan.” The militant group also expressed concern about President Trump’s bout with the coronavirus. “When we heard about Trump being COVID-19 positive, we got worried for his health, but it seems he is getting better,” another Taliban senior leader confided to reporter Sami Yousafzai.

Although full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan was originally scheduled for April next year, according to terms of peace deal reached with the Taliban on February 29, President Trump hastened the withdrawal process by making an electoral pledge this week that all troops should be “home by Christmas”. “We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas,” he tweeted.

The Taliban also noted it thinks highly of President Trump’s “MAGA” creed. “It is the slogan of Trump from the start that they are not cops for the world and don’t want a single flag and anthem for the globe, but their priority is America first,” Taliban spokesman Mujahid said.

Read more: Osama bin Laden’s niece says she’s ‘all in’ for Trump 2020

Another senior member of the Taliban praised the president’s honesty. “Honestly, Trump was much more honest with us than we thought, we were stunned by his offer to meet Taliban at Camp David.” Last year, President Trump disclosed that he had invited the Taliban for peace talks at Camp David, but later he canceled the plans after the Taliban killed a US soldier.

Noor bin Ladin endorses Donald Trump

Similarly, Swiss-born Noor bin Laden, the niece of notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden, expressed support for President Donald Trump in an interview with The New York Post [1] on September 5.

The 33-year-old daughter of Osama bin Laden’s half-brother Yeslam bin Ladin and Swiss author Carmen Dufour, speaking in her first-ever media interview, claimed that Trump would prevent another 9/11 terror attack if elected to a second term.

“ISIS proliferated under the Obama/Biden administration, leading to them coming to Europe. Trump has shown he protects America and us by extension from foreign threats by obliterating terrorists at the root and before they get a chance to strike,” she told the conservative news outlet.

The US put a $5m bounty last year on the head al-Mawla, also known as Abdullah Qardash or Hajj Abdullah, and he is thought to be in hiding in Syria

“I have been a supporter of President Trump since he announced he was running in the early days in 2015. I have watched from afar and I admire this man’s resolve,” she said. “He must be reelected … It’s vital for the future of not only America, but western civilization as a whole.”

“You look at all the terrorist attacks that have happened in Europe over the past 19 years. They have completely shaken us to the core … extremist ideology has completely infiltrated our society,” Noor bin Ladin added.

As Noor bin Ladin perceptively noted, although ostensibly fighting a “war on terror” for the last couple of decades, Washington has clandestinely nurtured Islamic jihadists and used them as proxies in myriad conflict zones of the Middle East to achieve “strategic objectives.”

Tactical Interrogation Reports released by the Combating Terrorism Centre

Newly released US government documents allege [3] the Islamic State’s new leader Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla identified dozens of fellow militants as well as the structure of al-Qaeda in Iraq, after he was arrested in 2008 and detained at Camp Bucca.

Three Tactical Interrogation Reports (TIR) released by the Combating Terrorism Centre (CTC) allege that al-Mawla, who at the time was an al-Qaeda judge, gave the US occupation forces in Iraq the names of 68 al-Qaeda fighters that led to the deaths of several al-Qaeda members after the US military conducted raids to hunt them down.

Read more: Osama bin Laden used adult movie collection to send secret messages: report

One of the persons named by al-Mawla was Abu Jasim Abu Qaswarah, thought to be the second-in-command of al-Qaeda in Iraq at the time. He was killed by US forces eight months after Mawla identified him as a member of the group.

According to the documents, al-Mawla was arrested in 2008 by the US forces and interrogated at Camp Bucca, a facility in Umm Qasr, southern Iraq, where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was also incarcerated. Several officials have since referred to it as a “Jihadi university” because of the training provided there.

The CTC said that al-Mawla was released in 2009 and only came to prominence earlier this year when he became the leader of the Islamic State following the death of al-Baghdadi in October.

The US put a $5m bounty last year on the head al-Mawla, also known as Abdullah Qardash or Hajj Abdullah, and he is thought to be in hiding in Syria. Though the mainstream media reports claim he is hiding in eastern Syria, he might as well be hiding in northwest Idlib province like his predecessor.

Why would Washington risk flying troops at low altitudes in helicopters over hostile territory controlled by myriads of Syria’s heavily armed militant outfits?

It’s important to note in the news coverage of the killing of al-Baghdadi that although the mainstream media had been trumpeting for the last several years that the Islamic State’s fugitive chief had been hiding somewhere on the Iraq-Syria border in the east, he was found hiding in northwest Idlib province, under the control of Turkey’s militant proxies and al-Nusra Front, and was killed while trying to flee to Turkey in Barisha village five kilometers from the border.

Why was the media concealing significant information?

The reason why the mainstream media scrupulously avoided mentioning Idlib as al-Baghdadi’s most likely hideout in Syria was to cover up the collusion between the militant proxies of Turkey and the jihadists of al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

In fact, the corporate media takes the issue of Islamic jihadists “commingling” with Turkey-backed “moderate rebels” in Idlib so seriously – which could give the Syrian government the pretext to mount an offensive in northwest Syria – that the New York Times cooked up an exclusive report [4] on October 30, a couple of days after the Special Ops night raid, that the Islamic State paid money to al-Nusra Front for hosting al-Baghdadi in Idlib.

The morning after the night raid, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported [5] on October 27 that a squadron of eight helicopters accompanied by warplanes belonging to the international coalition had attacked positions of Hurras al-Din, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, in Idlib province where the Islamic State chief was believed to be hiding.

Despite detailing the operational minutiae of the Special Ops raid, the mainstream news coverage of the raid deliberately elided over the crucial piece of information that the compound in Barisha village five kilometers from Turkish border where al-Baghdadi was killed belonged to Hurras al-Din, an elusive terrorist outfit which had previously been targeted several times in the US airstrikes.

Read more: Pakistan’s Prime Minister thinks Osama bin Laden was martyred: huge debate sparked

Although Hurras al-Din is generally assumed to be an al-Qaeda affiliate, it is in fact the regrouping of the Islamic State jihadists under a different name in northwestern Idlib governorate after the latter terrorist organization was routed from Mosul and Anbar in Iraq and Raqqa and Deir al-Zor in Syria in 2017 and was hard pressed by the US-led coalition’s airstrikes in eastern Syria.

Washington’s side of the story

Notwithstanding, according to “official version” [6] of Washington’s story regarding the killing of al-Baghdadi, the choppers took off from an American airbase in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, flew hundreds of miles over the enemy territory in the airspace controlled by the Syrian and Russian air forces, killed the self-proclaimed “caliph” of the Islamic State in a Hollywood-style special-ops raid, and took the same route back to Erbil along with the dead body of the terrorist and his belongings.

Although Washington has conducted several airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib in the past, those were carried out by fixed-wing aircraft that fly at high altitudes, and the aircraft took off from American airbases in Turkey, which is just across the border from Syria’s northwestern Idlib province. Why would Washington risk flying troops at low altitudes in helicopters over hostile territory controlled by myriads of Syria’s heavily armed militant outfits?

In return, Trump got the most coveted feather in his cap as Turkey let US Special Forces kill fugitive leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on October 26

In fact, several Turkish journalists, including Rajip Soylu, the Turkey correspondent for the Middle East Eye, tweeted [7] on the night of the special-ops raid that the choppers took off from the American airbase in Turkey’s Incirlik.

Negotiations between Trump and Erdogan

As for al-Baghdadi, who was “hiding” with the blessing of Turkey, it is now obvious that he was the bargaining chip in the negotiations between Trump and Erdogan, and the quid for the US president agreeing to pull American troops out of northeast Syria was the pro quo that Erdogan would hand al-Baghdadi to him on a platter.

Erdogan has been acting with impunity lately in regional conflicts because he has forged a personal bonhomie with Donald Trump, as Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Erdogan’s son-in-law and incumbent finance minister of Turkey Berat Albayrak were business partners. So much so that the Trump administration had to comply with Erdogan’s longstanding demand to evacuate American forces from the Kurdish-held areas in northeast Syria in October last year.

Read more: How Raymond Davis helped track Osama Bin Laden down?

Immediately following the announcement of withdrawal of US forces from northeast Syria by the Trump administration on October 6 last year following a telephonic conversation between Trump and Erdogan, Turkey mounted Operation Peace Spring on October 9 in which the Turkish armed forces and their Syrian proxies invaded and occupied 120 kilometers wide and 32 kilometers deep stretch of Syrian territory between the northeastern towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn.

In return, Trump got the most coveted feather in his cap as Turkey let US Special Forces kill fugitive leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on October 26, weeks after the Turkish Operation Peace Spring in northeast Syria on October 9 last year.

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism, and petro-imperialism. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

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