White Helmets Show

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White Helmets Show

Illustrative image: White Helmets members

Written by Evgeny Satanovsky; Originally appeared at VPK, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

Reputational risks are passed onto Britain and France

Contradictory statements from the US leadership on the situation of “defeated” Islamists in Syria and Iraq compel experts to question the real state of ISIS, al Qaida and other not so well known groups. It is also interesting what the termination of US funding of the White Helmets means after the failure of the East Ghouta provocation with Damascus being accused of chemical weapons use.

With the return of Islamists on the battlefield of the SAR, the Kurds in Syria returned to the Euphrates valley. The situation in the de-escalation zones in the south of the country and in Idlib merits special attention, as well as the financial position of the Islamist groups. Y. Schelgovin of the Middle East Institute provided materials for this article.

Movements of the Kurds

Kurdish forces of the Forces of the Democratic Syria (FDS) began to return from the north-west of the SAR to the Euphrates valley for the continuation of the struggle against ISIS. Colonel Ryan Dillon of the US Army, spokesperson for the “Unwavering Determination” command centre, made the announcement, which is carried out in Iraq and Syria by the coalition headed by the United States. At the beginning of March the Pentagon admitted that ground operations against ISIS were stopped in February, since a part of Kurdish forces from the FDS were directed to the Euphrates valley to fight Turkish forces in the north-west, in Afrin.

The general staff of the Turkish forces announced on January 20 the beginning of the operation “Olive Branch” against Kurdish units of the “People’s Self-Defence Forces” (member of the FDS) and the “Democratic Union Party” in Afrin, where around 1.5 million Kurds and refugees from other parts of Syria lived. Ankara considers these organisations as terrorists. The Turkish troops entered Afrin on March 18 ousted Kurdish units from there, and on March 24 the General Staff announced the control over the entire area. Washington has repeatedly expressed “concern” about Turkey’s actions in Afrin, stressing that they divert attention from the fight against ISIS.

The Turks did not dare to continue squeezing the Kurds from northern Syria. They did not dig in Manbij, where American and French militaries were deployed, but in Tell Rifft. The latter refers to government forces and their allies, Russia and Iran. President Erdogan completed the military operation in Afrin with concessions to Moscow and Tehran in facilitating the evacuation of militants from East Ghouta. “Olive Branch” started on the background of the early parliamentary and presidential elections announcement. He decided to play the nationalists, having carried out in Afrin “a small victorious war”, but it began to stall.

Apart from Moscow, the Americans won this one. The outflow of Kurds to Manbij and before that to Afrin, created a power vacuum in the east of the Euphrates. The United States did not have time to form a Sunni power structure there, and the return of the Kurds to the area is due to the fact that they need to restrain the possible expansion of Damascus into the region, and not the fight against ISIS. Moreover it was noted in Washington that on the border with Iraq, the Iraqi Air Force and the pro-Iranian units “al Hashd al Shaabi” began to work. Fortunately, the Kurds also left the border areas, which was used by pro-Iranian groups from the Iraqi direction.

Iraq will continue to pursue ISIS militants and carry out air strikes against them in Syria, but is not going to interfere in its internal affairs. This was stated by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at a press conference in Baghdad. On April 19 the Air Force carried out a series of strikes on militants’ targets on the Syrian-Iraqi border on his orders. The operation was carried out in coordination with Damascus in turn, in coordination with Iran and Russia. The targets were terrorists in the vicinity of the Iraqi border, the city of Abu Kamal. The strengthening of cooperation on cleaning up the border areas of Syria and Iraq from ISIS supporters worries the United States. Hence, the intensification of efforts to return the Kurdish troops to the region. This may revive the Sunni-Kurdish confrontation, but in Syria, the Americans do not have an alternative to the Kurds as “boots on the ground”. This dictates the need for renewed efforts by Moscow and Tehran after the elections in Turkey to encourage Erdogan to move to the Manbij or other Kurdish-controlled areas in Northern Syria.

Reconciliation in idlib

Banned in Russia Jabhat al-Nusra and Syrian opposition armed groups reached an agreement on the ceasefire on the territory of the province of Idlib. As the television channel al Mayadeen reported, the truce was declared after the internecine strife, which lasted more than two months. According to the TV channel, during the clashes and attacks, there were about a thousand militants killed and about three thousand wounded. The military operations covered a number of areas in Aleppo and Hama provinces. The head of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammed al-Julani, agreed to the ceasefire, as his fighters suffered the greatest losses, more than 750 people. Jabhat al-Nusra’s opponents, united in the coalition Jabhat Tahrir Surya, provided military support to Turkey. The truce was violated several times through explosions in Idlib (320 kilometers from Damascus). Field commanders were lost in these diversions.

UN agencies helping civilians are alarmed by the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the province. This region borders with Turkey in the north-west of the SAR and has been in the hands of armed groups since 2014 and remains their main foothold. On April 25, the assistant to the UN Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller said at a meeting of the Security Council that since December 2017, almost 400 thousand people from other parts of Syria, who had come under the control of the government, has moved to Idlib along with the militants. In March-April, tens of thousands of migrants from East Ghouta and East Calamun joined them.

The current flare up of infighting characterises the intensification of the confrontation between pro-Turkish and pro-Saudi groups in Idlib. It takes place against the backdrop of the actions that the Saudis have been carrying out in the last two years to take over the entire segment of the resistance there. The split in the largest pro-Turkish group “Ahrar al-Sham” before the first round of talks in Astana testified to that. This was caused by personnel confusion among Turkish security forces after the attempted military coup and the weakening of funding from the Syrian opposition from their part. After the coup, the whole system of curators in Turkey’s security agencies, which specialised in this, was eliminated.

This topic has been on the central themes of discussions in recent months of the “troika”. The essence of the issue is Ankara’s desire to monopolise the right to control this region while preserving the dominance of pro-Turkish opposition groups and the de-escalation zone. Moscow and Tehran’s conditions are that the strongholds of Jabhat al-Nusra and affiliated groups must be neutralised. It is not only about the elimination of the not-capable-of-agreement-with militants of the jihadist character as well as the aligning of the Saudi factor in the Syrian conflict, both militarily and politically, taking into account Riyadh’s attempts to unite all the armed opposition under its command for full participation of the Geneva negotiating format.

Moscow and Tehran are trying to narrow the circle of really influential forces in the Syrian peace settlement, which makes this process viable. Ankara had to be pushed to solve the problem of pro-Saudi jihadists in Idlib, including military operations against pro-Turkish groups that formed an alliance with Jabhat al-Nusra. Interaction with the Turks in the evacuation of fighters from East Ghouta has become a point of reference. Ankara began to build up its combat potential in Idlib by evacuating over there forces loyal to them from East Ghouta. The Saudis do the same, who preferred to preserve the combat potential of Jabhat al-Nusra in East Ghouta, East Calamun, and now in Homs, agreeing to evacuate them to Idlib.

The main confrontation centre is concentrated there, and the current truce should be regarded as a respite for the sides to accumulate forces and means before the decisive confrontation. Moscow’s challenge is to stimulate this process in all possible ways and, if necessary, to help with purely military tools. In case of the establishment of Turkish dominance in Idlib, one should expect a burst from the Islamists of groups under their control to the north in the area of Kurdish activity, which hits the US efforts. In the meantime, it is necessary to achieve the elimination of pro-Saudi strongholds in Syria.

Careful Amman

The Jordanians carry out consultations with Damascus on the situation in the south of Syria since March. There were direct meetings between the head of Syrian intelligence services Ali Mamluk and his Jordanian counterpart Adnan al-Jundi in early April. At the time of events taking place in East Ghouta, at the end of which, Amman understood that the issue of the southern zone of de-escalation will be next. The transfer of the military centre of the government forces and their allies to the southern suburbs of Damascus and Homs, where, according to some data, General Suhail’s Tigers were transferred, pays attention to the final cleansing of the capital region and to the consultation results with the Jordanians.

Amman is concerned about the displacement of militants into Jordanian territory and the deterioration of relations with local tribes on both sides of the Syrian-Jordanian border. The Americans are concerned about saving their zone in Al-Tanf. The Jordanians in consultations with Russia received guarantees in coordination with Amman with the bilateral contracts about the Syrian government forces’ actions in the south of the country. As for the United States, they tried to push their issue to Russia through the Jordanians and it is unlikely that they will remain soothed. The Americans’ stay in Al-Tanf for Moscow is a matter of principle, and it is not ready to compromise.

Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the Rai al-Youm newspaper, writes that during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the Middle East, he urged King Adbullah II to bring a military contingent to the south of Syria, in the province of Deraa and Quneitra to counter Assad’s return to control of these territories. In his opinion, Amman is not interested in carrying out such an operation in order not to enter into confrontation with Damascus and Tehran. So far, the Jordanian government is silent about John Bolton’s initiative to create an Arab peacekeeping force in Syria. There is no great activity on this subject and other “invitations”.

At the same time, Amman is completely dependent for electric power generation on the KSA, which on the eve of the hot season removes all questions regarding the dissatisfaction with Riyadh’s position in one way or another. It is impossible to speak negatively about the willingness of the Jordanians to enter the military contingent in Syria. Such plans were worked out a year ago after receiving approval during Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh on May 21. At that time, there was a question about the participation of Jordanians in the arrangement aimed at creating security zones on the Syrian side of the border. They were especially important for Americans, as they should prevent the creation of a Shi’ite Crescent from Tehran to Beirut.

The army’s Chief of Staff, Mahmoud Frehat and Adnan al-Jundi drew up the Jordanian participation plan. It was supposed to strengthen the Jordanian forces on the border by two battalions of Special Forces, who together with operatives of the Kingdom’s General Intelligence Directorate were to train the resistance forces and later enter the Syrian border territories. It was about the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the “Omari” and “Revolutionary Commando Army” (RCA) brigades, with their subsequent transfer to the Syrian border. Some of these forces are now present in the de-escalation zone in the south. According to those plans, the Jordanians also intended to arm the Druze militia on both sides of the border, which was partially done.

The question of direct Jordanian military intervention in the south of Syria can be considered exhausted. This past year, Amman was convinced of the unreliability of the United States guarantees and it does not want to face alone the pro-Iranian militias and the Russian Air Force. The Americans are not ready to participate directly in such a plan. Now we are talking about dividing the pro-Jordanian and non-permanent resistance groups in the course of the upcoming operation by the government forces in southern Syria, and not about the preparation of the intervention. A plan of interaction with Amman is planned, following the example of Ankara, which will imply the voluntary evacuation of pro-Jordanian groups from the combat zones and the use of local truces.

The Economy of Banditry

The NGO “White Helmets” is an instrument of influence of intelligence services on the situation. According to CBS, the US State Department has stopped allocating funds to them. The “White Helmets” have repeatedly made statements that the SAR Air Force strikes civilians areas. The NGO disseminated reports of chemical weapons use in the Syrian city of Duma on April 7. Representatives of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties on April 9 conducted a survey of Duma, but found no trace of a chemical attack. It can, however, be assumed that the conclusions of the OPCW will be ambiguous for the Russian Federation. We are talking about exhuming the “victims”, which means that international experts know who and where to exhume. They got a lead on the target.

The OPCW experts’ trip to the event’s site was a predictable demand of the Russian Federation, and in this case the necessary preparations were made prudently. The alternate version of events has been prepared: “victims”, in which doses of homemade sarin have been introduced in advance, will “confirm” the accusations of Western countries. When the exhumation will take place it is planned to take samples for research, and not to conduct a medical examination of causes of death. This will make it possible to talk about their death from “chemical weapons”.

The termination of the US funding of the “While Helmets” is not caused by the abundance of fraud in their communications from Syria, which are directed by the Americans and the British to secure the propaganda of operations in Syria. In the near future, the same schemes will be played out in the south of the country. Samples of biomaterials of “victims” from there, collected in March-April by Jordanian “experts” and transferred to Amman, will coincide with the results of the examination of similar samples of the OPCW mission in East Ghouta.

As for the appropriations for the “White Helmets”, it is a change of their main sponsor. Their subsidy will be transferred to the British and the French, including the British MI6. That is, the financing of the “White Helmets” will go to the special services, not the State Department, which was risky for their reputation.

Dark Day of Al Qaida

It is impossible to give reliable figures to describe the economy of ISIS, but from 80 to 90 percent of the budget, this quasi-state collected from the control of hydrocarbon exports, taxes on the use of roads, water and irrigation systems. Looting of cultural and banking assets is a one-time factor.

ISIS spent up to 90 percent of its budget, according to the minimum estimates, about 700 to 800 million dollars annually during the heyday in 2014-2016 to maintain the combat potential and attract foreign fighters. The total budget of payments to the local Islamists in this case was 15 to 20 million per month. Now ordinary ISIS militants are paid about 100 to 150 dollars a month. Commanders receive slightly more. The total number of ISIS supporters in Syria and Iraq is estimated by experts at about 3000 active bayonets, which gives spending on the maintenance of these units of about half a million dollars a month.

If we roughly take other related monthly expenses and strongly inflate them, we will get, with a reserve, one million dollars. Most likely, these figures are less, because ISIS has no permanent sources of income in Iraq and Syria. It does not control oil fields, pipelines, logistics routes or irrigation facilities. They will not extort money from the Sunni tribes, on whose territory ISIS is deployed along the perimeter of the Syrian-Iraqi border to the East of the Euphrates and in the provinces of Anbar and Ninawa, so as to not risk losing the trust of the local population, without whom the physical existence of ISIS will not last more than a month or two. Rather, the Islamist command pays the sheikhs for their loyalty and food supplies. Talking about donations to fully preserve the combat potential of ISIS is pointless. This amount is so small that it is not worth mentioning. Fortunately, with the defeat of ISIS, donations have decreased.

The same applies to al Qaida. Its leadership refused to centrally fund the branches a decade ago, when Osama bin Laden was alive. This was due to a number of factors, the main being, the understanding in Riyadh that for such spending, the KSA budget will not allow. Private donations also began to decline, and the size of the theft of funds on the way from the Gulf to the branches reached one-third. As a consequence, the KSA’s General Intelligence Directorate (GID) was forced to focus its efforts on Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The financing of Chechnya, Bosnia, Yemen and the Maghred has stopped. This was evident in Chechnya, where al Qaida has ceased to receive volunteers and money since about 2006-2007.

After the failure in Iraq, where local Sunnis and Baathists pushed out Al Qaida, the focus shifted to Syria. There a different algorithm was used. The group Jabhat al-Nusra was created, which was staffed not by political commissars of al Qaida (where they distributed the money earlier and led the fighting in various points of application of these efforts), but staff officers of the GID and Special Forces of the KSA. There is no central assignation for al Qaida at this time. We have not heard of Pakistan’s (by location) leadership led by Ayman al-Zawahiri for a long time. Only branches working on essential areas for Riyadh are funded. These are Syria and Yemen. The GID are in charge of their operations. Al Qaida in the Maghreb as a centralised structure has not existed for about 10 years. There is a conglomerate of groups with an Islamist topping and distribution of roles in the criminal business, from drug smuggling to illegal migration. This is where their total budget exceeds one hundred million dollars.

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  • MADE MAKER

    TERRORISTS IN WHITE HELMETS

    • Not terrorists, only people who protect their own kind and their religion. It was first in Iraq and now in al-Sham (Syria).
      https://youtu.be/zIfcXuc5Xu4

      • Serious

        Abrahamic religions are terrorist religions. They spread by terrorism. Just check history.

      • ISlS the ones holding onto the sunnah – The true muslims. I’m glad they fight despite what anyone says or who fights them. They fear only Allah and not the crusaders Jet’s nor their advanced weapons. They continue to fight. They’re blessed with high amounts of iman. https://i.imgur.com/qQFmJLH.jpg

      • Merijn

        You should Fucking Die Daesh Cunt… you must be sitting safe & sound behind your Computer in Hell Aviv Bitch…because you were a Chickenshit Motherfucker… and didn’t want to meet your 72 Male Prostitutes yet

        • Are you fucking retarded or totally brainwashed by the rus propaganda? No matter if Israeli, Russian or Aamerican you are still occupants of muslim lands. Better watch this and take deep breath:
          https://archive.org/details/TheLightRevelations/TheLightRevelationsPt.20caliphate-RiseOfTheShieldHd.mov

          • Merijn

            You are a Wahhabi-Fuckface Crypto Jew Headchopper…. And yes I hope the Middle East Will belong to Muslims again. But not to you Headchopping Fucktard ISIS Motherfuckers… Paid Western KidKilling Mercenaries like your AngloZioNazi Masters… the Shia & The Sunni will come lookin’ for you…
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a374ab38f7091d4bb24387082ccaaab16e277e5b6ba330fbc0584a99068e1e3d.jpg
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4b6438c207592b5c858c7ceeb5d420975aca9cf93d5d5ba6ed749246ff674c21.jpg

          • Poor facial recognition. Its not Abu Dua but Free Syrian Army commander killed two months later in battle. More important is Abu Mosa who later deserted to join lSlS. But still you are comparing USA backed FSA rebels to lSlS build on anti-American movement since zarqawi. The Sunnis always fought hard while the shias are on the side of the invaders https://youtu.be/sThlwfrlUfI

          • Merijn

            You think that changing your avatar makes you a fucking bit More Reliable Fucking Crypto-Daesh-Motherfucker? You are nothing Bitch! The Shia & Sunni already are United! But a Dickhead like you Missed that part…. Takfiri Wahhabis are Fucked Bitch…. they Know you are Puppets of IsraHell…so better start runnin’ Cunt… They are Rounding up your Satanic Brothers in the Desert at the moment…

          • How are sunni and shia united? You are clearly smoking some good shit because you are out of reality in the same way as your bullshit propaganda. Shias are poison to destroy islam from within. You are talking about satan but you are satan worshippers nice joke. This isn’t islam this is just fucking retarded SHIA bullshit https://youtu.be/OmZdDz13m8c?t=1m58s

          • Merijn

            Hahahaha you will meet Satan Boy…. no worries…you will meet Satan…You’ll gonna love it..

          • Alonza Bevan

            you’re going to love it is more grammatically correct.

          • Merijn

            Thanks… yeah my grammar ain’t always correct….I Know, but I’m Dutch from origin & don’t use translate and all that…:)

          • Alonza Bevan

            only having some fun, I don’t think grammar matters that much when you meet satan.

          • potcracker2588

            say hi for me to your jewish masters….other people dream of a lottery win…i dream of killing u , infront of your jewish masters…….sunni only true moslems…….THATS 100% JEWISH SAYING….you jewish slave motherfucker…….DIVIDE AND CONQUER………ISIS israel intelligence service…..hope for u we never meet…..

          • Joe Dirt

            Merijn the most blocked person on Southtard

          • Merijn

            I don’t care…. I became a Hasbara-Hunter, they will miss the Cursin’ that way, which is better… in the meantime I kick Fucktards Like you in the Nuts…. isn’t that Bloody Great Boy? Gimme More of your Fucken Hasbaras, MossadBitch…you are all lower than Cockroaches….

          • Mike

            Say the Israeli spam bot retard.

      • flanker

        Your beard looks the perfect place for a massive bukkake outpouring

      • Mike

        Wahhabi shitstain.

      • Alonza Bevan

        protecting your way of life by invading other countries… sounds familiar

    • Marko

      They could be civil defense workers who just so happen to be terrorists in their spare time.

      I believe we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

      • Alonza Bevan

        as long as they only terrorise in their spare time, I guess that’s OK???????

        • Marko

          “…as long as they only terrorise in their spare time, I guess that’s OK??????? ”

          I know , that’s crazy , right ? So wildly crazy that it could only have been intended as sarcasm.

          Duh.

        • Mike

          Another Israeli bot coming to support their wahhabi monsters, wouldn’t expect any less from a scumbag like you. I guess that’s the only job is unemployment high Israel, ie forum troll kind of like velociraptor or joe dirt.

          • Alonza Bevan

            I say Mike, that’s a bit strong, I’m from the UK originally where we employ a form of humour called sarcasm. The idea is that you make a ridiculous statement to highlight someone elses ridiculous point of view like “the IDF had to shoot the unarmed protesters and journalists for self defense”. I guess it doesn’t work so well in print and unfortunately some people have rather disturbing justifications for war and violence these days.

          • v76

            I think the sarcasm when about 3km over your head…. let me guess, haven’t had any cones yet today!

  • Serious

    White Helmets show.
    Putin show.
    American show.
    ……

    Treason, murders, stupidity, lies, ….

    In this war are taking part the lowest human life on earth.

    • disqus_dmukTWgNMk

      you must mean Israeli’s

      • Serious

        I’m not disapointed by israel as I know exactly what they will do : terrorism, lies, ….. It’s even written in their book.

        I’m disappointed by the rest of the slaves in the world that follow them. Usually, the bad guys tell you that they are good. So called “moral army”, “religion of peace”, “human rights”, “freedom of speech”, ….. Take the opposite of these expressions and you can see that it matches perfectly the reality.

    • John Whitehot

      what about serious show?

      No, that would be a paradox.

  • Serious

    I hate thoses sunnis. They are so stupid. I can’t believe that such stupid people can exist.

    • disqus_dmukTWgNMk

      Look in your own backyard

  • Serious

    ISIS members fight ?? XD. ISIS members are SLAUGHTERED. Only a stupid religion like sunnism tell the followers to be slaughtered and to fight for NOTHING.

    Just imagine ISIS won. Then, what next ? The population under ISIS would have lived like fucking hell on earth : gangs, murders, weakness, ….

    And I down take into account that ISIS has been created by CIA because Sunnis are so stupid that they would have been unable to gain one city just like Saudis would have been unable to put the aricrafts in the World Trade center as they even engage Germans to drive their planes. XD.

  • JPH

    British government vowed in the commons to compensate the White Helmets for any shortfall in funding caused by the US halting funding.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBLSqpP11O8

    • Joey

      What a waste of money.

      • gustavo

        It is not a waste of money. White Helmet are in Syria doing the job that UK want…to miss inform the western people and to help terrorirsts.

        • JPH

          Indeed not a waste only but even a lot worse.

  • pjt

    That was best summary of current situation in Syria & identifying which Nations are sponsoring whom
    Thank-you

  • EL ZORRO

    After reading the whole article I arrive to the conclusion that that is another evidence of the implementation of the ZIONIST YINON PLAN, which detail the accurate plan for the division of the whole Middle East into small states and the dissolution of ALL THE EXISTING ARAB STATES AND PUT THEM UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE ZIONIST ISRAEL…READ THIS…In Marc 1948, a Joint Chiefs of Staff paper on “Force Requirements for Palestine”, predicted that the “Zionist strategy will seek to involve the [United States] in a continuously widening and deepening series of operations intended to secure maximum Jewish objectives. The JCS listed the objectives as (a) initial Jewish sovereignty over a portion of Palestine, (b) acceptance by the great powers of the right to unlimited immigration, (c) the extension of Jewish sovereignty over all of Palestine,(d) the expansion of “Eretz Israel” into Transjordan and into portions of Lebanon and Syria, and (e) the establishment of Jewish military and economy hegemony over the entire Middle East.

  • Stephan Williams

    I would really like to find a READABLE translation of this article!

    I admit it. I’ve been struggling through the incomprehensible syntax and outright gibberish that infects the script. I’m ashamed to admit it – I only know English and badly translated pigeon English is not the English I speak.

    Surely there’s a competent translator interested in this subject and honest enough, available and willing to share his talents with the insatiably curious part of the English-reading world?

    We need a new translation of this article.

    Does anyone know someone willing to do a respectful job?

    I’d be eternally grateful. ;-)