A video, which has been authenticated by Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma, the top academic Syrian expert in America and author of Syria Comment website, has not gotten wide recognition in the US. However, with this week’s document revelation that the Islamic State was a creation of the United States as a tool in proxy war against Syrian President Bashar Assad, it seems that it needs to be reintroduced to the American public.
The video, which was published to YouTube on the Ertiz Zen channel back in August 2014, documents former US Ambassador Robert Ford’s visitation of Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Col. Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi in the Northern part of Syria.
The video not only captures Okaidi and well-known Islamic State commander Emir Abu Jandal, but shows them celebrating a joint victory in August of 2013 against the Syrian Army at Menagh Airbase.
During the interview, Okaidi praises the Islamic State forces and refers to them as “brothers.” He also declares that ten percent of the FSA is made up of al-Nusra jihadists.
When asked about his relationship with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, Okaidi said, “It is good. My relationship with the brothers in ISIL is good.”
He also said that he communicated with his “brothers” on a daily basis to settle disputes and issues. However, he cautioned that the issues facing the Islamic State were being “overinflated by the media.”
“There’s a lot of spotlight being put on the issue of ISIL… that they are Takfiris, etc…,” he elaborated. He then went on to confirm to the journalist interviewing him that though there are Takfiris in embedded, Okaidi says that some may have the “wrong ideology” and that they have to sit down with them and their leaders, they don’t seem to have that same ideology.
And what ideology is that you may ask if you live in the West? A takfir is Islamic excommunication. It is where one Muslim declares another apostate or identifies one as a no-Muslim. The takfiri is thus the one that gives the label of Islamic excommunication.
According to a report, the accusations of Muslims being takfiri has become a sectarian slur, especially since the Syrian Civil War begin in 2011. At that time Shi’a Muslims like Hezbollah referred to the Sunnis as such.
However, what is telling about the ideology here is that when Islamists sit down and discuss these things, Okaidi says they are on the same page, and that page is the advancement of jihad across the globe and the Islamic caliphate. He does acknowledge that there are “some elements” within the FSA that have “wrong ideology.”
While he calls the relationship “good” and “brotherly,” he also says some of the behavior exhibited on the ground are “mistakes.” He said that ISIL would make mistakes just as the FSA had. “Whoever works makes mistakes.”
Part of those “mistakes” were wrong ideologies. Yet, he could not say whether these “wrong ideologies” were individual or whether it was what their leaders taught them. Perhaps Okaidi is having a game of taqiyya played on him!
It must be understood that just as the FSA was a creation of the US, so too was the Islamic State.
You will also see in a celebration video of the victory at Menagh Airbase, Jandal identifying members of the Islamic State as being part of that victory with Okaidi standing right beside him.
Later, Jandal would be heard saying, “Our Sheikh, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi… these are the monsters of the Islamic State. The Islamic State is here to stay, our Sheikh Abu Bakr. The Islamic State is here to stay.” Following close behind is his cameraman quoting the Quran.
Brad Hoff reported:
The summer of 2013 was a time when ISIS was still operating under the radar and thus not well known to the western public. The capture of Menagh was celebrated by the American political class. Looking back at mainstream reporting of the rebel operation, one finds admissions like the following in the Wall Street Journal:
“Foreigners fighting with an offshoot of al Qaeda in Iraq—called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS—led the capture of the Minigh air base north of Aleppo early Tuesday, according to local activists and some rebel commanders. The seizure offers Syria’s rebels a strategic victory after eight months of failed advances on the base.”
While much reporting at the time declared the Menagh campaign a victory for the FSA, it was ISIS that led the assault with the initial suicide bombings that aided rebel entry into the base.
EA Worldview, a Middle East analysis website operated by University of Birmingham (UK) professor Scott Lucas, also provided confirmation and analysis of the raw video footage in an article, “Which Insurgents Captured Menagh Airbase & Who Led Them?”, written just after the base takeover:
“However, the biggest clue as to their relationship with the Free Syrian Army may be in this video, posted on Monday immediately after Menagh fell. In it, the FSA head of the Aleppo Military Council, Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi, leads a press statement praising his fighters for taking the base. Standing next to him is ISIS Emir Abu Jandal, whom al-Oqaidi invites to give a statement.
The footage indicates that not only are there links between ISIS and FSA fighters on the ground, but that there was a high level of coordination and collaboration in the operation to besiege and take the airbase…”
Okaidi would later claim that the only questions surrounding those who are jihadists comes from the Jahat al-Nusra front. Again, he claims they are only about 10% of the FSA. He seems ignorant of their acts that could be identified as terrorism. He claims to have only seen from the group “good morals and brave and heroic fighting.” He even went so far as to claim that there was no abnormal behavior.
In the end, this all means exactly what we have been reporting and what newly released documents confirm and that is that the Obama administration has been funding and training, as well as arming jihadists in Syria and Libya, creating what we are seeing today as the Islamic State. And lest you think that if a Romney presidency had occurred things would be different, think again.
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