NATO “Evil seeds” from Balkans: Fighting Syria war with Croatian weapons and Albanian terrorists !? (As reported by the Western media: The New York Times, RT, The Weekly Standards, EUobserver, DEBKAfile)
27.02.2013, SERBian FBReporter
Prepared by M. Novakovic (Source: various agencies, FBR archive)
Introductory (M. Novakovic)
Yesterday, one Serbian portal in Albanian language, from the Southern Serbian city of Bujanovac, reported another death of an Albanian Islamic „fighter“ who died fighting Syrian government forces. Muaz Ahmeti was 23 years old, and as many others young Albanians, in Kosovo & Serbia (nowadays), he was raised in „Islamic spirit“ and filled with hatred for Christianity….
Albanian press reported last year the death of another Kosovo Albanian Islamic „fighter“: Naman Demolli, who died apparently in a suicide mission, fighting legal Syrian regime. The titles in Albanian media covering this incident were: „The Jihad of Naman“, „The Suicide mission“, „Kosovo Volunteer killed fighting Assad“…
The key sentence from one of these Albanian articles, probably would provide you with the fact- that here is just another story about a seasoned KLA terrorist, who ended his life fighting another Western sponsored war in the Middle East: „Survived the bullets of the Serbian regime, but not those of the regime of Bashar Al Assad. Former KLA fighter, Naman Demolli, was injured in the mountains of Kosovo in 1999, but after 13 years he was killed in a battle in Syria. „
The Muslim Forum of Kosovo is associated through the fundamentalist European Muslim Network, led by the Islamist media celebrity Tariq Ramadan, with the Qatar-based hate preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. Ramiqi was involved in the 2010 anti-Israeli maritime raid at Gaza, and Turkish media reported the formation of Ramiqi’s new Islamist party, while recalling his Gaza participation.
Ramiqi’s organization has relations with Islamic clerical institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia that are aligned with Al-Qaradawi and Ramadan. But none of these countries has yet seen the emergence of an Islamist political party. The Party for Democratic Action or SDA in Bosnia-Herzegovina defends the civic interests of the partitioned country’s Muslim plurality, but with no extreme religious objectives.“
„Journalists Matej Šurc and Blaž Zgaga spent more than three years investigating and analysing more than 6000 pages of declassified official documents on the trade of arms in Slovenia during the Yugoslav Wars. They obtained the documents through the Slovene Freedom of Information Act. Journalists from six other countries cooperated in cross-border investigation. The research was co-financed by a Journalismfund.eu research grant.
The findings of the investigation are chronicled in the trilogy In the Name of the State, of which the last volume has now been completed. The first volume, published in June 2011, focused on the sale of arms and ammunition from the former Yugoslav People’s Army’s warehouses, which were seized during a ten-day military conflict in Slovenia in 1991. It was called ‘Odprodaja’ or Sell. The second volume, ‘Preprodaja’ or Resell, appeared in October 2011 and dealt with the purchase of arms abroad and subsequent resale to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the UN arms embargo.
The third and final volume, ‘Prikrivanje’ or Cover-up, describes how the arms smugglers managed to keep their activities largely concealed for the last twenty years. It starts by bringing to light the conflicts between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior after the Brnik scandal, in which 460 tons of arms, designated for resale in Bosnia and Herzegovina, arrived to Slovenia only to be stored at Brnik airport for months due to problems with the intended resale. Afterwards, the book examines the three parliamentary inquiries on the arms trades that were initiated over the years and the intrigues and obstacles that politicians put up to thwart them. The last of these parliamentary inquiries was triggered by the biggest arms deal in the history of Slovenia – a 278 million EUR purchase of the Finnish armoured vehicles Patria that was concluded in 2006. The Patria case is under investigation in Finland, Austria and Slovenia. Two dozens of suspects are on trial for bribery and industrial espionage, one of them being the former and current Prime Minister of Slovenia, former chairperson of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2008.“
Having in mind the above investigative report by „EUobserver„, it is easy to conclude how the Western powers (in 90ies) had set an „bad example“ for their Balkan’ „puppet states“ Croatia and Bosnia“- that are today „caught“ themselves, effectively breaching the international ban on Arms export to Syria…
NEXT: The original articles from reputable international media sources ( The New York Times, Russia Today & DEBKAfile) directly supporting the above statement:
Saudis Step Up Help for Rebels in Syria With Croatian Arms
By C. J. CHIVERS and ERIC SCHMITT
Published: February 25, 2013 THE NEW YORK TIMES
Saudi Arabia has financed a large purchase of infantry weapons from Croatia and quietly funneled them to anti-government fighters in Syria in a drive to break the bloody stalemate that has allowed President Bashar al-Assad to cling to power, according to American and Western officials familiar with the purchases.
In Syria, a recoilless gun from the former Yugoslavia.
The M79 Osa, an anti-tank weapon of Yugoslav origin, seized from Syria’s opposition.
The weapons began reaching rebels in December via shipments shuttled through Jordan, officials said, and have been a factor in the rebels’ small tactical gains this winter against the army and militias loyal to Mr. Assad.
The arms transfers appeared to signal a shift among several governments to a more activist approach to assisting Syria’s armed opposition, in part as an effort to counter shipments of weapons from Iran to Mr. Assad’s forces. The weapons’ distribution has been principally to armed groups viewed as nationalist and secular, and appears to have been intended to bypass the jihadist groups whose roles in the war have alarmed Western and regional powers.
For months regional and Western capitals have held back on arming the rebels, in part out of fear that the weapons would fall into the hands of terrorists. But officials said the decision to send in more weapons is aimed at another fear in the West about the role of jihadist groups in the opposition. Such groups have been seen as better equipped than many nationalist fighters and potentially more influential.
The action also signals the recognition among the rebels’ Arab and Western backers that the opposition’s success in pushing Mr. Assad’s military from much of Syria’s northern countryside by the middle of last year gave way to a slow, grinding campaign in which the opposition remains outgunned and the human costs continue to climb.
Washington’s role in the shipments, if any, is not clear. Officials in Europe and the United States, including those at the Central Intelligence Agency, cited the sensitivity of the shipments and declined to comment publicly.
But one senior American official described the shipments as “a maturing of the opposition’s logistical pipeline.” The official noted that the opposition remains fragmented and operationally incoherent, and added that the recent Saudi purchase was “not in and of itself a tipping point.”
“I remain convinced we are not near that tipping point,” the official said.
The official added that Iran, with its shipments to Syria’s government, still outstrips what Arab states have sent to the rebels.
The Iranian arms transfers have fueled worries among Sunni Arab states about losing a step to Tehran in what has become a regional contest for primacy in Syria between Sunni Arabs and the Iran-backed Assad government and Hezbollah of Lebanon.
Another American official said Iran has been making flights with weapons into Syria that are so routine that he referred to them as “a milk run.” Several of the flights were by an Iranian Air Force Boeing jet using the name Maharaj Airlines, he said.
While Persian Gulf Arab nations have been sending military equipment and other assistance to the rebels for more than a year, the difference in the recent shipments has been partly of scale. Officials said multiple planeloads of weapons have left Croatia since December, when many Yugoslav weapons, previously unseen in the Syrian civil war, began to appear in videos posted by rebels on YouTube.
Many of the weapons — which include a particular type of Yugoslav-made recoil-less gun, as well as assault rifles, grenade launchers, machine guns, mortars and shoulder-fired rockets for use against tanks and other armored vehicles — have been extensively documented by one blogger, Eliot Higgins, who writes under the name Brown Moses and has mapped the new weapons’ spread through the conflict.
He first noticed the Yugoslav weapons in early January in clashes in the Dara’a region near Jordan, but by February he was seeing them in videos posted by rebels fighting in the Hama, Idlib and Aleppo regions.
Officials familiar with the transfers said the arms were part of an undeclared surplus in Croatia remaining from the 1990s Balkan wars. One Western official said the shipments included “thousands of rifles and hundreds of machine guns” and an unknown quantity of ammunition.
Croatia’s Foreign Ministry and arms-export agency denied that such shipments had occurred. Saudi officials have declined requests for interviews about the shipments for two weeks. Jordanian officials also declined to comment.
Danijela Barisic, a spokeswoman for Croatia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that since the Arab Spring began, Croatia had not sold any weapons to either Saudi Arabia or the Syrian rebels. “We did not supply arms,” she said by telephone.
Igor Tabak, a Croatian military analyst, said that after a period when many countries in the former Yugoslavia sold weapons from the Balkan wars on black markets, Croatia, poised this year to join the European Union, now strictly adheres to international rules on arms transfers.
“I can’t imagine bigger quantities of weapons being moved without state sanctioning,” he said. “It is not impossible, but it is just very improbable.” He added that it was possible that such weapons could be moved by the intelligence services, though he offered no evidence that that was the case.
Syria’s rebels have acquired their arms through a variety of means, including smuggling from neighboring states, battlefield capture, purchases from corrupt Syrian officers and officials, sponsorship from Arab governments and businessmen, and local manufacture of crude rockets and bombs. But they have remained lightly equipped compared with the government’s conventional military, and have been prone to shortages.
An official in Washington said the possibility of the transfers from the Balkans was broached last summer, when a senior Croatian official visited Washington and suggested to American officials that Croatia had many weapons available should anyone be interested in moving them to Syria’s rebels.
At the time, the rebels were advancing slowly in parts of the country, but were struggling to maintain momentum amid weapons and ammunition shortages.
Washington was not interested then, the official said, though at the same time, there were already signs of limited Arab and other foreign military assistance.
Both Ukrainian-made rifle cartridges that had been purchased by Saudi Arabia and Swiss-made hand grenades that had been provided to the United Arab Emirates were found by journalists to be in rebel possession.
And Belgian-made rifles of a type not known to have been purchased by Syria’s military have been repeatedly seen in rebel hands, suggesting that one of Belgium’s previous rifle customers had transferred the popular weapons to the rebels.
But several officials said there had not been such a visible influx of new weapons as there has been in recent weeks.
By December, as refugees were streaming over Syria’s borders into Turkey and Jordan amid mounting signs of a wintertime humanitarian crisis, the Croatian-held weapons were back in play, an official familiar with the transfers said.
One Western official familiar with the transfers said that participants are hesitant to discuss the transfers because Saudi Arabia, which the official said has financed the purchases, has insisted on secrecy.
Jutarnji list, a Croatian daily newspaper, reported Saturday that in recent months there had been an unusually high number of sightings of Jordanian cargo planes at Pleso Airport in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital.
The newspaper said the United States, Croatia’s main political and military ally, was possibly the intermediary, and mentioned four sightings at Pleso Airport of Ilyushin 76 aircraft owned by Jordan International Air Cargo. It said such aircraft had been seen on Dec. 14 and 23, Jan. 6 and Feb. 18. Ivica Nekic, director of the agency in charge of arms exports in Croatia, dismissed the Croatian report as speculation.
C. J. Chivers reported from New York, and Eric Schmitt from Washington. Robert F. Worth contributed reporting from Washington, and Dan Bilefsky from Paris.
Weapons From the Former Yugoslavia Spread Through Syria’s WarBy ELIOT HIGGINS, THE NEW YORK TIMES
The use of social media by opposition groups and activists in Syria has allowed those of us who follow these sources carefully to pursue a different form of insight into conflict reporting than had been possible before the time when opposition fighters reflexively videotaped their operations and posted them online. With hundreds of videos showing the activities of fighting groups now posted on YouTube each day, external analysts have been allowed to build a picture of events in Syria that in past wars have gone unrecorded. These videos, often shared via Twitter and Facebook, allowed analysts and arms spotters in 2012 to track almost in real time the escalation in the conflict on both sides, including the use of cluster bombs and incendiary bombs, as well as potential war crimes committed by the government and the opposition alike.
YouTube has also been instrumental in allowing analysts to follow certain arming trends, including the arrival of shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles to rebel possession last year and the influx in 2013 of weapons previously unseen in the conflict. This in turn provides an opportunity for traditional investigation. In short, during the past several weeks scores of videos have been uploaded to YouTube that provide evidence of a seemingly distinct flow of new weapons to the country, which The New York Times has now identified as a Saudi-financed flow of arms from Croatia.
I first noticed arms heretofore unseen in Syria when two videos taken from Syrian state television were uploaded to channels sympathetic with the government of President Bashar al-Assad, showing weapons seized from the Syrian opposition. The first video showed large quantities of weapons reportedly seized by government forces in Dara’a in southwest Syria, just north of the border with Jordan. It claimed to show Israeli-made weapons, four antiaircraft weapons and an antiaircraft cannon.
The second video shows a smaller collection of weapons taken from a group of opposition fighters killed by the Syrian military in near Sad al Roum, Suwayda, near Dara’a.
It is not unusual for Syrian state television to show collections of weapons taken from opposition fighters, but what is unusual are the weapons captured. In the first video we see four different weapons, and ammunition for those weapons. First, we have the M79 Osa.
The M79 Osa is an antitank weapon originating from the former Yugoslavia. Rather unusually the rockets come in separate pods that are attached to the rear of the rocket launcher. Dozens were present in the first video, and two in the second. Markings visible on rocket pods in both videos indicate that they were manufactured between 1990 and 1991.
We then have the M60 recoil-less gun, seen on the far left of the picture, below left, alongside dozens of M79 Osa rocket pods. Again, the M60 is a weapon originating in the former Yugoslavia and has continued to be used in Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia since Yugoslavia’s breakup.
Also pictured, at right, are a large number of RPG-22s. RPG-22s are one-shot disposable antitank weapons, originating in the Soviet Union and used by a number of countries, including Croatia.
Finally, there’s the RBG-6 grenade launcher.
The RBG-6 is a reproduction of the South African Milkor MGL Mk-1 40-millimeter semiautomatic grenade launcher, made in Croatia.
What is interesting about these weapons is none of them are used by the Syrian military, and, apart from small numbers of RPG-22s, none had been used before by the Syrian opposition. While Syrian state television could never be considered a reliable source of information, it seemed extremely unlikely that weapons had been shipped in from the former Yugoslavia for propaganda purposes, especially in the huge quantities shown in the first video, when ample weapons are available inside Syria for such purposes.
Both videos purposed to show weapons captured by government forces in the Dara’a-Suwayda region. So I went back and examined the videos uploaded to YouTube by armed opposition groups in that region. All four of the weapons not only appear in a large number of videos from that region, but also appeared to play a significant role in one particular opposition offensive.
At the start of January, a number of opposition groups operating in the Dara’a region joined together and attacked Syrian government forces in the town of Busr al Harir, nearly 16 miles northwest of the city of Dara’a. These combined forces, including the well-established Omari Brigade and other smaller groups, were all armed with the weapons pictured above. Opposition groups in this area, it seemed, appeared to have received a sizable quantity of weapons from sources outside Syria. In January, more than 60 videos were posted from groups fighting in this location showing the four different weapons, as well as videos showing multiple destroyed armored vehicles and heavy fighting.
As I looked further, I found that this was not the only place where these new weapons had appeared. In the second half of January, videos began appearing showing the Ababil Horan Brigade, which had been operating in and around Damascus for several months, using the M60 recoil-less gun to attack Syrian forces inside Aqraba, in the southeast suburbs of Damascus. This was followed in February with videos of fighting in the southern Damascus suburb of Al Qadam showing the Ababil Horan Brigade with the RBG-6 grenade launcher and M79 Osa rocket launcher.
On Feb. 8, another group fighting in Damascus, the Abdullah bin Masood Brigade, posted this video showing them fighting in the Yarmouk Camp area of Damascus, in which they state they had joined the Ababil Horan Brigade, and seems to demonstrate the growing power and influence these new weapons give to the groups that control them. Other groups in Damascus have now been seen with these weapons, including the Daraya Martyrs Brigade using a RBG-6 grenade launcher.
All across the region between Dara’a and Damascus, there were an increasing number of videos showing these weapons’ being used by a number of armed opposition groups. This video from Feb. 12 shows an M60 recoil-less gun operator being killed near Deir al Bakht, between Damascus and Dara’a, and this video shows a M60 recoil-less gun being used on the same day near El Sahoah, east of Dara’a. These videos document how widespread the use of Yugoslav weapons had become. A video posted on Feb. 13 shows a classroom of fighters, described as being from the Free Syrian Army, being taught how to use these new weapons by instructors from the Farouq Brigade, in a seminar organized by the Free Syrian Army’s Dara’a-based Dawn of Islam Brigade. The new weapons, it seemed, are being incorporated into the opposition’s training.
By the time the weapons had spread beyond the fighting for Daraa and Damascus. Videos from the Hama, Idlib and Aleppo regions have shown these weapons in use from late January onward. Two of the most interesting videos from Aleppo show a M79 Osa rocket launcher in the hands of Col. Abdul-Jabber Mohammed Aqidi, reportedly the former commander of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo Province. Colonel Aqidi is now part of the recently formed Supreme Military Council, acting as one of six representatives for the Northern Front, and, maybe more telling, one of two members of the armament committee for the Northern Front, with these videos being one of a series from his recent visit to opposition forces in Aleppo.
While videos of these weapons being used in the Aleppo region are still quite rare, their use in Hama and Idlib appear to have coincided with a number of major clashes in those regions. In this video from the recent clashes in Kernaz, Hama, we see a number of rocket launchers, including the RPG-22 and M79 Osa. In the major battle at Wadi Dief military base, just southwest of Maart al-Numan, Idlib (not far from the Hama provincial border), involving a large number of opposition fighters from various opposition groups, including Jihadists and the Free Syrian Army, photographs and videos from the area have shown the opposition using RPG-22s, M79 Osas, and at least one M60 recoil-less gun.
There’s a number of interesting things about these weapons. First, it appears these weapons are only going to moderate groups with links to the Free Syrian Army, and not to Jihadist and Salafist groups such as Al Nusra Front, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization. Second, the presence of the newly arrived Yugoslav weapons across the entire length of the country to the north suggests the possibility of two supply lines providing these weapons – one from Jordan and another perhaps from Turkey. Finally, these weapons offer a degree of control to those supplying them. The M79 Osa and M60 recoil-less gun both fire projectiles not common in the region, and the RPG-22 is a one-shot disposable weapon. This means that if the supplier cuts off ammunition supply the weapons become less menacing — an ideal circumstance for anyone who hopes to make limit their spread beyond Syria’s current war.
Eliot Higgins is the creator of the Brown Moses Blog, where he examines the arms and munitions used in the Syrian conflict. Follow him on Twitter: @Brown_Moses
Syrian opposition studies terror tactics in Kosovo
A delegation of Syrian rebels has made a deal with Pristina authorities to exchange experience of partisan warfare. Syrian opposition is sending militants to Kosovo for adopting tactics and being trained to oust President Bashar Assad’s regime.
On April 26, a delegation of Syrian opposition members made a stop in Pristina on their way from the US to hold talks on how to make use of the experience of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in Syria, reports Associated Press.
So far, a poorly-organized Syrian opposition has proven unable to self-organize and form a steady front against the forces of President Assad. Terror tactics used by militants allow them to kill military and governmental officials, but do not help to hold positions against a regular army.
“We come here to learn. Kosovo has walked this path and has an experience that would be very useful for us,” says the head of the Syrian delegation Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian-born human rights activist and dissident. “In particular, we’d like to know how scattered armed groups were finally organized into KLA.”
Syrian opposition leaders have promised to immediately recognize Kosovo once they seize power in the country.
“We’re in vital need of joint actions as a coalition opposition,” stressed Ammar Abdulhamid, a long-time opponent of the Syria’s President Bashar Assad. In 2005, he left Syria to settle in the US.
The training camp on the Albanian-Kosovo border that has welcomed Syrian attendees was originally organized by the US to help the KLA train its fighters.
The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years until, in 1998, it was taken off the list of terrorists with no explanation given. The KLA used to have up to 10 per cent of underage fighters in its ranks.
There were numerous reports of the KLA having contacts with Al-Qaeda, getting arms from that terrorist organization, getting its militants trained in Al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan and even having members of Al-Qaeda in its ranks fighting against Serbs.
In 1998-1999 Kosovo separatists started an armed conflict with Belgrade to split the Kosovo region from Serbia. The war in the region was marked with mass atrocities and executions of the civilian population. Most of the Serbs that used to live in Kosovo became refugees.
In 2008, 10 years after the beginning of armed conflict with Serbia, Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Belgrade. Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by leading Western countries, most members of NATO and countries associated with the bloc.
The same horrors that were witnessed during the war in Kosovo are now apparently being prepared for the multi-confessional Syrian population by Islamist Syrian Liberation Army trained in Muslim Kosovo in the middle of Europe.
The Syrian Liberation Army group that actually formed the delegation to Kosovo has been fighting with the Syrian government for over a year now. This stand-off has claimed well over 9,000 lives, about half of them Syrian servicemen, law enforcers and officials.
Lately, the militants have been squeezed out of the Syrian cities and their positions along the Syrian-Turkish border. Being unable to turn the tide independently, the Syrian Liberation Army has been addressing to its foreign sponsors to start a military intervention into Syria to topple President Bashar Assad.
However, Global Research Dot CA Contributor Benjamin Schett told RT the Syrian rebels would not learn much in terms of military tactics from the KLA.
“The so-called Kosovo Liberation Army – this terrorist group – had in fact already been defeated by the Serbian army in 1998.”
Schett says that once Serbia agreed on a ceasefire, pulled back troops, and let in OSCE observers, the KLA used this situation to intensify their attacks so as to provoke a military reaction.
He continued that by presenting themselves as freedom fighters and victims to the Western media, the KLA secured a Western intervention in March 1999 after they staged a fake massacre in Račak.
Schett believes the Syrian rebels would go to Kosovo for knowledge in public relations techniques. He says despite their lack of military prowess, they were adept at making the Western public believe they were fighting for a justified cause amid reports they had committed a slew of war crimes and human rights abuses.
Marauder and ethnic-cleansing tactics
Wiping out local minorities after an extensive NATO air-strike were the only combat tactics the KLA had mastered and the only thing the Syrian opposition can really learn from them, foreign affairs editor for the US-based Chronicles magazine, Srdja Trifcovich, told RT.
RT: Just what might the Syrian opposition learn at these camps?
Srdja Trifcovich: Well, first of all I don’t think they can learn much from the KLA veterans in terms of combat efficiency because the KLA was singularly unsuccessful in its rebellion against the Serbian security forces until the NATO bombing. They started their terrorist ambushes in 1997. They intensified their activities in 1998. But all along it was atrocity management that they wanted, for instance, the famous case of Racak where the combat victims were presented as innocent civilian dead slaughtered by the Serbs.
But even during the bombing the Serbian forces maintained full control of all of the key population centers and they even kept the roads open. It’s only that the KLA came in after the Serbs started withdrawing under the terms of the ceasefire with NATO. And even then they were not engaging in combat, they were acting as marauders ethnically cleansing non-Albanians. So the first point is that there is nothing to learn in terms of combat efficiency and in terms of actually organizing a successful guerilla force.
RT: Words that have been associated with the KLA – assassination, terror, bombings – is that really the kind of thing that the Syrian opposition wants to be associated with?
ST: It seems that they don’t care, because I understand that Ammar Abdulhamid, one of the Syrian opposition leaders who came to Pristina and actually spoke to an AP reporter, said “We are here to learn.” Now this should be a huge wake-up call for those Syrians who are not supportive of the opposition, especially the minorities: the Alawites, the Christians – either Orthodox or Greek Catholic – the Shiites, the Kurds. The moderate Sunni Muslims should remember that if the Syrian rebels learn from the KLA, that means there will be a bloodbath after the fall of Assad and there will be no room for anyone but the majority group which subscribes to its extremist credo, whether it is that of greater Albania in Kosovo or the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot in Syria.
Syrian Islamists meet Hezbollah head-on – take in arms from Bosnia, Kosovo
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 18, 2013, 12:52 PM (GMT+02:00)
Reports Monday, Feb. 18, that Hezbollah has transferred 1,000 fighters to the Syrian district of Homs are a red herring to distract attention from six new major developments in the Syrian civil conflict – revealed here by debkafile’s military and intelligence sources:
1. Contrary to reports of Hezbollah attacks on villages in the Homs region, the thousand Hezbollah militiamen have moved in to defend the predominantly Shiite villages of the area whose population is loyal to Bashar Assad. They are there to relieve the Syrian army of the burden of defending these Shiites against rebel attack.
Hezbollah has also undertaken to guard Shiite holy shrines in Syria.
2. The Muslim factions of the Syrian revolt have received their first heavy weapons consignments, mostly Kornet and Fagot anti-tank missiles. Their improved armaments account for the new edge they display in battles with Bashar Assad’s army, although reports of their conquests are much exaggerated.
3. These arms are coming from two sources: radical Islamist organizations in Bosnia and Kosovo, some of them associated with al Qaeda – at least ideologically. It is hard to say who is organizing and bankrolling the new weapons sea route to Syria. According to one theory, it is the Albanian mafia.
4. For the first time, Syrian rebels are taking in arms unsupervised by any of the Western or Arab agencies involved in the Syrian revolt.
5. Most of the incoming weapons are destined for the Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra, the rebel faction identified with al Qaeda.
6. The Jabhat al-Nusra, newly armed with hardware from Bosnia and Kosovo, have pushed across the border into Lebanon, our sources reveal, and are harassing Hezbollah in its home bases in the Beqaa Valley. Night after night in the last ten days, small bands of Islamist fighters, weighed down by heavy loads of rockets, are attacking Hezbollah strongholds and isolated guard and watch posts and ambushing military vehicles.
Both are designated terrorist groups by the United States government.
The Syrian conflict has indeed spilled over the border into Lebanon. It is also turning more and more into a sectarian confrontation between extremist Sunnis and radical Shiites.
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