Imprisoned Al Qaeda Fighters Freed by U.S. Allies to Rejoin Fight Against Assad

Eric Zuesse

Some of the world’s top Al Qaeda operatives were freed from a Lebanese prison on Tuesday December 1st, to rejoin the U.S.-led war against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

America’s anti-Assad ally, Qatar, the chief financiers of the Muslim Brotherhood, negotiated with the neutralist Lebanese government, to swap the 26 imprisoned Al Qaeda jihadists for 16 Lebanese soldiers who had been captured by Al Qaeda in Lebanon.

Lebanese and Syrian Al Qaeda are called Al Nusra. Al Nusra had captured these soldiers in Lebanon this past summer.

Lebanon will get its 16 soldiers back, and Al Qaeda (Al Nusra) will get its 26 fighters back, including the former wife of ISIS’s founder, Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. London’s Daily Mail  headlined about her on 21 February 2015, “Scheming Bride of ISIS they all idolise: Mesmerising tale of wife of terror chief who inspires girls to join bloody ranks.” So, she’s free again, to rejoin the U.S.-led forces.

Another freed Al Qaeda operative is Sheikh Mustafa al-Hujairi, who on 20 March 2014 was described by the newspaper Al-Akhbar (translated by an online website) as “the leader of an armed group that provides logistical support to al-Qaida linked networks Jabhat al-Nusra, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).” This report said he had 200 men under his command.

In both of those cases, the freed fighter was associated with more than one terrorist group (ISIS — or as Obama calls it “ISIL” — Al Nusra, Abdullah Azzam Brigades); but, regardless of what they are called, they are jihadists; and, so, any categorization of the anti-Assad groups other than as fundamentalist Sunnis who are active jihadists waging war to take down Assad would be deceptive, because there are no Shiites who are fighting to take down the secular, non-religious, government that is run by the Shiite Assad. All of the ‘rebel’ groups are only Sunni terrorists; none of them are “moderates.” Whereas some of them get more money from Qatari royals, and others of them get more money from Saudi royals, they all are jihadists, and all are Sunnis.

The soldiers who are fighting on Assad’s side are both Shiites and Sunnis, as well as some who are other religions or no religion. For example, the American propaganda-organ, USA Today, headlined on 1 August 2013, “Sunnis fill rebel ranks, but also prop up Assad regime,” and the subhead was “Many Sunnis are backing the dictatorship to preserve their livelihoods, or believe the uprising is doomed or ruthless.” (The U.S. government isn’t being called a ‘regime’; and isn’t being referred to as a ‘dictatorship.’) The idea there was to portray the enemies of the American government’s proxy invasion of Syria as being bad (’to preserve their livelihoods’), not good, and the friends of America’s proxy invasion (via ‘moderate groups’, etc.) as being good not bad (not, for example, similar to the terrorists on 9/11 and at Charlie Hebdo, etc.). It’s straight out of George Orwell’s 1984, but this is now real.

Qatar is part of the U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-Turkish war to overthrow Syria’s Russia-allied leader, Bashar al-Assad. The royal owners of Qatar, the Thani family, want to build through Syria a gas-pipeline to get Qatar’s gas into Europe to supplant Russia’s gas there. Russia’s ally Assad stands in the way of that. Also, the Russian government is in reality, and not only in principle, opposed to jihadists and a fusion of church and state. So, Russia has both ideological and economic reasons to be standing firm in support of Assad. The Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, have indicated that Israel is their friend and Palestinians are their enemy because Israel too wants the Shiite Assad and Shiite-run Iran to fall. So, if purely economic motives dominate on one side or the other, it’s probably on the U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-Turkish side where greed is the main motivation. This is the reason why America’s side refers to Assad as a “dictator,” but doesn’t refer to its own allies as being “dictators” or “regimes” — not even the Sauds. However, the purest dictatorship that’s involved in this conflict is Saudi Arabia (whose royalty are the chief financial backers of Al Qaeda). Next would be Qatar. Both of them are far less democratic than is Syria. And perhaps Russia is more of a democracy than the U.S. is. Any ‘press’ which merely assumes  otherwise is pure propaganda, because no assumption  should be made about international comparisons. U.S. President Barack Obama continually says that the U.S. is superior to all other nations. He repeatedly refers to it as “the one indispensable nation.” Insulting every other nation in that way sounds like what only the leader of a dictatorship would even want  to do.

On 14 January 2012, the chief financial angel of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, told US television channel CBS “some troops should go to stop the killing” that Assad was doing against his Muslim Brotherhood jihadists who were trying to take over Syria. The BBC noted that, “Qatar was the first Arab country to join the Nato-led operation in Libya, which led to the downfall of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.” The American aristocracy wanted it, and the Arabic aristocracies also did. No democracy did. Only aristocratic regimes did. And they did it. In the name of ‘democracy.’ And yet, many people still fall for such ‘democracy.’

America and its allies have enjoyed a lot of success around the world. For example, there are millions of refugees from their wars who are now flooding into Europe. Muslim (and other) masses suffer, but aristocrats in many countries want it. Europe’s leaders support America, and are its allies in NATO etc., but whether they represent the interests of the public who elected them is problematic. For some reason, European publics don’t seem to understand things any better than the American public does. Perhaps democracy has been lost in Europe, too.

Democracy requires a free press. Free enough, for example, for it to publish, to mainstream audiences, articles like the present one. This article is therefore being submitted to virtually all news-media in the U.S. and many in Europe.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • mulga mumblebrain

    al-Nusra are the particular pets of Israel, being actively assisted by Israeli bombing attacks on Syrian Army and Hezbollah forces fighting these liver-eating monsters. The UN cease-fire monitoring group covering the Golan Heights has reported numerous incidents of open Israel assistance to their jihadist ‘cousins’. As for Qatar its propaganda sewer remain the disinformationist of choice for Western MSM allies of the takfiri butchers.

  • Yeibe

    Ah, Mr. Zuesse… Mossad’s leading peddler of “It’s never my people!” scapegoating. Eric is a man who has rewritten the same article several hundred times in the space of 2015 alone. Still, you have to give him credit for cutting and pasting the sentences into a new order each time.

    Eric is dedicated, readers. Specifically, he’s dedicated to blaming the Middle East’s problems (and any others that he reads about in the Jerusalem Post) on gentiles. Any gentiles will do.

    The important thing is: it’s never Eric’s people. (Even when it is.) It’s the Americans. (Boo!) And the Saudis. (More booing!) And those pesky anti-semitic Europeans. (Those baddies!)

    Notice the masterful way Eric mentions the chosen people in the middle of his “news piece”, yet still keeps the focus of that sentence firmly on Saudi Arabia. Notice how the mess in Syria is Obama’s fault, too.

    Tel Aviv found the world’s biggest untapped oil reserves under the Golan Heights, but of course that can’t be anything to do with the Syrian mess, can it? Heavens, no. Definitely, definitely, AIPAC isn’t making Obama do anything. AIPAC is so powerless, you see.

    Notice how Eric doesn’t blame the IDF for anything in Syria, which is odd, given that their planes and artillery bomb Syria every week. Notice how Eric doesn’t mention the Zerohedge revelation that Tel Aviv buys almost all of ISIS’ oil. Nor the Fars News exposé of IDF commandos captured in Syria alongside ISIS. Nor the Jerusalem Post revelation that the IDF gives ISIS medical treatment. Masterful deception, Eric. Masterful.

    Eric, I salute you. You are proof that sheer moxie and superhuman repetition of the same message can overcome lack of talent or editors’ background checks. Mazel Tov!

    N.B. I urge readers to study Eric’s inevitable accusations of antisemitism and hate speech in response to my post. It’s never original, but the effortlessness with which he does it is the sign of a real pro.

    • cettel

      Although I consider Israel to be a minor player in geopolitics, I have written very critically about it, just as I have written very critically about the main players in the war against Russia: the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. For examples, there were “America’s Nazi Allies in Israel and Ukraine,” and “OPINION: Is Israel America’s Friend? Or America’s Enemy?” However, unlike what seems to be a rather large chorus of anti-Semites who dislike my articles and who make false ad-hominem reader-comments responding to them (since they cannot think rationally and are therefore incapable of making ad-rem comments to them), I do not associate Israel with Judaism, no more do I do that than I associate the U.S. with Christianity, or Saudi Arabia with Islam — or David Koch with Christians, or George Soros with Jews, or Osama bin Laden with Muslims.