Was Timber Sycamore The Program That Created ISIS?
Above Photo: From Activistpost.com
Despite the repeated demonstrations of the fact that the United States and other Western nations have armed, supported, and funded terrorists in Syria from the beginning of the crisis in 2011 as well as long before that crisis had taken shape, official pronouncements admitting to funding those terrorists made by Western governments and reported by mainstream media outlets should not be dismissed simply because their actions are now common knowledge. After all, these incidents generally involve much more important revelations than those admitted to by corporate media.
For example, a sizeable portion of terrorist funding was openly admitted and continued by the United States even though the atrocities committed by the terrorists who were receiving the money was well documented throughout the alternative media as well as a number of mainstream outlets.
One such program was dubbed Operation Timber Sycamore, a “secret” plan authorized by then US President Obama which allowed the CIA to arm terrorists in Syria.
Timber Sycamore officially began in late 2012 or early 2013 and was similar to the other terrorist arming operations that the US had undertaken in places like Libya as well as a number of other countries in the previous decades. Obviously, this program was not the first of its kind.
Timber Sycamore was essentially a joint plan between Riyadh and the CIA, as well as Turkey and other Gulf States that would see the bulk of funding for the operation coming from Saudi Arabia while the majority of arming and training of terrorists would come from the United States. Jordan acted as the main location for training while Turkey and other Gulf States also played a major role in the program.
Alternative media outlets and researchers such as myself had exposed the CIA/KSA’s involvement in the Syria crisis since the very beginning, Timber Sycamore being just one more piece of the puzzle that was largely put together for audiences staying away from Western mainstream press.
Still, in 2016, even The New York Times was forced to discuss Timber Sycamore. Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo wrote in their article, “U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels,”
When President Obama secretly authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013, the spy agency knew it would have a willing partner to help pay for the covert operation. It was the same partner the C.I.A. has relied on for decades for money and discretion in far-off conflicts: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Since then, the C.I.A. and its Saudi counterpart have maintained an unusual arrangement for the rebel-training mission, which the Americans have code-named Timber Sycamore. Under the deal, current and former administration officials said, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles.
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From the moment the C.I.A. operation was started, Saudi money supported it.
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American officials have not disclosed the amount of the Saudi contribution, which is by far the largest from another nation to the program to arm the rebels against President Bashar al-Assad’s military. But estimates have put the total cost of the arming and training effort at several billion dollars.
The White House has embraced the covert financing from Saudi Arabia — and from Qatar, Jordan and Turkey — at a time when Mr. Obama has pushed gulf nations to take a greater security role in the region.
When Mr. Obama signed off on arming the rebels in the spring of 2013, it was partly to try to gain control of the apparent free-for-all in the region. The Qataris and the Saudis had been funneling weapons into Syria for more than a year. The Qataris had even smuggled in shipments of Chinese-made FN-6 shoulder-fired missiles over the border from Turkey.
The Saudi efforts were led by the flamboyant Prince Bandar bin Sultan, at the time the intelligence chief, who directed Saudi spies to buy thousands of AK-47s and millions of rounds of ammunition in Eastern Europe for the Syrian rebels. The C.I.A. helped arrange some of the arms purchases for the Saudis, including a large deal in Croatia in 2012.
By the summer of 2012, a freewheeling feel had taken hold along Turkey’s border with Syria as the gulf nations funneled cash and weapons to rebel groups — even some that American officials were concerned had ties to radical groups like Al Qaeda.
The C.I.A. was mostly on the sidelines during this period, authorized by the White House under the Timber Sycamore training program to deliver nonlethal aid to the rebels but not weapons. In late 2012, according to two former senior American officials, David H. Petraeus, then the C.I.A. director, delivered a stern lecture to intelligence officials of several gulf nations at a meeting near the Dead Sea in Jordan. He chastised them for sending arms into Syria without coordinating with one another or with C.I.A. officers in Jordan and Turkey.
Months later, Mr. Obama gave his approval for the C.I.A. to begin directly arming and training the rebels from a base in Jordan, amending the Timber Sycamore program to allow lethal assistance. Under the new arrangement, the C.I.A. took the lead in training, while Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, the General Intelligence Directorate, provided money and weapons, including TOW anti-tank missiles.
The Qataris have also helped finance the training and allowed a Qatari base to be used as an additional training location. But American officials said Saudi Arabia was by far the largest contributor to the operation.
The total money spent on the program may never be known since the program remains classified and the CIA isn’t keen on letting Americans in on just what happens with their tax money. David Ignatius, writing for The Washington Post, did attempt to provide an estimate of the amount of blood this program helped shed, however. He wrote,
That’s not to say that the CIA effort was bootless. Run from secret operations centers in Turkey and Jordan, the program pumped many hundreds of millions of dollars to many dozens of militia groups. One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies over the past four years. By the summer of 2015, the rebels were at the gates of Latakia on the northern coast, threatening Assad’s ancestral homeland and Russian bases there. Rebel fighters were also pushing toward Damascus.
That’s not to mention the countless numbers of civilians killed and injured by them.
Keep in mind also that, prior to the rapid appearance and seizure of territory by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, European media outlets like Der Spiegel reported that hundreds of fighters were being trained in Jordan by Western intelligence and military personnel for the purpose of deployment in Syria to fight against Assad. The numbers were said to be expected to reach about 10,000 fighters when the reports were issued in March, 2013. Although Western and European media outlets would try to spin the operation as the training of “moderate rebels,” subsequent reports revealed that these fighters were actually ISIS fighters. The timing of the reports and that of Timber Sycamore are more than just a coincidence.
Aaron Klein, writing for WND, would expose as much in his article, “Blowback: U.S. Trained Islamists Who Joined ISIS,” when he wrote,
Syrian rebels who would later join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.
The officials said dozens of future ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.
The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.
In February 2012, WND was first to report the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.
That report has since been corroborated by numerous other media accounts.
This is precisely the same trek that ISIS took into Syria when the group emerged inexplicably in 2013, entering Syria through Turkey and meeting up in Baghdad.
Western media outlets have also gone to great lengths to spin the fact that ISIS is operating in both Syria and Iraq with an alarming number of American weapons and equipment. As Business Insider stated, “The report [study by the London-based small arms research organization Conflict Armament Research] said the jihadists disposed of ‘significant quantities’ of US-made small arms including M16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings ‘Property of US Govt.’” The article also acknowledged that a large number of the weapons used by ISIS were provided by Saudi Arabia, a close American ally.
The fact is that ISIS fighters were entirely a creation of the United States, NATO, GCC, and Israel. They were armed and funded by the US and the GCC, trained in Jordan, and funneled into Syria through Turkey. In other words, the mysterious “moderate” training program and the genesis of heavily trained ISIS forces were funded and armed by the same countries, trained in the same country, and filtered into Syria through the same country at about the same time. Thus, with this stunningly “coincidental” chain of events, some may begin to wonder whether or not Timber Sycamore was the operation that led to the creation of the Islamic State. If so, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it is, a revelation of this magnitude would eviscerate Western justifications for war in Syria and Iraq and a host of other nations subjected to America’s exportation of “democracy” and war of terror.