Saudi High-Level Intelligence behind Liwa-al-Islam Attack on Syrian Chemical Weapons Transport
Supreme Commander of Liwa-al-Islam has been working for Saudi Arabia’s Intelligence Service since the 198os.
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) , – Syrian military forces have repelled an attack on a chemical weapons site near Damascus. The attack, carried out by Liwa-al-Islam and Jabhat al-Nusrah, occurred as chemical weapons experts from the OPCW, UN, and the Syrian government, were preparing the weapons to be transported for destruction outside Syria. The Syrian Foreign Ministry denounced the leaking of information by countries known for supporting the terrorist groups. The Supreme Commander of Liwa-al-Islam, Zahran Alloush, has been working for Saudi Intelligence 1980s.
Attack repelled but attempts to storm site continue. On 21 December, Liwa-al-Islam and Jabhat al-Nusrah launched a large-scale attack on a chemical weapons site in the Damascus countryside.
The attack was launched as experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the United Nations (UN) and the Syrian government were preparing the materials to be transported for final destruction outside Syria.
Speaking to journalists from the Syrian news agency SANA, a spokesperson from the Syrian Foreign Ministry stressed, that the attack on 21 December was not the first attack of this nature, but that the attack on 21 December was large in scale as compared to previous attacks.
The Liwa-al-Islam and Jabhat al-Nusrah mercenaries who carried out the attack, used an armored vehicle, loaded with large amounts of explosives, in the attempt to break into the site before storming it. Four were killed and twenty-eight were injured in a massive explosion, but the Syrian army managed to repel the attackers. The Foreign Ministry source stressed, that the site is still being besieged and that the attempts to storm the site continue.
Attack indicates Liwa-al-Islam’s detailed knowledge about Syrian cooperation with UN and OPCW. The Syrian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson pointed out, that the most important question is how the these terrorists attain detailed information about the efforts to transport the chemicals outside Syria in cooperation with the UN and the OPCW.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson emphasized the dangerous and irresponsible role played by some countries who are leaking information to the terrorists and who encourage them to attack these sites as efforts to transport the chemicals out of Syria are made within the framework of the cooperation between Syria, the UN, and the OPCW . While the Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson stopped short of mentioning specific countries, there is little doubt about that Saudi Arabia is playing a central role.
Liwa-al-Islam involvement reveals high-level intelligence involvement by Saudi Arabia. Both the al-Qaeda associated Jabhat al-Nusrah and the Liwa-al-Islam are being financed armed, and operate in liaison with the Saudi Intelligence Services.
It is, however, especially the involvement of the Liwa-al-Islam that gives away Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the attack on the chemical weapons site on 21 December.
The Supreme Commander of Liwa-al-Islam, Zahran Alloush, who specializes in chemical weapons, has been working for the Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Turki al-Faisal in both Afghanistan and Yemen since the 1980s.
During the 1990s, Zahran Alloush was involved in the Salafist - Wahhabist terrorist networks in Syria until he was arrested by Syrian intelligence. Alloush was released in early 2011, when the Assad administration granted a general amnesty in Syria.
Immediately after his release from prison, Alloush began receiving substantial funds and weapons from Saudi Intelligence, by then under the leadership of Saudi Arabia’s new intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
The funding of Alloush via the Saudi Interior Ministry and intelligence service was so “substantial” that Liwa-al-Islam rapidly developed from being a one man organization, to one of the most well armed, well equipped, and most specialized al-Qaeda brigades in Syria. The group gained fame due to risky, high-profile attacks, most of which required access to high-level intelligence.
On 8 July 2012, the group carried out a bomb attack against the headquarters of Syria’s National Security Council in Rawda Square, Damascus. The group succeeded in assassinating several high profile members of Syria’s security establishment, including the Deputy Minister of Defense and brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad, Assaf Shawkat, Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha, Hassan Turkmani, a former Defense Minister and military adviser to then Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa.
On 21 August 2013, Liwa-al-Islam and Alloush were directly involved in launching the chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburb East Ghouta, which almost led to an overt military aggression against Syria by the USA, UK and France.
The involvement of Liwa-al-Islam in the attack on the chemical weapons site outside Damascus, on 21 December, at a time when preparations for a transport were made by the government, in cooperation with the experts of the OPCW and UN, suggests that Liwa-al-Islam has access to extremely sensitive intelligence, which it could not acquire without its close liaison to top-level Saudi Intelligence sources.