Fearing Syria Spillover, CIA Ups Iraq Presence
Al-Nusra Front and al-Qaeda in Iraq closely tied, experts say
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2013 9:46 AM CDT
In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 photo provided by Edlib News Network, rebels from al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra wave their brigade flag as they step on a Syrian air force helicopter that they captured...   (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN, File)

(Newser) – The US military may have pulled out of Iraq in December 2011, but now the CIA is going back in, reports the Wall Street Journal. In a series of secret decisions in 2011 and 2012, the White House directed US intelligence to take over from the military in supporting Iraq's elite anti-terrorism forces, especially as the 2-year-old Syrian revolution increasingly threatens to spill across the border. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has close ties with the Syria-based al-Nusra Front, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the State Department.

"There is certainly the potential, once Assad falls, for al-Nusra Front to orient strongly against Iraq," said a senior defense official. The Iraq operations are just part of American moves around the region to contain the violence in Syria—the CIA is also working with select rebel groups from Turkey, and US special forces are helping Jordanian forces deal with Syrian chemical weapons. "This relationship is focused on supporting the Iraqis to deal with terrorist threats within their borders, and not about ramping up unilateral operations," says a White House official.

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Mar 12, 2013 1:55 PM CDT
Army Destroys Terrorists Hideouts in Several Areas A unit of the armed forces on Monday destroyed an armed terrorist group's hideout near the National Hospital in al-Qseir in Homs countryside, killing all terrorists inside it. SANA reporter quoted a source in the province as saying that terrorists Yousef al-Zouhuri and Osama Shams-eddin and Osama al-Taleb were identified among the dead. Units of the armed forces continues pursuing the Armed terrorist groups in Homs countryside, inflicting heavy losses upon them. An official source told SANA reporter that a unit of the armed forces targeted terrorists gathering in al-Hamidieh village in al-Qseir area, killing a number of terrorists and injuring others. The source added that the army also destroyed the terrorists' vehicles and motorcycles. Another unit of the armed forces targeted a terrorists gathering in al-Thamalil town, killing a number of terrorists and injuring others, the source said. The source added that another unit of the armed forces destroyed armed terrorist groups hideout in Jousieh. The army also destroyed a care equipped with machinegun and two Kia cars with all the terrorists inside them. In Sadad town, east of Homs, a unit of the armed forces clashed with an armed terrorist group, killing a number of its members. The army seized a pick-up car, BKC machinegun, wireless device, a sum of money and a tank used to smuggle oil. Army Kills RPG Shooters in Damascus Countryside In Damascus Countryside, units of the armed forces inflicted heavy losses upon terrorists in Zamalka, Harasta and Duma. An official source told SANA reporter that a unit of the armed forces killed a number of terrorists and injured others at the western entrance of Zamalka town, and destroyed their cars and weapons. The source added that a unit of the armed forces pursued an armed terrorist group in Harasta, killing a number of its members and injuring others among them two snipers. A unit of the armed forces carried out a qualitative operation against terrorists gathering near the Martyrs roundabout in Duma, killing a number of terrorists among them Yaser al-Sa'aor. The operation resulted in destroying two cars loaded with weapons and ammunition. Meanwhile, units of the armed forces clashed with armed terrorist groups near Hammam al-souq and the cultural center in Jouber neighborhood in Damascus Countryside, killing a number of terrorists and injuring others. An official source told SANA reporter that the clash resulted in the killing of a number of terrorists and injuring others among them the RPG shooters among them Basam Bakkour. Attempt to Blow up 1000 kg Car Bomb in Idleb Foiled An army unit on Tuesday foiled an attempt to blow up a car bomb near a military checkpoint in al-Iskan area in Idleb. A military source told SANA that the army members dealt with the car that was approaching the military checkpoint, noting that the terrorist driving it was arrested after trying to run away. The source added that the car, which was loaded with a 1000 kg of explosives, was then remotely detonated with no casualties or material damage reported. Locals in Hasaka Prevent Terrorist Group from Looting Wheat Silo Preliminary reports cite locals of Um-al-Keif village in Hasaka province confronting an armed terrorist group which tried to loot a wheat silo in the village. Following the activity that forced the miscreants to run away, villagers interviewed by SANA confirm a woman was martyred and two others injured as the armed terrorist group fired at local loyalists who were confronting them.
Mar 12, 2013 11:35 AM CDT
Just who are the real terrorist? Why wasn't Osama Bin Laden ever on the FBI's most wanted list or any list. Remmember the day after 9/11, bush,cheney,rice and rumsfeld all swore it was Osama Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks. Now every body even my PC tells me the mastermind behind 9/11 was Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. So this is the reason the trials had to stay outside of America in Guantanamo bay, to keep it secret. Now we have people who were on the 9/11 commission who rejects there own report as based on government lies, Thomas Kean.
Mar 12, 2013 10:48 AM CDT
NATO air cover in Libya but not in Syria, good to see that the CIA continues to take its orders from the Mossad.