By Wayne Madsen
The dalliance of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency with Islamic jihadist forces is nothing new. Today, the CIA provides weapons, training, and other support to jihadist-aligned domestic Syrian and foreign mercenary forces attempting to overthrow the government of the secular Syrian president, Bashar al Assad.
Among the recipients of CIA largesse are jihadist opposition forces in Syria that include Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al Nusra, Al Qaeda, the Khorasan Group, the Levant Front, Jabhat Ansar al-Islam, Brigade of Turkmen Mountain, Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, Ansar al-Sharia, Jabhat Ansar al-Din, Ghuraba al-Sham, Muhajirin wa-Ansar Alliance, Islamic Muthanna Movement, and the Imam Bukhari Jamaat. All of these groups have had alliances with or are part of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and have sworn fealty to ISIL’s elf-proclaimed caliphate. The last group on the list, Imam Bukhari Jammat, is an Uzbek jihadist mercenary group that helped ISIL capture parts of the Idlib region of Syria.
The use of Uzbek mercenaries by the CIA is almost as old as the American spy agency itself. In fact, CIA-Uzbek jihadist cooperation dates back some 63 years. According to its own formerly TOP SECRET Central Intelligence Bulletin, dated December 4, 1952, during the waning days of the Harry Truman administration, the CIA embarked on a program to foment nationalism tinged with jihadism among the Uzbek tribes of northern Afghanistan in order that it might spill across the border into the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, a constituent republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
This 1952 CIA policy of coopting Muslim radicals means that the current attempt by such anti-Russian U.S. official and quasi-official intelligence policy makers, including former Jimmy Carter national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, hedge fund tycoon George Soros, and CIA director John Brennan, to bring about a radical Muslim destabilization of the Russian Federation is merely a continuation of past practice. Presently, this cabal of American Russophobes see a victory by jihadist forces in Syria, and ultimately in Iraq, will spill over into Russia’s southern Caucasus region where jihadists have already been active, to central Asia.
In 1952, the CIA covertly incubated a band of Afghan Uzbeks. The Afghan Uzbek group, called the Mogul Band by the CIA, was reported by the CIA to have had «considerable strength in the northern part of the country» and «hoped to ‘reunite’ Afghan Uzbeks with fellow tribesmen across the Soviet frontier.» The CIA also reported that the Afghan Uzbeks «tried to attract support» from mainly Shi’a Hazara tribal leaders in northern Afghanistan. However, the Sunni Uzbeks and the Shi’a Hazaras were unnatural allies, a fact that seems to have been lost on the CIA station operatives in Kabul assigned the task of radicalizing the Afghan Uzbeks into a potent anti-Soviet force.
The reference to the Mogul Band is the earliest example of the CIA using external Muslim forces against the Soviet Union. In the 1970s, the overthrow of the Afghan king and the establishment of a socialist republic in Afghanistan prompted the CIA to organize a jihadist army to fight against the secular Afghan government and its Soviet protectors. The jihadist army that fought the Soviets in Afghanistan was the CIA-fertilized embryo out of which the Taliban and Al Qaeda hatched. Al Qaeda eventually helped give birth to ISIL.
The CIA has not only used jihadists to target Soviet followed by Russian interests but also those of Serbs in Serbia, the Srpska Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo. The CIA-directed U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) aided and abetted the rise of jihadism in the Balkans through the Balkans Transition Initiative and the Bosnian Transition Initiative. These would later serve as templates for similar operations in the majority Albanian but Serbian province of Kosovo that propelled the province to independence as a virtual U.S. and NATO colony and induced the demonization of the Serbian population in the northern part of Kosovo. The encouragement by the CIA and Soros’s Open Society Institute NGO fronts in the region also led to the radicalization of Muslim population sectors of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the neighboring Muslim-majority Serbian region of Sandjak, remaining Muslim pockets in the Republic Srpska, and Albanian minority regions of Macedonia and Montenegro.
The same CIA-Soros cooperation can be seen today in the promotion of radical Wahhabist Islam in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Libya, and other countries, especially operations involving the “Arab Spring” upheavals and their aftermath. The roots of this unholy alliance of the CIA, Soros, and Wahhabists has its roots in the media and propaganda operations in the former Yugoslavia and the Bill Clinton administration. First aimed at Serbia, these jihadist forces are now taking aim at Russia from their bases of operation in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. Turkey, as well as fascist-dominated western and central Ukraine, have served as important bases of operations for anti-Russian jihadists from Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, and other Russian republics where Turkish- and Saudi-financed Islamist clerics have been stirring up trouble.
The CIA station chief in Kabul during the late 1970s was the grandfather of the modern Afghan jihadist mujaheddin, which begat Al Qaeda, which begat the Islamic State. Station chief John J. Reagan first met with Afghan mujaheddin leaders in Pakistan in May 1979 and promised them weapons and ammunition. However, President Carter did not authorize such transfers of weapons to the jihadists until July 1979, two months after John Reagan took it upon himself to forge an alliance with the Afghan mujaheddin fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. The two months of unauthorized CIA help to the mujaheddin was arranged by Carter’s national security adviser, Brzezinski, whose hatred for the Soviets and Russians had no bounds.
The CIA decided to import radical jihadists from the Middle East and North Africa into northwest Pakistan as mercenaries to assist the Afghan mujaheddin in their war against the Soviets. Much of the funding for this operation was «off-the-books» because it was provided by Saudi Arabia and certain wealthy Saudi families. One of their numbers, Osama Bin Laden, eventually arrived in northwest Pakistan to take up arms with the «Arab Afghans» fighting the Soviets and socialist and quite secular Afghan government in Kabul. To coordinate the arrival, training, and arming of the Arab Afghans was veteran CIA field agent Milton Bearden. In an interview with the BBC, Bearden said President Ronald Reagan’s CIA director, William Casey, told him, «’I want you to go to Afghanistan, I want you to go next month and I will give you whatever you need to win’… He gave me the Stinger missiles and a billion dollars!»
Eventually, some of the Arab Afghans left Afghanistan and returned to their native Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Yemen and, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, they took up arms against their own governments. The Saudis paid off the mujaheddin veterans, including Osama Bin Laden, not to attack the «kingdom», preferring them to wage jihad in the name of the Wahhabi Islamic sect against the United States, Russia, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, and other countries. The Wahhabist jihadists also strictly avoided attacking Israel or Israeli interests.
Today, many of the veteran Arab Afghan jihadists are fighting as senior field commanders for the ISIL and Al Qaeda in Syria, Libya, and Yemen armed with weapons provided by the CIA, now under the directorship of the pro-Saudi / pro-Israeli CIA chief Brennan. Had President Truman nixed the CIA’s dealings with jihadist members of the Mogul Gang in 1952, the Middle East and the Balkans may have become much different and more peaceful places.