Friday, November 29, 2013

Meet the Rebel Commander in Syria That Assad, Russia and the U.S. All Fear

Saved this last week, fortunately. 
Very, very interesting reading and oh how the alarm bells rang and rang.
 Posting it entirely since it is now unavailable, in full, at link.

For months, Syrian government forces hunkered down at a remote air base north of Aleppo, deftly fending off rebel assaults—until one morning a war machine rumbled out of the countryside, announcing that the Chechens had arrived.

The vehicle was notable for its primal scariness: Rebels had welded dozens of oil-drilling pipes to the sides of the armored personnel carrier, and packed it with four tons of high explosives, according to videos released online by the rebels.

It was piloted by a suicide driver, who detonated the vehicle at the base, sending a ground-shaking black cloud into the sky in an attack that analysts said finally cleared the way for rebels to storm the airfield.

The final capture of the airport in August immediately boosted the prestige of its unruly mastermind Tarkhan Batirashvili, according to analysts—an ethnic Chechen whose warring skills, learned in the U.S.-funded Georgian army, are now being put to use by a group deeply at odds with more mainstream Western-backed rebels.

Tarkhan Batirashvili- I have the strangest feeling, going by "the gut" here,  we are going to be hearing and reading more about this man in the near future. "An ethnic Chechen who learned all his war skills in the US funded Georgian Army" but we are supposed to believe he is deeply at odds with the more mainstream rebels (there are no mainstream rebels) Tarkhan Batirashvili or Umar al-Shishani

The jihadi commander has recently emerged from obscurity to be the northern commander in Syria of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), an al Qaeda-connected coalition whose thousands of Arab and foreign fighters have overrun key Syrian military bases, staged public executions and muscled aside American-backed moderate rebel groups trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
Conversations with Mr. Batirashvili's relatives and two of his former army commanders reveal a complex portrait of a modern jihadist from the former Soviet Union, motivated by misfortune as much as newly found religious zeal.

Born to a Christian father and Muslim mother, he served in an intelligence unit of the Georgian army before opportunities dried up at home and he left for holy war, friends and former colleagues said.

Efforts to reach Mr. Batirashvili were unsuccessful. And a website,, which boasts of his accomplishments, didn't respond to requests for comment.
The arrival of Mr. Batirashvili, known by his Arab nom de guerre Emir Umar al-Shishani, comes as other ethnic Chechens and Russian-speaking Islamists have for the first time responded in large numbers to the call of an international jihad in Syria.
 Fighting in tight knit groups, the men have awed and repelled fellow jihadists with their military prowess and brutality, talking to one another in Russian or Chechen and to outsiders in the formal Arabic of the Quran, according to accounts of fellow rebels. Some have carved out fiefdoms inside Syria, enraging locals by collecting taxes and imposing Islamic Shariah law.
The Chechen fighters have long had a reputation for brutality.
Even by the gruesome standards of the war in Syria, their rise has become notable for its unusual violence. One rebel from Russia's Dagestan, for instance, was chased out of the country after he appeared in an online video where he beheaded three locals for supporting the Syrian government, according to analysts with ties to the rebel groups. And just last week, Mr. Batirashvili's group apologized for mistakenly beheading a wounded soldier who actually turned out to be an allied rebel commander.
The prominence of the rebels on the battlefield has turned the conflict into a geopolitical struggle between the U.S. and Russia, which has long accused the West of ignoring the danger of Islamists in the troubled Chechen region, where an insurgency has been active for decades
  While people close to Mr. Batirashvili say he views the war as a chance to strike a blow against one of the Kremlin's allies, he has also talked of his hatred of America. In a recent interview with a jihadi website, he described Americans as "the enemies of Allah and the enemies of Islam."

Until recently, Mr. Batirashvili had few outward religious convictions, former colleagues said. But like many Chechens he wanted to fight the Kremlin wherever he had the chance. "He had that kind of hatred for them," said Malkhaz Topuria, a former commander who has watched his onetime subordinate's stardom grow in videos posted on the Internet. "It was in his genes."
Struggle between the US and Russia. A blow against one of the Kremlin allies. Mr Bartirashvili had few outward religious conviction, but, suddenly..................he found god? Or something like that?

 Moscow has mostly crushed its Islamist rebellion in the North Caucasus region, but a top Kremlin official warned last month of the new "terrorist international" in Syria, which could eventually return its focus on the mother country.

U.S. intelligence estimates that as many as 17,000 foreigners are fighting on the side of rebels in Syria. About half fight for the ISIS; of those, officials in Russia say, at least a thousand are from the country's North Caucasus and from Europe, where many Chechens have sought asylum since the collapse of the Soviet Union and hostilities in Chechnya in the 1990s.
While the Russian-speaking Islamists represent a fraction of the total rebels, many have risen to positions of power because of their history of fighting a standing army in Russia, according to analysts.

Kremlin officials say that these fighters are picking up more military experience, as well as contacts to Arab financiers who bankrolled uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.
"One day, it's highly likely many of these fighters will return to their home republics in the Caucasus, which will clearly generate a heightened security threat to that region," said Charles Lister, analyst at IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre.
The Chechen region has come under scrutiny lately in the U.S. in the wake of this year's Boston Marathon bombing. The alleged bomber on trial, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has roots in Chechnya and posted videos online recruiting fighters to Syria. 
Mr. Batirashvili's ability to work with foreign jihadis appears to have been vital to his rise within the ISIS, which has become the main umbrella group for foreign fighters in Syria, including Saudis, Kuwaitis, Egyptians and even Chinese, according to analysts.

The ISIS, originally founded as an umbrella organization for Iraqi jihadists, views the war in Syria as a means not only to overthrow the Assad regime but a historic battleground for a larger holy war and the establishment of a larger Islamic state, Mr. Batirashvili said in an interview recently with a jihadist website.

Some of the men respond to appeals on YouTube under a generic call to fight for an Islamic state under Shariah law, according to analysts. Most fly into Turkey and then slip over the porous border into Syria, according to interviews with fellow Islamists.
Mr. Batirashvili hailed from outside Russia's borders, but hostility to Kremlin rule pulsed around him. His parents were ethnic Chechens from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, a rugged valley that borders Chechnya that has been a traditional safe haven for fighters opposing Russia.

Mr. Batirashvili got his first exposure to the rebel spirit as a shepherd boy, living in a brick hut with no plumbing in the village of Birkiani, his father Temuri said. There, Mr. Batirashvili helped Chechen rebels cross secretly into Russia and sometimes he joined the fighters on missions against Russian-backed troops, his father said.

After high school, he joined the Georgian army and distinguished himself as master of various weaponry and maps, said Mr. Topuria, his former commander, who recruited him into a special reconnaissance group.
Russia has long accused the U.S. of irresponsibly funding the Georgian army, which it says in turn supports Islamists—a charge the Georgians and the U.S. deny.
Mr Batarashvili was popular and rose fast in the ranks of the army
Mr. Batirashvili was easygoing and popular with fellow soldiers and steered clear of discussing religion, though he did acknowledge his Muslim family, Mr. Topuria said.

Mr. Batirashvili rose fast in the army, being promoted to sergeant in a new intelligence unit, where his monthly salary of about $700 was more than he had ever made in his life, his father and former commanders said.
A representative for the Georgian army confirmed only the basic facts of his service in the army, declining to comment on any other activities.
When Georgian forces were ordered to attack the Russian-backed breakaway province of South Ossetia in 2008, Mr. Batirashvili was near the front line, spying on Russian tank columns and relaying their coordinates to Georgian artillery units, a former commander said. The war lasted five days.
This guy is no rebel commander in the way we are supposed to believe he is. He is definitely commanding the mercenary army, but, not for freedom or anything like that

Two years later Mr. Batirashvili's life began to unravel. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2010 and confined to a military hospital for several months. When he emerged, he was deemed unfit for the military and discharged, the ministry said.

Returning home, Mr. Batirashvili was "very disillusioned," his father said. The local police force wouldn't hire him, and his mother died after having fought cancer for years.
"He was very nervous, and worried about money," a former Georgian army commander said. He said Mr. Batirashvili also appeared to be helping Islamist rebels inside Russia, and asked the former commander for help finding some military-grade maps of Chechnya.

In September 2010, Mr. Batirashvili was arrested for illegally harboring weapons, the defense ministry said, and sentenced to three years in prison.
The ministry refused to provide further details about the case.
-The preceding paragraphs feel live narrative creation. Good soldier gone rogue.....
Mr. Batirashvili's cousin Jabrail said he was released from jail after about 16 months in early 2012 and immediately left the country. "He had plenty of time to sit and think in jail about how he had been treated," his cousin said. "He served in the army in the most dangerous places, and then when he got sick they took his job and then they put him in prison."
In a recent interview with the jihadi website, Mr. Batirashvili said that prison transformed him. "I promised God that if I come out of prison alive, I'll go fight jihad for the sake of God," he said.

Though Mr. Batirashvili announced that he was headed for Istanbul, his father said it was clear he was planning to offer his services to Islamists. Members of the Chechen diaspora in the Turkish capital were ready to recruit him to lead fighters inside Syria, and an older brother had gone there months before, his father said.
"We argued about [his decision] bitterly," he said. "But he was a man with no job, no prospects. So he took the wrong path."

His former army commanders also lost contact with him, and only received word of his whereabouts this spring when Georgia's army intelligence service contacted them.
The army, they said, wanted help identifying a jihadi leader who had appeared lately in videos from Syria. The man spoke Russian with a Georgian accent, they said.
The storyline really helps to portray him as  one bad apple. It disconnects him from his military service, his connections to Georgian military and to the US. And, I personally don't believe it.

When he opened the first video, "I recognized him immediately," one of his commanders said. Mr. Batirashvili had traded in his Georgian army fatigues for a traditional South Asian shalwar kameez shirt and had grown a red beard that reached down to his chest.

But his speech, barely above a mumble, and his habit of staring at the ground as he talked were the same, he said.
In videos, Mr. Batirashvili was first identified as commander of a group calling itself Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, or "Army of Emigrants and Helpers." He called for donations, claiming jihadists finally had a chance to establish an Islamic state in the Middle East.

This summer, videos identified him as a newly named commander of the ISIS. His speeches, delivered in Russian, are distributed over a website,, which brags of his group's victories and frequently appeals for donations.

In a recent report, International Crisis Group said that Mr. Batirashvili's army has imposed extremist rule of law in areas he controls, shooting into peaceful demonstrations and detaining activists for offenses that include nonviolent dissent and smoking cigarettes during Ramadan.
Mr. Batirashvili's father said he hasn't heard from his son for almost two years and gets news of him mostly through his older brother, who has been fighting with him in Syria. He said he doubts his son's beard was grown out of any religious conviction.
"He just switched armies, and now he's wearing a different hat," he said

Follow up to this post can be found here: Chechens drawn south to fight in Syria


  1. its still there for me:

    1. brian, your link does not work for me
      but if it works for you, great
      thoughts on this guy?

    2. islamism and central asia dont mix well...the result is a new mongol horde

  2. Mikheil Saakashvili, the tie eating madman president of Georgia has hosted more than one conference of Caucasus jihadis, with the aim of spreading Islamic holy war into Russia. This coupled with the phone conversation where Prince Bandar threatened Putin with a terror attack on the Sochi Olympics pretty much spell out who is behind the jihad against the Syrian Arab Republic, but not as much as the weird alliance now being exposed between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    1. I highlighted all the interesting bits..
      and there were so many interesting bits
      this guy is someone definitely connected to the NATO war machine
      despite the spin in the article to the otherwise
      I liked the connection to boston being mentioned
      At the time of the false flag in boston, it seemed obvious that a some point in time the US was going to make a connection that would be detrimental to Russia

    2. "Mikheil Saakashvili, the tie eating madman president of Georgia has hosted more than one conference of Caucasus jihadis, with the aim of spreading Islamic holy war into Russia"

      tie eater! that always cracks me up

      and yes he has hosted many conferences....

      The Saudi/ Israel thing isn't as weird as it seems. Or maybe it's just me?
      So much stuff is so weird, it's hard to think of anything being normal
      I guess it all comes down to reality vs the lies we have been told?

  3. re: the WSJ headline about the US fearing this guy, I do not believe that is the case at all
    It is spin to push the 'war on terror' meme and setting up a potential story line should future war moves need to be made by the US/NATO/Israeli war machine against Russia

    featuring back ground and feared bad guy

    1. Definitly aimed at Russia, I'd stay away from Sochi that's for sure. Though as I remarked yesterday the time line would suggest a more profound event within ten years time.

      One thing I didn't get round to noting though, if my Levant/Arabia nexus is correct, then there is a massive Vatican/Jerusalem crisis coming.

    2. Hey Incoming
      how ya doing?

      " if my Levant/Arabia nexus is correct, then there is a massive Vatican/Jerusalem crisis coming'

      can you expand on this? not sure where you are coming from?
      thanks :)

    3. AOK Penny,

      since the Vatican has always been an instrument of command and control with a keen interest in destroying white perosns, the sudden rapproachment between a Jesuit and an Orthodox Russian can only mean that the sack of Byzantium is on the cards again.

      Roth are going to get, repeat going to get, no question about it, PNAC was part one of the end game, their golden throne in Jerusalem and the Wahabiists will be diverted into Southern Russia in a quid pro quo. Hence the Levant /Arabian axis.

      As I remarked during my take on the real nuke story, it is significant that all Western nuclear deterrents are now under, i.e. Roth placemen, political control and therefore nuetralised whilst at the same time the original home of nukes Dimona and Arabia tool up on the things for use.

      Once Jerusalem is re-established the Vatican is redundant in what is now a barren spiritual wasteland called Europe.

      Mind you the clowns in the white supremacist movement who cannot see past the so-called "Jews" deserve it for their astounding thickery.

    4. Ok, I think I get where you are coming from? Though not entirely sure, because this aspect is not my strong suit at all.

  4. do syrians support the 'syrian revolutionaries'? not if Deir Attiyah is anything to go by:
    @KeepingtheLeith 22h
    The jubilant citizens of Dayr Atiyya throng onto vehicles after the #SAA liberated this town. #Syria #RifDimashq

    from a comment on a different thread...but relevant

    Lilly Martin Sahiounie YES. Brian you have the correct details. We watched last night, late, on local Syrian TV, the testimonies of the folks in Deir Atiyah. Men, women, kids. They all said the place had been overrun with armed terrorists, who stole everything not nailed down. They could not go outside. They were all thanking the Syrian Army for making it safe enough to resume normal life. Deir Atiyah is a very large town, it sits right on the highway to Damascus (north of Damascus). But it is isolated. It sits alone, no other communities near. Right on the highway, at Deir Atiyah is a large modern hospital. It sits on a hill, so very visible. Those filthy terrorists got into the hospital and killed many nurses and doctors. Do they think freedom is achieved by wiping out medical personnel? They dead terrorists were all over the place. They were from Yemen and various Gulf places. Sickening.

  5. The "Chechens" (IE: zionazi/nazi terrorists recruited in Russia and former USSR territories) were particularly effective on their home turf. Russian security services pretty much had their number. In Syria, they must be like fish out of water. With the zionazis/nazis drawing upon their "Chechen" reserves so heavily, one wonders if they will have enough of these goons to terrorise the Sochi Olympics, as Israel-America-EU promised they would. Once moved out of Russia into the meat grinder in Syria, there is not much chance most of these terrorists will be seeing Russia again. My guess is the zionazis/nazis are running out of dupes for their terror war against Syria, and have no choice but to draw down their "Chechen" reserves.

    BTW, Penny, Georgia is Israeli territory, more than it is American (if there is still a workable distinction between the two). The Saaskivilli regime was mostly populated with Israeli duo-nationals.

    вот так

    1. "...were particularly effective on their home turf."

      That should have been: were not particularly effective on their home turf.

      вот так

  6. Al-Quds/Al-Manar reports special military crews stationed along the Turkish-Syrian borders; their task is to execute escaped terrorists fleeing Syria.
    After a successful military operation and accurate tactical maneuvers, units of the Syrian armed forces managed to tighten control over most towns eliminating several terrorist groups with their hideouts and heavy weaponry causing dramatic collapse in the morale of the armed terrorist groups that are faltering under the strikes trying to escape and return back to their origin countries. Sources reports tens of terrorists have been executed trying to flee Syrian territory by those Turkish crews. Terrorist’s families in Turkey and Jordan were prevented from entering Syria to look for their sons or ask about them.

  7. back in january 2013 '‘Assad’s jets bombed innocent civilians in Syria!’' ....well no..but that it seems was the propaganda idea:

  8. Hey All

    thanks for the comments!

    Something else I noticed in the narrative as presented
    This guy has long been part of the cause, according to the father

    "There, (Pankisi Gorge) Mr. Batirashvili helped Chechen rebels cross secretly into Russia and sometimes he joined the fighters on missions against Russian-backed troops, his father said."
    Sometimes he joined the fighters? seriously the whole Pankisi Gorge thing is a NATO op to destabilize Russia, it is non romantic

    Then he joined the Georgian military...?? Or was he already trained prior to joining the Georgian Military? Did he join the military to participate in the attack on Russia and prep for further engagements?

    "He just switched armies, and now he's wearing a different hat," he said

    every which way I look at this guy he reeks of covert ops

    Bot tak: good point on bringing in more guns for the destabilization of Syria as for Sochi.... time will tell, but, depending on how Syria goes.. Sochi could be headed for some serious problems thanks to the NATO Israel Islamist army

    Bot tak " The Saaskivilli regime was mostly populated with Israeli duo-nationals"

    I was not aware just how dual national the Sak regime was?
    Perhaps that is why it was an especially cruel regime?

  9. Freethinker or brian?

    one of you? or both of you? Left info on the origins of wahhabiism before
    If I am recalling correctly can who ever left it- enlighten me again?

  10. George Galloway interviews Mother Agnes Mariam on RT -

  11. Penny,
    This article at Press TV gives some background on the British spy who, along with Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, collaborated and "came up with" ? the sect


    I have some other info I ran into also, but as usual, can't find it when I need it. :)
    I save entirely too much stuff

    Oh, wanted to add, I've seen Georgian man in a video abt ? 2-4? months ago from a link in comments at SyrPer. It was about 20 minutes long, and they had maps, etc while sitting on the ground staging an operation.
    This group then went out in the field in the video. They were the only ones I have seen that I feared could do some serious damage. Very professional and methodic.

    He 'could ' be affiliated with a group I watched a short bit of where Chechyan jihadists trapped some Russian soldiers and brutally killed them.( for some reason my mind is linking the two with him )
    I had to stop watching it, and I've watched 99.9% of the vids like that, but this was the most gruesome, horrid one of them all... even the beheadings in Syria weren't as bad as that was.

    I'm with you, in your analysis.

  12. elliot higgins Aka brown moses supposes...attacks Mother Agnes:

    who is Laura wells?
    Laura Wells
    Freelance reporter who's worked for CNBC,CNBC World,ReutersTV,Ebru TV,& 6 News;contributed to Foreign Policy Mag. & CBS,
    (so Higgins is leading a freelance reporter astray,uses him as her primary source o mother agnes?

    Brown Moses
    @wellsla are you aware of Mother Agnes' reputation?

    Laura Wells @wellsla 17 Sep
    @Brown_Moses Need to read more. Studying the photos/video is interesting,but really not sure. What do you think of her?

    Brown Moses @Brown_Moses 17 Sep
    @wellsla she's a big Assad supporter and makes lots of grand, unverifiable claims about how awful the rebels are
    [Higgins is saying the 'rebels' arent nearly as bad as we are told....weapns may be his area of expertise but people he either is clueless about or more likely is lying...even US has alnusra as a terrorist group]

    Brown Moses @Brown_Moses 17 Sep
    @wellsla she lacks any sort of credibility outside of Russia Today and Press.TV
    [he really should stick to his weapons: shed has far more credibility than he can dredge up]

    Laura Wells @wellsla 17 Sep
    @Brown_Moses Gotcha, thank you. I try to read between the lines of everything I read. Was more interested in the photo/video comparisons.
    [Laura has problems understanding if she reads 'between the lines' and comes up with Mother Agnes bad, 'rebels' good]

    Laura Wells @wellsla 17 Sep
    @Brown_Moses I see,thank you for your insight. I read/watch things from both sides. Had already gathered it was partisan,but...still,I look.

    is Brown Moses just deluded or working an agenda?

  13. BREAKING: guess who is now on twitter : Mother Agnes Mariam
    Mother Agnes Mariam+ ‏@MotherAgnesMari 27 Nov
    I thank H.E. Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for his kind invitation. Hope that my visit to USA will be fruitful for RECONCILIATION and PEACE

  14. Hi penny
    Mr. Batirashvili doesn't quite have the ring of Scheumaker from wag the dog, however the construct follows the same lines



  15. Sharmin's article on Mother Agnes

    busy, can't look thru to see if you already have it right now.
    pardon if already here.

  16. kam nam, brian and karin...thanks
    Kam Nam- saw the movie, can't recall the character, so I am going to refresh
    karin: didn't have the article and am so glad you left it look forward to reading it
    brian: brown moses has an agenda, IMO. He is 'spooky'.
    if i missed anyone sorry :(
    busy day today as we move closer to completion
    painting -check
    flooring -next
    I have major, major, major cleaning to do
    and pathetically I am looking forward to it
    the upcoming work will be 'clean' work as in not producing a ton of filthy dust
    keeping the goal in sight.....

  17. We have further confirm that isreal is involved hook line and sinker and not just videos of carrying rats in the door of their hospitals either.

    Here we have Saddam al-Jamal, leader of the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) Eastern Front and a member of the FSA Staff Board or Supreme Military Council, denouncing the FSA and joining the ISIL sharia crowd, being amazingly 'transparent' with who was backing who and when including, Jordan ( which he says everyone knows really means isreal.

    further from description:
    "Al-Jamal also leads "Allahu Akbar" Brigade in al-Bukamal in the Deir Ezzor area of eastern Syria. He revealed that the person currently responsible for the file of the "Syrian Revolution" is Salman bin Sultan, Bandar's brother, from the Saudi royal family. He also confirmed the involvement many regional and global intelligence services in the running of the FSA, whether it is in attending FSA meetings, training them in Jordan and other locations, and providing them with different types of assistance."


    1. Hey Karin

      the link for the video referred to is here

      Jordan = Israel, priceless

  18. brian November 30, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    "is Brown Moses just deluded or working an agenda?"

    The latter. Another "Moon of Alabama" Horstmann type. They write what their intended audiences expect to see, but warp it in such a way that the zionazis can continue to get their free ride. Horstmann even gave Higgens some free advertisement a while back. Once one has been around a while, one will find that these zionist Jews make quite an effort to promote their own, in order to create the "correct" feedback and information trail.


    Tried responding to Brian's actual post, but the "reply" hotlink was a dead link and nothing happened.

    вот так

    1. bot tak: blogger has always been glitchy, always and annoyingly so
      not much I can do about it, well actually there isn't a thing I can do about it
      perhaps google didn't like the talk of brown moses as a tool of the terror state being mentioned?
      glad you were able to leave something

      still reading MOA?
      I haven't been there in a long while. Assuming all is the same there, anyway?