A bomb blast killed at least 6 Iraqi troops in capital Baghdad
Iraqi forces trying to repel ISIL attacks on Baiji refinery
IS demolishes mosque of Fatima Zahra
US-led airstrikes on Syria killed at least 60 civilians
Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda
President Obama is tolerating the smuggling of high-tech U.S. weapons to a Syrian rebel coalition led by an Al-Qaeda affiliate, as these Islamists — supported by the Saudis and other U.S. allies — mount a new offensive to topple the secular government in Damascus, as Daniel Lazare explains.
Little more than a month after his accession, King Salman met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and agreed to stepped-up support for Syria’s Sunni rebels, including those with ties to Al Qaeda that had previously been beyond the pale. Instead of boycotting such groups as the U.S. demanded, the new approachwas to support Al Nusra and other such forces on the grounds that they were the only ones capable of getting the job done.
The upshot came a couple of weeks later when Al Nusra and Ahrar al Sham announced the formation of a new coalition known as the Army of Conquest (Jaysh al Fateh) that would include a number of smaller Islamist groups as well. In late March, the new coalition took Idlib, about 30 miles northeast of Jisr Ash-Shughur. In late April, armed with U.S.-made TOW’s, it took Jisr Ash-Shughur……
……No matter how much it cozies up to the good Al Qaeda, it still faces trouble with the bad. With Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi promising to exterminate the kingdom’s own 15-percent Shi‘ite minority if he ever takes power, it is a sign of how religious extremism is thriving in an atmosphere of heated sectarianism that the House of Saud has done so much to promote.
The result is a four-way collision that has been years in the making. Struggling to hold his rickety Middle Eastern empire together while making a deal with Iran, Obama is unable to say no to the Saudi steamroller. But since he can’t say no to the Saudis, he can’t say no to the Saudis’ partner, Al Qaeda. The U.S. finds itself back in bed with terrorists it had promised to avoid.
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