An entity calling itself “The Iraqi Media Security Cell” has announced on twitter that it has just arrested a major lieutenant of the late ISIS leader al-Baghdadi. This fellow called himself Abu Khaldun, though his real name is Hamid Shakir Saba’ al-Badri. According to a report on al-arabiyya he was caught by Iraqi police in an apartment in Kirkuk, in the northern part of Iraq. He was a paternal nephew of al-Baghdadi’s and headed the Islamic State’s intelligence unit.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Iraq, the anti-government and anti-Iranian demonstration are continuing without let-up, particularly in the southern, Shi’a-dominated parts of the country. This is in spite of the Iranian-backed Shi’a heshd sh’abi (popular militias), and some elements of the regular Iraqi security forces, using live rounds against demonstrators.
In another matter, Iraqi authorities have also reported that 5 rockets have landed inside an American base in Iraq’s western, Sunni-dominated, province of Anbar. There were no casualties from this attack. The missiles allegedly came “from a desert area east of the American base.” A group calling itself “the al-Jazeera and desert operations” claimed responsibility.
COMMENT: The term “al-jazeera” in Arabic usually means “Island,” but can also have other nuances. In this case it refers to an area in Northern Syria just south of the Euphrates. Also, north of the Euphrates is a vast desert region extending into Iraq’s Anbar province which, in the past, was often called “al-Jazeera.”
The above-mentioned group is probably an offshoot of ISIS just trying to prove that they are still around, and still active in the Iraq/Syria theater.
Turkey has just signed a maritime “boundaries” treaty with the Fayez Sirraaj government in Tripoli, Libya. According to this treaty, both countries “agree” where their “mutual” maritime boundary is, and that both countries have the right to “share” in the economic exploitation (meaning drilling for oil) in each other’s claimed maritime “territory.”
Other agreements were also reportedly signing whereby Turkey promised to step up its already vigorous economic and military aid to the Sirraaj government.
This treaty has been reported on by virtually every Arab and international news entity on the planet, some favorably, others not so favorably.
For example, the headlines for a recent essay on the Saudi-owned www.alarabiyya.net
screamed: LIBYAN ARMY OFFICIAL TO AL-ARABIYYA NET: WE WILL NEVER LEAVE LIBYA TO THE TURKS!
Brigadier General Khalid Mahjoub, the director of “moral guidance” in the Libyan national army stressed that no matter how much military support Ankara gives to the armed militias serving the Tripoli side and the latest political leader of the Muslim Brotherhood organization (an off-handed reference to Fayez Sirraaj), the Libyan army will never leave Libya to the Turks.
Gen. Mahjoub added that these recent agreements between Ankara and Tripoli reveal Turkey’s ambitions to expand in Africa and the Mediterranean. In this regard he warned that Turkey, once it has a foothold, will never withdraw and will try as much as possible to penetrate these areas.
The unnamed author of the al-arabiyya article added that these agreements will open the door for Turkey to send more support to the armed militias allied with it and to enflame the Libyan struggle as well as serving as the doorway for Turkey to exploit Libya’s energy sources and gain control of them.
This treaty essentially gives Turkey the right to drill for oil anywhere within Libyan territorial waters–and in the minds of the Turks, anywhere in the eastern Mediterranean.
Needless to say, virtually every Arab country not currently allied to Turkey (as well as Greece) has condemned the treaty.
While the above-mentioned Gen. Mahjoub seemed to believe that Turkey’s main interest in Libya and the rest of Africa has to do with economics and the lust for energy and other resources, any close examination of Turkey’s president Erdogan reveals much more than economic interests in these regions. This is nothing less than the physical expansion of Turkey and one more step taken in its desire to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, a new caliphate, with Turkey as its head. Erdogan, in his head, already believes that he is the consecrated Caliph, the successor to Muhammad. Therefore, all the countries around the Mediterranean basin which were once a part of the old Ottoman Empire, are, by definition, nothing more than provinces of Turkey. They just haven’t realized that fact yet.
Therefore Turkey believes that it has the right to drill for oil anywhere in the eastern Mediterranean because it believes that it is the re-incarnation of the Ottoman Empire during which time the entire eastern Mediterranean (and most of the western Med. as well) was an Ottoman lake. Therefore, Turkey is only laying claim to what it believes is its natural right.
Egypt and its Arab allies (including the Haftar movement and its allied parliament in Tabruk) have complained that this “treaty” is illegal because the Sirraaj government of Tripoli controls only the city of Tripoli and therefore has no authority to sign away the rest of Libya’s coastal waters to a foreign power. Egypt and other countries around the Mediterranean basin also fear that Turkey’s moves threaten their own territorial waters.
Greece has scoffed at the treaty because Turkey and Libya have no geographic justification to sign such a treaty because in between both countries is a huge geographical land mass called Crete which is part of Greece’s national territory–Meaning that the existence of Crete has to be ignored before one can imagine the territorial waters of Turkey and Libya to meet.
But what Greece is forgetting, is that according to Turkish sentiments, Crete, and in fact all of Greece, are nothing more that provinces of Turkey’s Ottoman Empire.
I do believe, also, that NATO, and the pro-West leaders of the Arab world (such as they are), better take a closer look at these Tripoli/Ankara treaties–particularly the clauses stipulating increased Turkish support for the militias fighting on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood Sirraaj government. These militias, as reported on this site numerous times over the past several months, are essentially left-over ISIS, al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and Ansar ash-Shari’a personnel.
In Turkey’s current invasion and occupation of portions of Syria Erdogan has utilized militias composed of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Muslim Brotherhood members which Turkey “captures” then recycles into new militias with different names and then inserts them into what it is now calling “The Syrian National Army.” These units are currently in the process of conquering Syria for Erdogan’s new Ottoman empire.
Many of the thousands of left-over ISIS fighters in the Syria/Iraq region are currently being rounded up by Turkey, while others are seeking refuge in the territory of their former patron, Turkey. My fear is that while many of these fighters will be recycled into Erdogan’s “Syrian National Army” for the continued conquest of Syria, others will be sent to Libya as part of the above-mentioned treaty promises of “increased Turkish military aid for the militias serving Tripoli.”
In this regard, I will leave readers with one final note. Rumors are seeping out of the Turkish prisons where former ISIS fighters are being held saying that “it will start again.”
We will report more on this in future installments. Stay tuned.
Barry Webb has logged a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, has two MA degrees in related subject matter, and is currently a Senior Fellow with Americans for Intelligence Reform www.intelreform.org. He is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com