According to The New York Times and the Saudi owned pan-Arab news network al-Arabiya, the Islamic State has added Chinese Manpads to its growing arsenal of sophisticated weapons.
During a battle near the northern Iraq city of Baiji an IS fighter used a Chinese-made FN6 surface-to-air missile to shoot down an Iraqi Army Mi-35M attack helicopter. Images purportedly released by IS show “a jihadist hiding behind a wall with a Chinese-made missile launcher balanced on his shoulder; the missile blasting from the tube, its contrail swooping upward as it tracked its target; the fiery impact and the wreckage on a rural road,” the Times reported earlier this week.
According to the Times, the Pentagon has no conclusive evidence the Islamic State has such advanced weaponry in its possession. However, as reported by Infowars.com in April, al-Nusra, now affiliated with the Islamic State, receives arms via Jamal Maarouf and the Syrian Revolutionary Front. Maarouf told The Independent if “the people who support us [U.S., Saudis, Qataris] tell us to send weapons to another group, we send them.”
In February the Wall Street Journal reported Russian-made antitank guided missiles and Chinese man-portable air-defense systems were “up for grabs, already waiting in warehouses in Jordan and Turkey.”
The weapons now flow across the border from Turkey and are delivered to the “rebels” who are largely jihadists collaborating with the Islamic State. “The moderates, often underfunded, fragmented and chaotic, appear no match for Islamist units, which include fighters from organizations designated ‘terrorist’ by the United States,” Reuters reported last June. Since that time, the majority of the “moderate” rebels have defected to al-Nusra and IS.
“Another opposition figure involved in supplying the rebels [now affiliated with jihadist groups] said there had been a noticeable relaxation in recent days of the strict restrictions the US and Turkey had put on arms flows over the Turkish border,” The Guardian reported in March.
It not rational to assume the Pentagon is clueless about the transfer of sophisticated weapons to intermediaries working with the Islamic State. As revelations about the CIA’s Benghazi arms “rat line” operation demonstrated, the U.S. government has worked with Libyan Islamists to transfer a huge stockpile of surface-to-air missiles to the Syrian rebels who are primarily al-Qaeda, al-Nusra and IS.
Last August, we reported:
In fact, the State Department, under the guidance of ambassador Stevens, was moving to round up the missiles and send them to al-Qaeda in Syria. Prior to this, in December, 2011, the U.S. claimed to have secured 5,000 surface-to-air missiles and destroyed them outside of the village of Sidi Bin Nur in Libya. Doubtless, instead, they became part of the CIA’s cache destined for Syria.
The influx of sophisticated Chinese Manpads will certainly up the ante in Syria and Iraq as the United States and its partners stage a largely theatrical effort to rollback IS. Airstrikes against the terrorist army – now providing to be fruitless as it makes gains in Kobani and elsewhere in Syria and Iraq – will become virtually impossible with the threat of missiles taking U.S. aircraft out of the picture.
This may in fact be part of the plan to incrementally increase U.S. re-involvement in Iraq and a full-blown “boots on the ground” invasion of Syria. Captured U.S. airmen losing their heads on Youtube to IS butchers will provide a wealth of propaganda that can be exploited to further agitate the American public and provide the consensus necessary to jump start a flagging forever war in the Middle East.