Syria’s ‘Operation Villagio Blaze’ revealed
By Kerry Patton at the Examiner:
Arson is one of the oldest tactics used by terrorists. It is a tactic often executed by less life threatening terrorist such as animal rights and environmentalists groups. Rarely do we see the terror tactic of arson conducted by state sponsored terror groups, until today.
There are three basic forms of terror support—state sponsored, state supported, and non-state supported. Some government institutions claim terrorism is either state supported or non-state supported missing the fact that some groups have been formed and directed by countries like Iran and Syria which make them state sponsored.
The majority of domestic terrorist groups such as the Animal Liberation Front are non-state supported. They receive virtually nothing from any nation state—no support or very little support of any worth.
Groups like Al Qaeda weren’t necessarily created by a nation state nor are they necessarily directed to conduct operations per the instructions by a nation state but they often obtain support through intelligence, safe haven, or logistics which would make Al Qaeda a state supported terror group.
In today’s day and age, and with the ongoing threat of Iran and the continued bloodshed coming out of Syria, it is critical to accept that some terrorist groups are not just receiving support by nation states, but many are becoming state sponsored groups.
A state sponsored terrorist group is similar to a state supported terrorist organization merely in the fact that they receive support by a nation state. The difference though is the fact that state sponsored groups are at times created by a nation state and are often directed by a nation supporting them to conduct specific operations. Hezbollah, a Lebanese based terrorist group with global reach is in fact a state sponsored terrorist organization.
Hezbollah was created by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp. Through Hezbollah’s charter, it is known that their supreme leader is the Ayatollah of Iran—even Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, must answer to the Ayatollah.
Groups like Al Qaeda and their Shi’ite counterpart, Hezbollah, have enough support to conduct large scale operations which are often highly sophisticated and complex. They have the support needed by a nation state to procure military grade explosives, sound and executable intelligence, etc.
There are times when nation states perform clandestine operations and those operations are construed as a form of terror. Remember, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” When this happens, the act or tactic would still be construed as state sponsored terror. Syria is indeed a state sponsor of terrorism even though they didn’t necessarily create a known terrorist group.
In May, Doha experienced a terrorist attack which left 19 persons dead. The attack incorporated one of the most elementary yet highly successful tactics—arson. Doha’s Villagio Mall was set ablaze killing 13 children, four school teachers, and two firemen.
Al Arabiya was able to obtain highly classified cables proving the incident in Doha was actually not an accident. It was a state sponsored attack on a civilian target conducted by the Syrian regime. While this may be construed as a clandestine operation, the fact remains that it was still terrorism by all definitions.
In one of the cables obtained by Al Arabiya, Syrian Major General Dhu al-Himma Shaleesh, head of the president’s Special Security Force, named the operation “Villagio Blaze.”
It is apparent that the Syrian regime has capabilities to conduct terrorist operations throughout the Middle East far beyond their own borders. “Villagio Blaze” was an operation of retaliation and more importantly, it was an operation crossing over multiple nation borders far away from Syria.
Qatar assisted the Free Syrian Army through multiple measures which includes their financing. Through support of the Free Syrian Army, Assad and his regime targeted Qatar’s capital. If the US supported Assad’s opposition, could Assad direct similar operations inside our own homeland?
Kerry Patton, a combat disabled veteran, is the author of ‘Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies’ and the children’s book ‘American Patriotism’. You can follow him on Facebook or at kerry-patton.com/.
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