By Daniel McAdams
While the US government continues to face -- and vigorously deny -- charges that it secretly helps ISIS and other extremists in Syria to keep alive Obama's regime-change policy for Assad, Washington's closest ally in the region makes little pretense that it is at war with al-Qaeda and other extremists.
In fact, Israel is openly coming to the rescue of al-Qaeda's Jabhat al-Nusra just beyond the border of Israel-occupied Golan Heights.
Not only is Israel making no secret of its assistance to the same group responsible for the 9/11 attacks against the United States, Tel Aviv is inviting western media to "embed" with Israeli troops as they embark upon dangerous rescue missions into Syria. Yesterday's Daily Mail ran an article complete with photos and "IDF Footage" of the Israeli army crossing into Syria to rescue members of al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria after they were wounded by Syrian government forces fighting back the al-Qaeda/ISIS-led insurgency.
This is not just a one-off emergency aid mission. According to the article, Israel has been running a three-year medical assistance program for al-Qaeda fighters in southern Syria. The article estimates that Israel has patched up at least 1,600 Islamist extremists and sent many back to battle the secular Syrian government. The missions have been undertaken at great danger to the Israeli soldiers involved and at significant expense for a small country: more than $13 million dollars spend thus far.
As for why Israel would undertake what would on the surface look like a suicide mission -- propping up Islamist extremists who we are told are Israel's mortal enemies -- the Daily Mail reports that while Israel claims it is operating strictly out of humanitarian concerns, many believe Israel "has in fact struck a deadly 'deal with the devil' – offering support to the Sunni militants who fight the Syrian ruler Assad..."
It would not be the first time Israel has supported radical Islamists against secular groups in the Middle East. As Ron Paul pointed out years ago on the House Floor, "Hamas was encouraged and really started by Israel because they wanted Hamas to counter Yassir Arafat."
What are the implications for Washington's relations with Israel when its ally is openly coming to the aid of an organization that has attacked and killed so many Americans on US soil? With the publication of the Daily Mail article will there be calls on the Floor of Congress to sanction Israel? Will there be a cut-off of the billions of US taxpayer dollars sent yearly to Israel -- and thus indirectly to help al-Qaeda?
Will there be at least a strongly worded letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requesting that he stop acting as al-Qaeda's field hospital in southern Syria? Netanyahu told the US Congress this spring that when it comes to Islamist extremists, "the enemy of your enemy is your enemy." Was he just joking?
Or is Washington OK with Israel getting Islamist extremists back into fighting shape? Is Washington not afraid that some of these patched-up fighters may seek US or allied targets once back on the Syrian battlefield? Or does Washington have some assurance that al-Qaeda will not target US assets or operations in Syria? And if so, how did that come about?
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, then-President George W. Bush famously laid out US policy: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." Does that then mean that Israel is with the terrorists? Or is perhaps Israel still "with us" in propping up certain terrorists needed to implement the regime change policy in Syria? Are we then with Israel and the terrorists?
So confusing. So many difficult questions.
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute For Peace & Prosperity.