Thomas Wictor

Jihadists in Syria fall into the Saudi trap

Jihadists in Syria fall into the Saudi trap

In August of 2015, General Anwar Eshki gave an amazing interview to the Wall Street Journal. A former Saudi National Security Adviser, Eshki laid out in plain language what would happen in the Middle East. The Saudis had prepared a trap for the Islamic State; what nobody knew at the time was that this strategy would be used to defeat all jihadists in Syria.

Here’s what the general said.

I believe Daesh will like Pac Man eat all the terrorists until it becomes one big terrorist. Then we can destroy them.

In northern and central Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra—the al-Nusra Front—has taken control of all the jihadist groups. And now the strategic special operators of the Saudi-led Muslim Coalition are destroying this “one big terrorist.”

Jihadists come together

Here’s what happened yesterday and today.

Syrian rebels and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front have mounted an offensive against Syrian government forces and on Saturday took a strategic hill south of Aleppo from government control, a monitoring group said.

Friday’s attack began with three suicide bombings carried out by Nusra Front south of Talat al-‘Iss hill. Rebel and Nusra Front forces then took control of the hill, the [Syrian Observatory for Human Rights] and a Nusra Front statement said.

Nusra Front said in the statement it ambushed government forces as they withdrew toward the town of Hadhar to the east.

On paper, here’s who’s fighting in Aleppo.


This is the area we’re talking about.


The press and everybody else says that this is a fight between Assad and the rebels, but there are thousands of Arab League and allied strategic special operators all over Syria, posing as Kurds, rebels, jihadists, and the Syrian Arab Army. These men have their own armor, artillery, air support, and other weapons that I won’t discuss.

Nobody seems to understand the new way of fighting wars. Every single Arab League and allied soldier in Syria is a commando. That means they’re sabotaging all means of transportation and communication, they’re killing commanders, they’re marking targets for air strikes, they’re spreading disinformation, and they’re carrying out night raids in which they destroy everything they come across.

In 1942, the incomprehensibly destructive British 1st Special Air Service consisted of about 500 men.


There’s currently a minimum of 10,000 Arab League and allied strategic special operators in Syria.

Jihadists can’t fight

Here are two videos that you should watch. I apologize for the singing, called nasheed. It makes my skin crawl. I associate it exclusively with atrocities.

First we have something from Faylaq al-Sham, or the Sham Legion.

Where to begin?

Using mortars as noisemakers.


There’s no way that the round hit its target, and you can’t be an effective mortar operator if you’re afraid of the weapon.

Next, no trigger discipline.


He’ll shoot off his own feet in fairly short order.

Next, wasting a BGM-71 TOW missile on an empty, parked front-end loader.


Next, a human target armed with an American M249.


In a real battle, he’ll last four seconds.

Next, jihadists spraying bullets into the sky while exposing themselves to enemy fire.


Next, a sniper with no cover.


A waste of a very expensive rifle.

Next, jihadists harmlessly shooting the air and the ground.


The guy on the left is too stupid to get out of the way of the hot, empty cartridge cases pelting him in the face.

Next, a guy auditioning for Rambo Five.


Like all his buddies, he has no training or sense of self-preservation.

Dead men takbir-ing.


They were set up. It’s called the “flypaper strategy.” Get all the world’s jihadists to flock to one place, and then kill them.

Superstar jihadists

For some reason al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria is considered effective. I don’t know why. This video put out by the al-Nusra Front shows abysmal capabilities.

They’re driving around in tanks and infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), shooting at empty buildings.


A tank rolls right into the line of fire of a BMP IFV hosing down a building with the coaxial machine gun.


The tank commander was standing in the hatch.


It was sheer, dumb luck that he wasn’t killed.

This guy loiters in an open field with his hands in his pockets, rubbernecking.


The machine gunner sitting on top of the tank opens fire on his own men.


Naturally, they shoot back.


Now the gunner inside the tank opens fire with the coaxial machine gun, mindlessly raking empty buildings.


Finally they drive up to a berm and jam the muzzle of the main gun into the dirt.




The bore evacuator (red arrow) is having a hard time keeping the poisonous fumes from traveling back down the gun tube and into the turret.


That could explain everything: The whole tank crew has severe brain damage.

The gunner now tries to traverse the turret to the left, hitting a big pile of dirt.


In another week, the al-Nusra Front will have broken the tank.

Jihadists can’t win

You know what makes an effective warrior? The ability to know when to put on a display and when to be serious. Saudis are marvelous at displays.


But there’s virtually no combat footage of Saudi troops. They have perfect operations security (OPSEC). Below are the only two Saudi combat videos in existence. Both are from Yemen in 2009.

Only four men created that brief storm of bullets.

Next is a machine-gun post under assault by Houthis.

An American .50-caliber Browning M2 heavy machine gun is used as a long-range sniper’s rifle, and a German Rheinmetall MG 3 general-purpose machine gun serves as a scythe, mowing down enemy by the dozen.

When it comes to fighting, Saudis depend on massive and accurate firepower. The men above are conventional troops. They hadn’t been trained the way most Saudi soldiers are today.

Below is a short, olive-skinned man embedded with the Syrian militia Jaysh al-Thuwar. He’s fighting jihadists in Aleppo Governorate.

His training is such that his rifle is completely steady even as he fires on the run.


And he fired ten rounds as he crossed the street. I’m positive that he’s a Saudi strategic special operator. Go back and review the marksmanship in those videos by the Sham Legion and the al-Nusra Front.

Things will end very badly for them.

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