The ongoing trend of Al Qaida groups’ affiliation with Western media is becoming increasingly hard to explain, was it not for these groups being precisely the tools the West willingly supports on the ground in Syria.
CNN was recently caught collaborating with an Al Qaida affiliated islamist in making a documentary on Syria, later to leave his name only in a footnote while CNN anchor Clarissa Ward was praised for “going underground with rebels in Syria”. Watch CNN collaborator video below as he praisess and interviews the spiritual leader of Al Nusra Front, Al Qaida in Syria.
Bilal Abdul Kareem, of On the Ground News, was contracted by CNN to film a documentary called Undercover in Syria. Kareem is a self-proclaimed media activist living in rebel-held Syria and is considered “one of the top English-language propagandists for al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabat al-Nusra,” according to an Alternet exposé on Abdul Kareem and his connections to terrorism and CNN, reports Activist Post.
Apparently the relationship soured as the documentary won the Peabody Award and the acclaimed Overeas Press Club Award, CNN hardly even mentioning that it was Kareem who made the film. Instead CNN Clarissa Ward was praised for “going underground in Syria”, while Kareem had been the one filming it all and then giving the footage to CNN.
Then Al Arabiya reportedly noted that Kareem had been a part of Al Qaida since 2012. The video below features Kareem praising Al Nusra Front spiritual leader, Abdulla al-Muhayisini. In an interview with Alternet, done over WhatsApp, Abdullah Abu Azzam said that rebel fighters/jihadis “refer to Abdul Kareem as the “American mujahid” (mujahid is Arabic for jihadist).”
However, one of Abdul Kareem’s closest colleagues has also been accused of membership in Syria’s al-Qaeda franchise. Akif Razaq, an employee of Abdul Kareem’s online media group, On the Ground News, was recently stripped of British citizenship for his alleged involvement with al-Nusra. A notice presented by British authorities to Razaq’s family in Birmingham accused him of being “aligned with an al-Qaeda-aligned group” and declared that he “presents a risk to the national security of the United Kingdom.”During Abdul Kareem’s Facebook video response to the Al Arabiya report, he was seated beside Razap. Razaq has also co-hosted On the Ground News segments with him.While Abdul Kareem insisted there was “no proof” of his membership in the Salafi-jihadist organization, rebels inside Syria tell a different story…Last December, AlterNet’s Grayzone Project exposed Bilal Abdul Kareem’s involvement with some of Syria’s most notorious jihadist figures and his open propagation of their sectarian ideology. Most prominent among the clerics granted a friendly audience by Abdul Kareem was Abdullah al-Muhaysini, the Saudi Arabian hate preacher and warlord praised by Abdul Kareem as “probably the most loved cleric in the Syrian territories today.”Muhaysini is indeed popular among the Al Qaeda-allied rebels of Syria, and holds considerable sway over the entire region of Idlib. He has appeared in refugee camps to recruit child soldiers, raised millions of dollars for jihadist offensives and granted his blessing to the mass executions of captured Syrian soldiers on the grounds that the captives were kuffar, or blasphemers. The cleric’s goal, like that of ISIS, has been to establish an exclusively Sunni state purged of Shia, Druze and Christian citizens of Syria, and run according to a strict interpretation of Islamic law.