Photo: mise en scène: the suburbs of Damas. Seated at the table in the forefront, we recognize Zahran Allouche (who died in December 2015). Saudi Arabia is providing the weapons while the British SAS, the military advisers. The photograph is embossed with the logo designed for the “Army of Islam”. The ensemble was put together during a communications campaign of the British government.
The Guardian uncovers that sub-contractors of the UK Foreign Ministry of Affairs, working under the supervision of the Minister of Defense, are put in charge of communicating with “moderate armed groups” in Syria. They produce videos, photos, military reports and brochures with logos of combatant groups.
Following the chemical weapons affair in the summer of 2013, a budget of 2.4 million pounds (3 millions euros) per year is allotted to them. First this was earmarked for the crisis management company Regester Larkin. But today, it Is channelled to Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat), a company set up in 2014. Colonel Paul Tilley set up the two companies, based in London and Washington. He employs about 50 people in Istanbul. These companies have concluded another contract for the war in Yemen.
This operation is quite separate from the one carried out by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The latter depends on the MI6.
What’s interesting is that the documents the Guardian uncovered, confirm that these companies guarantee communication that promotes the Hazzm Movement and the Army of Islam. According to the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, this group would in reality be a “moderate” denomination, a cover for Al-Qaeda combatants. However, in the Security Council, the United Kingdom is averse to it being registered on the list of terrorist organizations because it is participating in the Geneva negotiations and this must be encouraged.
“How Britain funds the ’propaganda war’ against Isis in Syria”, Ian Cobain, Alice Ross, Rob Evans, Mona Mahmood, The Guardian, May 3rd, 2016.