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 Fertilizers shipped from Turkey to ISIS to prepare suicide car bombs

Red letters on the sacks identified their contents as ammonium nitrate

Mixed with fuel oil, the compound forms an explosive that can be 85 % as powerful as TNT

AKCAKALE, Turkey —

The laborers work all day, piling bags of fertilizer onto carts and wheeling them through the crossing that connects this southern border town AKCAKALE, to Syria.

The Syrian town next door is firmly controlled by the extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh), as is clear from the black flag flying over downtown.

And while the fertilizer, ammonium nitrate, is widely used for agriculture, it has also been used by terrorists around the world — including the Islamic State — to build powerful explosives.

Few here think the fertilizer is meant to help Syrian farmers.

“It is not for farming. It is for bombs,” said Mehmet Ayhan, an opposition politician from Akcakale who is running for Parliament. But he did not oppose the deliveries, saying they created jobs in his impoverished town.

“As long as the Turkish people benefit from this — regardless of where it goes on the other side — it is a good thing,” Mr. Ayhan said.

The rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, in Iraq and Syria has terrified the world.

Europe is struggling to stop its Muslims from slipping off to war; the United States is leading Arab countries in a bombing campaign; and Turkey has vowed to close its southern border to foreign fighters seeking to join the jihad.

But the open transport of ammonium nitrate into Islamic State territory points to lingering questions about Turkey’s commitment to isolating its jihadist neighbors.

Yet for the people here, the cross-border trade offers some relief in an economy that has been battered by the war in Syria.

Analysts said Turkey had recently made efforts to secure its border and to halt the flow of foreign fighters. But the country still allows cross-border trade that gives the Islamic State access to goods from energy drinks to fertilizer.

“Trade continues to go into the north, not just to ISIS, but ISIS is a tangential beneficiary of the trade policy,” said Aaron Stein, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute who studies Turkey.

Cross-border connections have long defined Akcakale, which is home to 90,000 Turks and directly across the border from the Syrian town of Tel Abyad. The towns share so many family and trade ties that residents said they used to be like one town.

But the war has split them. Fleeing Syrians now outnumber the Turks in Akcakale; they have opened restaurants, and they work for lower wages. Smugglers who once moved sugar, tea and cement now move items like foreign jihadists.

One Turkish smuggler used to help Syrian rebels transfer goods and people across the border. Then the Islamic State offered him $35 a head to get its fighters into Syria, he said.

He moved 25 in, nearly all of them foreigners, before quitting because he worried that the Islamic State would threaten Turkey.

“I worked for them for two months, and I still regret that I let all those people in,” he said, withholding his name for fear of the jihadists.

Outside the border gate on a recent day, scores of Syrians lined up to return home. Nearby, traders sold sandwiches, drinks and cigarettes, an indulgence banned under the Islamic State.

Also for sale were black gowns for women needing to meet the jihadists’ dress code.

In line, Nasser al-Ali, 30, lifted a cigarette to his mouth with a tattooed arm. The jihadists also oppose tattoos.

“I can throw this away and cover this,” he said with a shrug, pointing to his cigarette and his tattoo.

There was little work in the city of  Raqqa, he said, but life under the jihadists was not bad.

“No one bothers you if you don’t bother anyone,” he said. When asked if the Islamic State would last, he smiled and said, “God willing.”

Four times on two recent days, reporters for The New York Times saw large wooden carts loaded with fertilizer enter the crossing and come back empty a short time later.

The workers then refilled their carts from a pile of sacks as large as a semi-truck in a nearby lot.

Red letters on the sacks identified their contents as ammonium nitrate.

When the reporters arrived at the crossing, the carts stopped moving. When asked what they contained, a City Hall employee who was escorting the reporters replied, “Flour.”

Residents said the shipments began a few months earlier between traders on each side. Some residents said the fertilizer was for agriculture, noting that it is sold legally in Turkey and widely used for farming.

But ammonium nitrate has also been a vital ingredient in some of the world’s most notorious terrorist attacks, including the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 and the bombings of the United States Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.

It has also been widely used by militants in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by the Islamic State.

Turkey, too, has been a victim; bombs made with ammonium nitrate struck Istanbul in 2003, killing scores of people.

Shown pictures of the sacks, John Goodpaster, a forensic chemist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said they were clearly marked as ammonium nitrate.

Mixed with fuel oil, the compound forms an explosive that can be 85 % as powerful as TNT, he said. Twenty pounds of the mix can fill a suicide vest, while 200 pounds can make a car bomb.

A bomb filled with about 45,000 pounds could damage 16 city blocks, Dr. Goodpaster said, adding that there appeared to be at least 55,000 pounds in the pile of sacks waiting to enter the crossing.

“That is a definite concern,” he said.

Turkish officials failed to explain why the substance was allowed to cross.

A spokesman for the Akcakale’s mayor’s office, Mustafa Guçlu, first denied that any fertilizer was crossing, then said that if there was any, it would be for agriculture.

An official in the governor’s office for Sanliurfa Province, which includes Akcakale, said fertilizer was not allowed to cross.

Another official, reached by phone at the crossing, said that about 500 Syrians returned home every few days and that each was allowed 30 or 40 bags of low-nitrate fertilizer, which is less explosive.

“There is no way high-ration nitrate fertilizer can go through, because we have ISIS on the other side,” the official said. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the news media.

Around town, the fertilizer shipments were common knowledge.

“Of course they use it to make bombs,” said Mustafa Kurt, a cafe owner.

Like many, he said he suspected that Islamic State fighters regularly passed through town, facing little interference from the authorities. “How can we tell the difference if they dress normal and aren’t carrying guns?” he said.

But he did not worry that they would launch attacks in Turkey, because that could hurt them in Syria. “They need us,” Mr. Kurt said. “Because if they hurt us, we can close the gate.”

Sabine Choucair  shared this link

Karam Shoumali and I were visiting the Turkish border town of Akcakale when we made a strange discovery: large shipments of fertilizer commonly used to make explosives crossing the border to territory controlled by the Islamic State. Raises questions about Turkey’s commitment to isolating its jihadist neighbors. With Ceylan Yeginsu and Christopher Chivers.

The fertilizer ammonium nitrate, which was used in explosives at the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, has been moving into an extremist-controlled Syrian town…
nytimes.com|By BEN HUBBARD

Cluster, Orange gas,Phosphorous, depleted uranium bombs… And harsh events and calamities

Ten years ago, the US Secretary of State Colin Powell pronounced to the United Nations his “famous” speech on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Evidence that this stance proved to be false.

In his book “I got lucky”, Powell wrote that this speech will remain a “stain” in his career and that he will remember this 5 February as “deeply” the day of his birth. (And what he did after his rebirth?)

In 1996, during a broadcast on CBS, Lesley Stahl asked Madeleine Albright, as US Secretary of State: “It is estimated 500,000 children died in Iraq following the embargo American against this country. mean, it is more dead children than at Hiroshima. Was the price worth really… Ms. Albright?”

Albright coldly replied: “I think that’s a very difficult choice, but the price… We believe that the price worth it.”

Exactly
Exactly

Israel was accused by the UN and human rights organizations of launching and spreading 4 million cluster bombs in south Lebanon in August 13, 2006. Israel daily Haaretz confirmed: “We infested particular zones in Lebanon with 1,800 bombs containing 1.2 million of cluster bombs…”

Artillery Israeli soldiers declared that in the last 10 days of Israel preemptive war on Lebanon, the army used phosphorous bombs that are prohibited by international conventions. The use of phosphorous bombs was confirmed by Edery, in the name of Amir Peretz, Israel Defense minister.

The commander of a unit of multiple rocket launchers declared “What we did is totally crazy and barbarous…”

John Kerry participated in the Viet Nam war. Has anyone heard Kerry apologizing for the usage of Orange gas, a defoliating agent? During the war, after the war?

The US used all kinds of prohibited weapons in Iraq for 8 years. Has Kerry apologized for the US usage of chemical weapons in Iraq?

I am wondering:

1. How the Palestinian/Israeli “peace” negotiation going on? Has it stopped? Any progress? Any alternative road map?

2. How’s Egypt upheaval faring? Is the situation stable and improving?

3. Have the daily suicide car bombs in Iraq subsiding?

4. What’s going on in Yemen? How many drone attacks were approved this month?

5. Is the famine in Somalia under control?

6. Was this chemical attack in Syria staged, a pure set up, in order to side track the manifold US failure in stabilizing this “Greater Middle East“?

7. Has Obama gone publicly to announce any positive and constructive resolution for any crisis? Internally and externally?

8. Had Obama anything to say about the Washington March anniversary? Had he promised to reverse the worsening trends for the Black citizens since 1960?


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2021
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