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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/2/17

Bulgarian Weapons Ratline to Syrian Islamists

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[A similar version of this article first published at Inside Syria Media Center]

Inside Syria Media Center has written about an investigation to expose U.S.-backed sources of weapon supplies to the ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria.

The U.S. supplier list includes Chemring Group PLC (UK) with global operations including the U.S. based operations of Chemring Ordinance, which signed a contract with the American government and received $47 million in accordance with the Non-Standard Equipment and Weapons Procurement Program. Orbital ATK, another U.S. company was granted $50 million within the program.

The Bulgarian newspaper Trud, which initiated a journalistic investigation, sent an official request to both companies to clarify what the received money was spent on. Chemring responded that some ammunition for the U.S. and its allied armies was purchased from Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi(VMZ-Sopot). It included 122mm rockets for the Grad MLRS, 73mm anti-tank shells and 40mm ammo for rocket launchers. The other company, Orbital ATK, simply ignored the request.

Ammo of these types is not in service in the U.S. army. Chemring Ordinance refused to disclose which U.S. allies it was intended for referring to the confidentiality of the supply contract. To be mentioned is that earlier Inside Syria Media Center wrote a piece on military vehicle deliveries carried out by the Liberty Passion ship via the port of Aqaba in Jordan on the pretext of tackling ISIS. In this case, the Bulgarian weapon supplies to al-Qaeda are transported via the largest Saudi port of Jeddah.

First, the munitions produced by VMZ-Sopot and purchased by the U.S. are delivered to the Bulgarian port of Burgas to be loaded on the Marianne Danica contracting carrier. This carrier has already traded twice in the route from Burgas to Jeddah.

To be noted is that the carrier makes no calls at any ports while spending on average 8 hours in Burgas and Jeddah -- a minimum time required for fueling and cargo-handling operations, according to the tracking website

At the same time, Marianne Danica officially declares that it transports included extremely dangerous cargo. According to automated Identification System (AIS) the cargo type is Hazard A (Major) which is the class for explosives and weapons. However, this cargo is evidently not intended for Saudi Arabia as its army is equipped with the armament provided by Western states only.

Neither the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Bulgaria nor the owner of the ship H. Folmer & Co have officially provided the information on the transported cargo along the route Burgas-Jeddah and the Bulgarian weapons' recipient country.

Moreover, Amnesty International declares this company and carrier had already been involved in a scandal while carrying tear-gas and riot control weapons, including arms to Egypt in 2011. Then, the US State Department spokesperson admitted that H. Folmer & Co had been granted a license to transport armaments.

The fact of Bulgarian weapons deliveries to terrorists is confirmed by the Free Syrian Army deputy commander Col. Malik al-Kurdi. In an interview with the Trud newspaper, he claimed that "a headquarters (HQ) has been set up in Turkey and Jordan to ensure cooperation between the special services of 15 states. We warned the U.S. and the EU that the weapons delivered in this HQ gets directly into the hands of the terrorist organizations."

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Bulgarian-made PK variant machine guns and an RPG-7 rocket launchers were used in Western Aleppo Province in Syria, according to a Syrian opposition commander. Source: balkaninsight

It looks like a double game of a "ratline" for special services of various countries to arm and finance al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra. This most certainly is happening in Syria. This falls under their own countries definition of terrorism when others pursue these practices.

The recipient of the Bulgarian weapon purchased by the U.S. became evident in December 2016 when two million shells and four thousand rockets for the Grad were found at depos in the eastern districts of liberated Aleppo. The depos belonged to Jabhat al-Nusra.

VMZ-Sopot has announced it's hiring additional employees and has adopted continuous shift working to keep up with the demand of the new orders from the Trump administration.

In 16 years, the U.S. government has not avenged the victims of the attacks of September 11th, nor eliminated al-Qaeda. Instead it has become well known that the U.S. keeps supplying "freedom fighters" (a.k.a. terrorists) with weapons and financing supplied by the American taxpayers.
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I'm a C-Editor, Sophie Mangal. I'm a member of Inside Syria Media Center. I monitor the situation in Syria, cease fire, Aleppo etc and write articles.

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