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No Gold Star for Abdullah Issa's Family

By       Message Michael Galli       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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Much confusion still surrounds Abdullah Issa's death - his exact age, his nationality, his possible rebel affiliation, even his name.1 What is not in dispute is that he was born of a mother and father, he was a child, he was severely wounded when captured, he was decapitated on video after being asked his "final wish" by U.S.-backed Syrian rebels.2,3,4 When questioned about the incident at the daily State Department briefing on July 19, spokesman Mark Toner said, "We're seeking more information."5 Asked again on August 3, fifteen days later, an eternity for the unparalleled sophistication of the U.S. intelligence apparatus, Toner responded that the State Department was still "looking into" that incident."6 When pressed by the same reporter about whether or not the U.S. would quit supporting the rebels responsible for the beheading, Toner refused to answer. Even though the men in the video declare themselves to be members of the U.S.-sponsored Nour al-Din al-Zinki movement, and the movement's leadership has acknowledged and condemned the beheading as not "typical practices nor our general policies," this, despite a July 5 report by Amnesty International that "torture and summary executions" by Nour al-Din al-Zinki are part of its modus operandi, Toner stated that the State Department is still trying to determine what group is responsible for the video.7,8,9,10 When asked, "What does a rebel group in Syria have to do to not receive U.S. funds any longer?" Toner explained:

Now, let me be very clear that we don't condone any of the activities that you just cited. [P]ossible beheading of a young child, any human-rights abuses -- any of those things would give us serious cause for concern. That said, where we are in the broader geopolitical or political situation in Syria is -- and one of the ongoing discussions that we've been having with Russia is how do we clearly delineate between these known terrorist groups -- Nusrah and Daesh -- and the moderate opposition, and how do we have a clear understanding of who is where so that we can, longer game here, get back in place a cessation of hostilities that is credible, that can also then jumpstart the political process.

To this, the reporter stated, "So it sounds to me like what you're saying is that even if these allegations are true, there's still a chance that the United States would continue supporting these groups. Is that what you're saying?"

MR TONER: I'm not making any -- I'm not, frankly, answering any hypotheticals.11

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We would do well to remember that it was the same "geopolitical" argument that led the United States to finance and support the atrocities of the Mujahedeen against Russians and civilians in Afghanistan, a policy that gave rise to the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, and Isis.12,13,14 As long as we remain addicted to a belief in American exceptionalism, an addiction far more destructive than heroin, children like Abdullah Issa will never be safe from the serrated edge of the American tax dollar, yours and mine. Consider the words of Joe Biden at last month's DNC:

Let me tell you what I literally told every world leader I've met with and I've met them all. It's never, never, never been a good bet to bet against America. We have the finest fighting force in the world. (Audience chants "USA! USA!") Not only do we have the largest economy in the world, we have the strongest economy in the world. We have the most productive workers in the world... We never bow. We never bend. We never break when confronted with crisis. No, we endure. We overcome. And we always, always, always move forward... The 21st century is going to be the American century... We are America, second to none, and we own the finish line. Don't forget it. God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Come on! We're America.15

Abdullah Issa's last wish knowing he was about to die? "Don't slaughter me. Shoot me." His U.S.-supported captor's response? "Slaughter. We are worse than Isis." The murderer then calls for his knife by its nickname--"Where is " Abo Ali?"16 A young girl, a little boy, and a dog can be seen in the background bearing witness to Abdullah Issa's 21st-century "finish line."

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1. Syrian Civil War:

2. Conversation between Abdullah Tayseer Al Issa and Nour Al Dein Al Zenki members before the beheading (Eng subs):

3. A rebel crime and Western lessons in Syria:

4. Another US Foreign Policy Triumph: Syrian "Moderate Rebels" Behead Innocent Child:

5. U.S. Department of State:

6. U.S. Department of State:

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7. Video of Abdullah Tayseer Al Issa being captured by Nour Al Dein Al Zenki: 8. NDZ Statements:


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Michael Galli is the Dean of Students at Rivendell Academy, a small 7-12 interstate public school on the New Hampshire / Vermont border, where he teaches classes on media and U.S. foreign policy.

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