A Dearborn man captured on an Islamic State battlefield this month was charged in an unsealed indictment Tuesday with providing material support to the Islamic State.
The indictment, dated July 19, was unsealed five days after it was reported that Ibraheem Musaibli, 28, was taken into custody by coalition-backed forces this month while trying to flee the Middle Euphrates River Valley in northern Syria, according to WXYZ-TV, which first reported his capture.
He is believed to be one of only two male Americans captured alive on an Islamic State battlefield and his case presents one of the first times the Trump administration is using federal courts to prosecute a returning foreign fighter.
Musaibli arrived in the Indiana on Tuesday and was transferred to face charges in U.S. District Court in Detroit, where he faces arraignment Wednesday.
The indictment accuses Musaibli of providing support to ISIS since April 2015. ISIS is a designated foreign terrorist organization. He used several aliases, including Abu Shifa Musaibli and Abu ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Yemeni, according to the government.
“The National Security Division will not tolerate threats to our country from terrorist organizations like ISIS — not least of all those that come from our own citizens,” John Demers, assistant attorney general of national security, said in a statement. “Musaibli’s alleged provision of material support to ISIS put the United States at risk and may have endangered the lives of countless innocent people. I am confident that he will face justice for his crimes, and I hope that his case sends a clear message that we will hold our citizens accountable who are apprehended overseas and tried to join a terrorist organization such as ISIS.”
The portrayal is at odds with a description provided by his family. Musaibli is no terrorist but was lured by fellow Muslims into coming to Syria to study religion and work, younger brother Abdullah Musaibli said last week.
The Justice Department in Detroit has experience prosecuting people on terrorism-related charges. Underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was sentenced to life in federal prison for the failed Christmas Day 2009 terror attack aboard a Detroit-bound airliner, and Detroit resident Sebastian Gregerson, an Islamic State “soldier” accused of plotting violent jihad, was sentenced last year to 45 months in federal prison.
Abdulmutallab and Gregerson were represented by the Federal Defender Office, though Abdulmutallab later defended himself with assistance from a court-appointed attorney.
“The indictment alleges that, for a substantial period of time, defendant Musaibli provided material support to ISIS — one of the most violent terrorist organizations in the world. During that same time, American-backed coalition forces were fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said. “We will vigorously prosecute anyone who provides, or even attempts to provide, support to terrorists.”
Relatives, public records and legal experts helped establish a narrative timeline of Ibraheem Musaibli’s final months in the United States and, according to his family, attempts to escape an Islamic State prison with help from the FBI.
In other news involving the Islamic State and the United States, if you ever thought Obama armed Islamic terror groups, your suspicions were correct.
U.S. military equipment and ammunition, sent to Syria as part of a failed Obama administration plan to find and arm fictional “moderate forces” to defeat Islamic State were instead simply handed over to an Al Qaeda group, according to the man who said he himself brokered the deal.
“I communicated with Al Qaeda’s branch, Al Nusra, to protect and safely escort me and my soldiers for two hours from North Aleppo to West Aleppo,” Maj. Anas Ibrahim Obaid, better known on the battlefield as Abu Zayd, told Fox News from his home in the western Aleppo area. “In exchange, I gave them five pickup trucks and ammunition.”
Those trucks and ammo were issued to him by the Obama regime in 2015, part of a $500 million Department of Defense effort to “train and equip” a new “ideologically moderate” force to battle ISIS. The program, one of at least two designed to funnel arms to mythical moderate Syrian rebels, proved to be a spectacular failure for the Obama administration, or an amazing success, depending on how you view the former president.
Zayd, who said he defected from the Syrian Army to the opposition in 2012, described a program that was rife with inconsistencies and incompetencies, which ironically is consistent with everything about the Obama regime.
He claimed the main prerequisite for inclusion in the program was proof of association with a group that had fought ISIS, the Islamic State. That was followed by a few basic questions, like, “With which faction did you fight?” and “What do you think about ISIS?”
After undergoing training in Turkey, the first batch of utterly incompetent 54 trained fighters crossed back to Syria in July 2015 – only to be almost instantly ambushed by Al Nusra militants. Several of the men were kidnapped, and their U.S.-issued weapons were stolen.
Zayd said he was part of a second group to be sent into Syria — this time without proper firepower.
The U.S. trainers “wanted us to go into Syria without weapons because of the ambush, and said we could get the weapons inside instead. This was crazy,” Zayd recalled. “We refused.”
The weapons issue was worked out, and the rebels eventually started their journey back to Syria on Sept. 19. But Turkish border guards found something else in their bags: Syrian regime flags, rather than the flags of the opposition group the fighters were being sent to support.
Zayd said fighters charged back to their base in Turkey, demanding answers. Obama’s U.S trainers took responsibility for the “flag mistake,” Zayd claims, and the following day the rebels continued back to Syria.
But morale was already a problem, Zayd said, and fighters who were being paid a $250 monthly salary by Obama’s Defense Department began defecting. His group of 72 shrank to just 25, he said.
Zayd called the Al Qaeda-affiliated leaders and made the arrangement to hand over the five U.S-issued trucks and scores of ammunition, in exchange for free passage and an armed escort home.
“The Americans were so angry when they found out, they cut my salary,” Zayd said nonchalantly. “But this was our only option through their territory to get home without getting killed.”
Zayd said Obama’s Pentagon halted the troubled program about a month after his deal with Al Nusra was exposed. “I got many messages the Americans do not want to deal with me anymore. But they can’t get their weapons back,” he boasted.
Over Skype from his living room, Zayd showed off an assortment of M-16 and M-24 sniper rifles, as well as ammo, mortar rounds and machine guns. He claimed most in his arsenal were U.S.-issued, with more in a nearby warehouse.
Sources close to Zayd said his American-funded goods routinely surface on the black market, and constitute something of a lucrative business. Zayd today remains a commander for the Free Syrian Army.
A second Obama regime program, “Timber Sycamore,” was started by the CIA in late 2012 with the similar aim of arming rebels.
This particular operation was active along the Turkish border to Syria’s north, and a Jordanian crossing in the south, referred to as the “Southern Front.”
But Syrian opposition figures say this program was also infiltrated, with arms falling into the hands of ISIS or Al Nusra.
In July 2017, citing its ineffectiveness and on recommendation from then-CIA director Mike Pompeo, President Trump ended the faltering Syrian rebel supply program. While the cost of the program and the amount of arms and aid provided remains mostly classified, it is estimated that more that $1 billion was spent on the effort.
The CIA declined to comment on this story. A spokesperson for the Defense Department acknowledged that they “clearly faced challenges” with the now-discontinued train-and-equip effort.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
July 31st, 2018