November 4, 2013
A province in Eastern Libya now wants to go it alone – citing weak central government – it has declared itself an autonomous region. The area is home to 60 percent of the country’s oil production and has been blocking supplies since the summer. Tripoli has rejected the declaration but the government has so far failed to appease the rebels. For more on this let’s now cross live to Paolo Raffone – analyst and expert on the Middle East.
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New World Next Week
October 10, 2013
Welcome to http://NewWorldNextWeek.com — the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week:
Story #1: Obama Swaps ‘Black Sites’ for ‘Justice at Sea’
Did Obama Swap ‘Black’ Detention Sites For Ships?
The Disappearing, Reappearing Terrorist
Developing: Gunmen Seize Libyan Prime Minister in Raid
Story #2: 23andMe Receives Patent To Create Designer Babies, Denies Plans To Do So
Google Reportedly Investing Hundreds of Millions Into Its New Life Extension Company, Calico
Story #3: Shutdown Ends Food Inspections in US, Leaving 90% of U.S. Seafood Imports Unchecked
Bees and Seeds Festival – A World Food Day Celebration
Organizer/Activist Tiffany Ayers on Portland’s Bees And Seeds Event on World Food Day October 12
Visit http://NewWorldNextWeek.com to get previous episodes in various formats to download, burn and share. And as always, stay up-to-date by subscribing to the feeds from Corbett Report http://ur1.ca/39obd and Media Monarchy http://ur1.ca/kuec Thank you.
Previous Episode: Silk Road Shutdown, Fukushima Fast Food, Exercise Pills
October 6, 2013
August 26, 2013
Two years on from the fall of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, the euphoria of the revolution has all but gone. Today, armed militias and Islamists rule much of the country fighting over territory, smuggling routes, and shares of dwindling oil revenue. To top that off, a desperate government is quietly re-activating Colonel Gaddafi’s feared surveillance apparatus, using it to hunt down dissenters. RT’s Paula Slier reports on the sobering anniversary.
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June 29, 2013
The battle lines are being drawn between Tribal loyalties and Muslim Brotherhood loyalties. Many people have died in Tripoli (40) in Benghazi (40) and also Sabha. The Government seems powerless, behind the scenes Qatar is a big player, and the weapons depots are open.
May 24, 2013
Having overthrown the Governments in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011, the U.S. government has sought to topple the Syrian government during the past two years. The CIA has been the coordinating agency for massive weapons shipments from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to armed groups fighting to topple the Syrian government.
The conflict in Syria that began more than two years ago was fueled by a wide range of grievances, some legitimate, some reactionary. But the armed rebellion inside the country is today inextricably bound to imperialism and the most reactionary regimes in the Arab world. Its aim is to destroy a secular, nationalist government that U.S. leaders view as an obstacle to their goal of dominating the entire Middle East.
The United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling vast quantities of arms, money and supplies to the Syrian opposition, and training thousands of anti-government fighters in Turkey, Jordan and elsewhere. On May 5, Israel heavily bombed an area close to the capital, Damascus.
Israeli air strikes on May 5 near Damascus (right)
Harsh economic sanctions have been imposed on Syria. The United States and its allies have waged a worldwide campaign to isolate and demonize the Syrian government.
Outside support has sustained the opposition, but not brought it victory. Thus, the leaders of the U.S.-organized “National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces” and the “Free Syrian Army” have been making repeated and urgent appeals for more direct imperialist intervention, including an air war against their own country. Those appeals have become even more urgent due to losses suffered by the splintered opposition forces in recent weeks.
“Friends of Syria”: another face of imperialism
Stepping up the imperialist-led campaign, on May 22, the so-called “Friends of Syria” met in Amman, Jordan. Led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the other “Friends” at the meeting were the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The open aim of the “Friends” is the overthrow of existing government in Syria. Its concluding statement speaks of “supporting the legitimate rights of the Syrian people” and “a new Syrian constitution with equal rights for all.”
This supposed concern for “human rights” in Syria is nothing but the crassest cynicism.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Jordan are all police-state, absolute monarchies, sustained in power by U.S. support. Saudi Arabia has never had an election, women are forbidden to drive cars and public beheadings are a frequent occurrence. Britain and France are the former colonizing powers in the region, striving to retain their influence today. Germany and Italy shared in the colonial division of Africa; half the population of Libya died under Italian rule during World War II. Turkey has long repressed the Kurdish population inside its borders, as well as unions, leftist parties and other progressive organizations. The Egyptian government is suppressing the opposition as it seeks to consolidate its power.
As the dominant world power over the past 70 years, the United States has carried out genocidal wars from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq, leaving tens of millions dead, wounded and displaced. In addition, U.S. military and intelligence forces have intervened hundreds of times in countries around the world, and today the United States maintains more than 900 military bases on every continent. Death by U.S. drone is today a regular and terrorizing feature of life for people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The “Friends” are in reality a criminal gang who have no concern whatsoever for the interests of the people of Syria – or any people anywhere, for that matter.
Say no to U.S./NATO and Israeli intervention
An international peace conference on Syria has been jointly proposed by Russia and the United States, and is tentatively set to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, in June. It is not clear yet whether it will actually take place.
Regarding the proposed conference, the “Friends of Syria” statement ended by threatening, “[U]ntil such a time as the Geneva meeting produces a transitional government, they [the “Friends”] will further increase their support for the opposition and take all other steps as necessary.” By “transitional government,” the “Friends” mean one absent the present leadership. In other words, until there is “regime change,” they will escalate the war.
The anti-war movement in the United States has a duty to unequivocally oppose all forms of intervention by the United States, the other imperialists and their clients, and to support the right of the Syrian people to determine their own future, free from imperialist intervention.
US Ramps up Plans for Military Intervention in Syria
The United States and the major European powers are escalating plans for a direct military intervention in Syria. The aim of US maneuvers, including a flurry of diplomatic visits this week, is to secure the downfall of Syrian President Bashar…
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May 22, 2013
Widening of Syria War into a Regional War with Global Implications becoming Inevitable.
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc),- The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has passed legislation that, if signed by U.S. President Obama, approves of officially supplying weapons to what the committee describes as “The Syrian Opposition”.
According to international law the bill implies, that the U.S.A. officially becomes a conflicting party. The official approval of weapons deliveries and other aid to “the opposition” is arguably changing its status to that of a mercenary corps.
The Senate´s decision has significantly increased the likelihood of the development of a regional war with global implications and has, if it is signed by President Obama, for the foreseeable future undermined attempts to settle the war by political means.
The bipartisan U.S. Senate´s Foreign Relations Committee voted 15 – 3 in favor of the bill that would allow U.S. politicians to officially arm the terrorist organizations, which the USA has been directly and indirectly financing, arming and otherwise supporting since the genesis of the conflict in 2011.
Already in 2011 a whistleblower at the U.S. Special Forces at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, U.S.A. stated to nsnbc, that the USA has special forces deployed in Syria and the the USA is financing and arming the “Syrian opposition”.
If signed by President Obama, the U.S.A. would technically become a directly involved party to the war. Arguably, the so-called opposition would receive the legal status of being a US-sponsored mercenary corps. In other words, the legal status would concur with its de facto status.
While some analysts state, that the decision would not imply significant changes on the ground because the USA has sponsored terrorists in Syria since the onset of the crisis, others predict that the new legislation implies a significant increase of arms shipments, a significant increase in recruitment efforts, a substantial increase of funding, and an inevitable widening of the war into Lebanon and Iraq.
The legislation calls to “provide defense articles, defense services, and military training” directly to the “opposition” on the ground in Syria who “have been properly and fully vetted and share common values and interests with the United States”.
The legislation officially endorses an illegal military strategy on Syria, which a US Training Circular for Special Forces and “Foreign Students” designates as being official US military doctrine. The Training Circular, TC-18-01 explicitly states, that the US military, for the foreseeable future, would primarily be involved in unconventional warfare.
The subversion of foreign nations, as described in the TC-01 is a de-facto outline of the political and military strategy which the USA has used against the Syrian Arab Republic since 2011. The full document has previously been disclosed on nsnbc.
It is especially the last part of the sentence, “vetted and share common values and interests with the United States”, that would also officially transform the United States into a party that is directly involved in the war by recruiting, financing and arming mercenaries.
Belhadj – The Enemy Image
According to reliable Syrian statistics, which repeatedly have been sent to the office of U.N. Secretary Ban Kyi-moon, more than 80 per cent of the persons involved in combat operations against the Syrian military forces and the Syrian Civil Defense Forces are foreign fighters.
As documented in a previous article, much of the recruitment of these mercenary forces is being organized via Libya, under supervision of the Emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Abdelhakim Belhadj.
Since the US-backed coup d´etat in Libya in 2011, Abdelhakim Belhadj, who has a long history of cooperation with the British Foreign Intelligence Service MI6, Mossad and NATO Intelligence, and who according to former Spanish Prime Minister Aznar is the main responsible person for the 2004 Madrid Train Bombings that killed dozens, Abdelhakim Belhadj also functions as official Tripoli Military Governor. The largest so far documented arms shipment, including SAM-7 surface to air missiles was shipped from Libya through Turkey and into Syria. It is safe to conclude that the greatest part of arms shipments and deployment of recruits from Libya to Syria as well as to Mali is being organized through the Belhadj network.
Belhadj, Tripoli Military Governor and Syrian Tripoli Brigade Commander in Chief
With the main body of Syria recruits being recruited through a network that is in liaison with NATO, NATO is by implication, also becoming directly involved in the Syria War if the bill is passed. In fact, some international lawyers argue that NATO´s legal status already is that of a party to the conflict due to the fact that Turkey is directly involved.
The legal implications are mind-boggling and bound to significantly worsen the crisis between Russia and the USA, the crisis between Russia and the EU, and the crisis between some EU member states, first and foremost Germany and the USA.
Most experts on US – Israeli foreign relations agree that the Israeli lobby in the USA, which has a significant influence over the majority of members of Congress, has been lobbying strongly in support of the bill. Over the course of the last month reports of direct Israeli involvement in the war have significantly increased.
Already in 2011 Israel was arming the so-called Syrian opposition through third parties in Lebanon. Most prominently among them, the Saudi-Lebanese national and chairman of the “Movement for the Future Party” Saad Hariri, and the leader of the Lebanese Druze community and chairman of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblatt. Jumblatt is known for having facilitated shipments of weapons and equipment from Israel´s Raphael Industries since 2011.
One of the few Senators who have voted against the bill was Senator Rand Paul who stated ” You will be funding today the allies of al-Qaeda…. It is an irony you cannot overcome”. Critics of Rand Paul however state that his nay-vote was cheap since it was well known that the majority would vote in favor of the bill. Others criticize Paul for being representative of double standards by not clearly stating that al-Qaeda and “The Opposition” are euphemisms for a network of NATO mercenaries who can be used as friend or foe, terrorist of freedom fighters, all and alone depending on utility.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is currently visiting Jordan to meet representatives from 11 nations. Part of the agenda will be discussions between Kerry and Russian representatives about the so-called U.S.-Russian roadmap to end the Syria crisis.
The chances for ending the war in Syrian by political means however, are becoming increasingly slim. According to some analysts, the crisis is developing a propensity toward a deterioration into a Sarajevo-like situation, where the events begin determining the decisions of the policy makers, rather than the policy makers being the ones who determine the development of the events. The odds are clearly stacked against a political resolution and overwhelmingly for a widening of the war into Lebanon and Iraq.
Russia has repeatedly warned that the material support of the terrorists in Syria violates international law, and Russian officials have warned that the passing of the legislation is one more, and a most serious violation of international law.
The Russian position always was and remains the position, that only direct talks between the Syrian government and the opposition can solve the crisis and that the arming of terrorists sabotages ongoing attempts to solve the crisis and the ongoing political reform process in Syria.
In March, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated, that “International law does not permit the supply of arms to non-governmental actors and our point of view is that it is a violation of international law” .
May 17, 2013
The Benghazi scandal is gaining momentum. What is at the heart of it? Is it about lapses of security? A false flag operation gone wrong run by the CIA? Or is it all about local American politics? CrossTalking with Raymond Tanter, Raymond McGovern and Jay Bookman.
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New World Next Week
May 16, 2013
Welcome back to http://NewWorldNextWeek.com – the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week:
Story #1: How the IRS, Benghazi, and AP scandals might converge
Congresswoman: Obama gave Benghazi stand down order
Navy SEAL Extortion 17 EXPOSED
Story #2: Angelina Jolie will have ovaries removed next
Angelina Jolie inspires women to maim themselves by celebrating medically perverted double mastectomies
Story #3: Mini Bilderberg? Bill Gates, Bloomberg, and World’s Richest Meeting on Gated SC Island
They’re called the Good Club – and they want to save the world
Future EU president attends Bilderberg dinner
Jim Tucker, ‘Bilderberg Hound’, Dead at 78
Visit http://NewWorldNextWeek.com to get previous episodes in various formats to download, burn and share. And as always, stay up-to-date by subscribing to the feeds from Corbett Report http://ur1.ca/39obd and Media Monarchy http://ur1.ca/kuec Thank you.
Previous Episode: Syria Bombed, Hill Jailed, Zero Dark CIA
May 13, 2013
People gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion outside a hospital in Benghazi May 13, 2013 (Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori)
At least 17 people, including three children, were killed and another 30 injured when a car bomb exploded in crowded area outside a hospital in Benghazi, Libya.
Libya’s Defense Ministry reported that 17 people died in the blast, shortly after Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Abdullah Massoud confirmed 15 deaths.
“Fifteen people have been killed and at least 30 were wounded in the explosion of a car bomb near the hospital,” Deputy Interior Minister Massoud said.
“I saw people running and some of them were collecting parts of bodies,” Reuters quoted a witness as saying.
The Facebook community OnlyLibya has posted a clip that it claims was taken at the scene of the blast.
No group has claimed responsibility for the Benghazi bombing, which is considered to be the cradle of the revolution that ousted longtime Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Witnesses wrote on Twitter that the hospital bombing appeared different in nature from the attacks on Benghazi police stations witnessed in recent days, as the attack targeted a public place, not law enforcement.
The car bombing near the hospital is the latest in a string of attacks across the country in recent weeks.
A bomb exploded outside a police station in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on May 10. The blast damaged the building and shattered the windows of a nearby school, causing no injuries. A Benghazi police station was also bombed on May 10, and no injuries were reported.
Another explosion destroyed a police station in Benghazi on May 2; there were no reports of any victims.
A car bomb exploded at the French Embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 23. Two guards and a woman were injured.
People gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion outside a hospital in Benghazi May 13, 2013 (Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori)
Onlookers take photographs following a car bomb explosion outside a hospital in Benghazi May 13, 2013 (Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori)
People clear debris at the scene of a car bomb explosion outside a hospital in Benghazi May 13, 2013 (Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori)
by Tony Cartalucci
April 17, 2013 (LD) – Sometime before 1775, American Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin wrote:
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Across much of the West, after September 11, 2001, we have indeed given up our essential liberty, and more over, our dignity in exchange for the illusion of safety. Our streets and public events are filled with militarized police and very literally soldiers wielding machine guns and riding around in armored vehicles. And yet with this militarized security, invasive Constitution-violating searches, warrantless wiretaps, humiliating pat-downs by federal security at airports, terrorist bombs still managed to rip through the streets of Boston killing 3 and injuring many more.
There is nothing more symbolic of the fall of America as a free people than scenes of impotent militarized police standing around aimlessly with their immense arsenal cradled in their idle hands in the wake of an attack their presence did nothing to prevent. What’s more, is their presence after the attack was likewise useless, their weapons and armor incapable of doing anything to help the scores of injured.
Image: (AP) Militarized police stand around aimlessly before and after the blasts in Boston – exposing the “safety” offered to the public in the last 10 years by the growing police state as a mere illusion we have been made to accept, but clearly, to no avail.
We have given up our liberty and our dignity in order to obtain a little temporary safety – and predictably we have neither liberty nor safety.
The FBI and the Illusion of Terror
Disturbing is the habit of the FBI’s posing as terrorists with ties to Al Qaeda, approaching patsies who they then provide explosives and other weapons to, and help engineer an attack which they then “foil” to make spectacular headlines. Many times real explosives are test-detonated with suspects, before inert devices are switched in for the final attack.
In one case in Portland Oregon in 2010, a van was actually parked next to a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony where the FBI-entrapped suspect attempted and failed to detonate an FBI-provided inert bomb.
More astounding was the fact that the FBI had actually brought this same entrapped suspect earlier to a location in Lincoln County, Oregon, where real explosives were in fact detonated. The FBI’s official statement titled, “Oregon Resident Arrested in Plot to Bomb Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Portland,” released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on November 26, 2010 stated (emphasis added):
According to the affidavit, on November 4, 2010, Mohamud and the undercover FBI operatives traveled to a remote location in Lincoln County, Ore., where they detonated a bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the upcoming attack. Afterwards, on the drive back to Corvallis, undercover FBI operatives questioned Mohamud as to whether he was capable of looking at the bodies of those who would be killed in the upcoming attack in Portland. According to the affidavit, Mohamud responded, “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured.”
More frightening still was the apparent motivation behind the FBI’s uncover operation.
In 2005, Portland became the first city in the United States to withdraw from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, (JTTF) over concerns it would threaten civil liberties. The FBI, unwelcomed in Portland, decided to then approach a dupe, entrap him, and spectacularly “foil” a high profile terror plot of their own design during Portland’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony – without notifying the local government or local law enforcement of the on going operation.
The operation would humiliate local representatives and in particular, Mayor Sam Adams, making them appear negligent, incompetent, and impotent. And, in the wake of the operation, citing the FBI’s charade specifically, Portland would eventually agree to rejoin the JTTF.
What, if not terrorism, would such events be classified as? The FBI’s JTTF was ousted from Portland, and it subsequently used the threat of violence to coerce the city into accepting it back. It was an operation A-Z engineered by the FBI with a specific political motivation lurking just beneath the surface.
The opaque, covert nature of these operations should also profoundly disturb readers. The FBI apparently has access to vast resources to conduct these operations, including weapons, real explosives, vehicles, and just about everything else most likely used in the Boston blasts. According to the New York Times, in their article, “Portland, Ore., Votes to Rejoin Task Force After Terrorism Scare:”
The investigation had been under way for many months, but the Portland police were consulted only near the end, largely to help with logistics of a sting operation. Mayor Sam Adams was unaware until after the arrest.
Who then is overseeing these operations outside of the FBI? These are operations where real explosives are even detonated … and in the case of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, FBI monitored suspects actually went through with the final attack, killing 6, and wounding many more (The New York Times, “Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast“).
The answer is, no one is overseeing them, and they are kept secret until the FBI either “foils” them for political points, or a witness steps forward and reveals the FBI’s role in successful attacks that maim or kill innocent people.
This constitutes a very real terror threat to America, but one that lurks within Washington and in our cities’ local FBI offices, carried out by men in suits and ties, not cave-dwelling extremists in Afghanistan or “homegrown terrorists.” For the people of Boston, one of the first targets for investigation should in fact be, the local FBI office.
Monsters of Our Own Creation/Perpetuation
And while America’s domestic threat is one contrived and perpetuated primarily by the very people charged with defending the nation against terrorism, real foreign extremists do exist. It should surprise no one however, considering what the FBI does at home, who is minding this terrorist network abroad.
It is now believed that pressure cooker improvised explosive devices were used in the blasts – devices frequently used overseas by Al Qaeda’s many various incarnations. Should “Al Qaeda” turn out to be behind the Boston blasts, readers would benefit from understanding just what exactly “Al Qaeda” is.
CBS News in their report titled, “Homeland Security warned about pressure cooker bombs,” stated:
U.S. authorities warned as far back as nine years ago that terrorists could use metal pressure cookers to cause deadly carnage.
The common kitchen cooking implement – found in countless American homes – has emerged as a key component in the horrific bombings that killed three people and injured more than 170 at the Boston Marathon yesterday.
The article would continue by stating:
In 2004 a memo titled “Potential terrorist use of pressure cookers” alerted border inspectors, agents, law enforcement officers and other first-responders that the seemingly-innocuous items could be used to create improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The memo says the bomb-making technique is commonly taught in Afghan terrorist training camps – and had already led to bombing casualties.
The article would also mention terrorists operating in Algeria using rigged pressure cooker devices to carry out attacks – militants long associated not only with Al Qaeda directly, but neighboring Libyan terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which was recently handed the nation of Libya by NATO.
This would also be the same Al Qaeda that the US and NATO are in the process of arming and funding in Syria for the past 2 years. Likewise, it is the same Al Qaeda spawned from the sectarian crypto-terror organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, helped into power on the back of region-wide US-engineered political destabilization, and funded to the tune of billions by America’s allies in Riyadh and Doha.
In fact, for the past 30 years, the US, Saudi Arabia, and other regional allies including Israel have cultivated, armed, funded, and expanded Al Qaeda, using them as both a casus belli for military intervention and a global mercenary force everywhere from Libya to Bosnia, Iraq to Iran, Afghanistan, and of course across Syria for the past two years.
And even as the Boston blasts appear to be shaping up as the work of sectarian extremists affiliated with this vast network of US-Saudi sponsored terror, US ally Qatar is defending its aid given to terrorists operating across Syria. Reuters reported in their article, “Qatar says aid for Syria rebels and Islamists won’t harm region,” that:
Qatar on Tuesday rejected criticism that it risked destabilizing the Middle East by supporting rebels in Syria or the Muslim Brotherhood and said it was helping people but did not interfere in governments.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused Arab states who are arming and sheltering rebel fighters of actions that could “create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond,” with Saudi Arabia and Qatar clearly in mind.
Qatar had armed, funded, and even provided air support and troops to Al Qaeda in Libya during their successful bid to overthrow the government and take power in Tripoli. The Guardian reported in their article, “Qatar admits sending hundreds of troops to support Libya rebels,” that:
Qatar has admitted for the first time that it sent hundreds of troops to support the Libyan rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
The Gulf state had previously acknowledged only that its air force took part in Nato-led attacks.
So clearly, Qatar is in the business of interfering with governments, and using Al Qaeda militants to do so.
Similarly, Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia, the US, Turkey, Israel and other allies, have been funneling cash and thousands of tons of weapons into Syria – all of which have ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra.
The New York Times in their article titled, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid,” admits that:
With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.
The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.
While the West attempts to claim these weapons are being sent to “moderates,” the US itself admits that Al Qaeda is operating in every major city in Syria and is by far the most highly organized, most prominent militant front in the conflict. If the West via Saudi Arabia and Qatar is sending thousands of tons of weapons to “moderates,” who is sending more weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra?
The obvious answer is there are no moderates, and the West has been intentionally arming Al Qaeda from the beginning. In fact, this is a documented conspiracy first revealed as early as 2007 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article titled, “”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” which stated specifically:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Further evidence that the summation of US aid has fallen into the hands of Al Qaeda in Syria, comes to us from Washington Post propagandist Liz Sly who reported in her article, “U.S. feeds Syrians, but secretly,” that:
In the heart of rebel-held territory in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, a small group of intrepid Westerners is undertaking a mission of great stealth. Living anonymously in a small rural community, they travel daily in unmarked cars, braving airstrikes, shelling and the threat of kidnapping to deliver food and other aid to needy Syrians — all of it paid for by the U.S. government.
Sly then claims that most Syrians credit Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra with providing the aid:
“America has done nothing for us. Nothing at all,” said Mohammed Fouad Waisi, 50, spitting out the words for emphasis in his small Aleppo grocery store, which adjoins a bakery where he buys bread every day. The bakery is fully supplied with flour paid for by the United States. But Waisi credited Jabhat al-Nusra — a rebel group the United States has designated a terrorist organization because of its ties to al-Qaeda — with providing flour to the region, though he admitted he wasn’t sure where it comes from.
And while Sly attempts to spin the story as merely misdirected anger and ignorance on the part of Syrians receiving the aid, it is well documented that bakeries in terrorist-held territory are manned by Al Qaeda militants. In fact, while Sly maintains that “security concerns” are owed for America’s opaque aid distribution, it appears more likely the US is attempting to insidiously obfuscate its use of humanitarian aid to help its militant proxies win “hearts and minds” amid a humanitarian catastrophe the West itself engineered and perpetuated intentionally.
The London Telegraph reported in their article, “Syria: how jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra is taking over Syria’s revolution,” that taking over bakeries was a key strategy used by Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra front to “win over” the population:
Then, in the past weeks, Jabhat al-Nusra – which is outside the FSA – pushed other rebel groups out of the stores and established a system to distribute bread throughout rebel areas.
In a small office attached to a bakery in the Miesseh district of Aleppo, Abu Yayha studied a map pinned on the wall. Numbers were scrawled in pencil against streets.
“We counted the population of every street to assess the need for the area,” explained Mr Yahya. “We provide 23,593 bags of bread every two days for this area. This is just in one district. We are calculating the population in other districts and doing the same there.
“In shops the cost is now 125 Syrian pounds (£1.12) for one pack. Here we sell it at 50 Syrian pounds (45p) for two bags. We distribute some for free for those who cannot pay.”
The bakery works constantly. Inside, barrows filled with dough were heaved onto a conveyor belt that chopped it into round and flat segments, before pushing the dough into a giant oven. Workers packed the steaming flatbread in bags.
“I am from Jabhat al Nusra. All the managers of all the bakeries are,” said Abu Fattah, the manager. “This makes sure that nobody steals.”
In essence, Al Qaeda is taking over neighborhoods upon a mountain of US-provided flour, in bakeries overrun and held at the barrels of US-provided guns.
With this in mind, it becomes clear that not only has America traded in its liberty and dignity for the illusion of safety, but they have done so in the face of fear manufactured and intentionally perpetuated by their own government – a government willfully using the very terror organizations they hold over the American people’s heads as justification for an ever-expanding police state at home, as an international mercenary force with which to target their geopolitical enemies abroad.
It is an illusion of both terror and security, masterfully implemented with a myriad of propagandists and corporate-financier interests working in coordination to foist this scheme upon Western civilization and beyond. It is essential to identify these corporate-financier interests, boycott them, and permanently replace them with local solutions – lest we be bent eternally to this charade, without liberty, without dignity, and clearly, without safety.
March 26, 2013
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc),- A New York Times article reveals CIA involvement in weapons deliveries to the Syrian insurgents. Weapons which among other end up in the hands of the Syrian Al-Qaeda branch Jabhat al-Nusra.
The article reveals that deliveries by planes have taken place since 2012. The USA, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi-Arabia and others however, have directly and indirectly provided weapons for Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda associated insurgents since early 2011.
Special forces liaisons and special operations combat troops have been on the ground in Syria since 2011, taking among other, part in the spectacular kidnapping of the attorney general of Hama, Adnan Bakkur, in which helicopter gunships were involved.
The financing of the subversion began as early as 2007, when the government of Qatar sent USD 10 billion to the Turkish Foreign Minister Davotoglu. The arming of terrorists is not a one off scandal, but official NATO doctrine and a systematic violation of the Convention against the Use of Mercenaries.
As much as the New York Times (NYT) may want to portray arms shipments by plane as spectacular incident, it hardly touches the surface of the criminal attempt of the USA and NATO allies, Saudi-Arabia, Qatar, Israel, post-coup Libya and other, to systematically manufacture a low intensity conflict with the help of well financed and armed proxies, and with the purposes to prevent the completion of the PARS gas-pipeline, to balkanize Syria and Iraq, create a Kurdish Corridor, and to create the precondition for a war on Iran and other conflicts along the soft, resource rich underbelly of Russia and China.
The New York Times article correctly states, that Turkey and Arab governments, with the help of the CIA, over the recent months have increased their military aid to “Syrian opposition fighters”. The New York Times article further states, that the airlift began on a small scale in early 2012, continued intermittently through last fall, and expanded into a much heavier flow in late 2012. According to the NYT, it has grown to include more than 160 cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi-Arabian and Qatari military-style cargo planes, landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, other Turkish and Jordanian airports.
The importance of the NYT article lies in the fact, that it is for the first time, that a major US-American newspaper recognizes, and to a degree documents the fact, that a US intelligence service was involved in delivering weapons to insurgents in Syria, albeit US-President Obama publicly refused to provide more than “non-lethal” aid. The NYT also reports, that officers from US-Intelligence Services have used “secret offices” to help Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia. The NYT also reports that American officials, on the condition of anonymity, have stated, that US-Intelligence Officers have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine, who should receive weapons as they arrive (1
The article in the NYT on 25 March was not the first to report about the airlift of arms from Croatia. Already on 8 March The London Telegraph reported about a 3,000 Ton airlift of weapons by Jordan and NATO member Turkey which passed through the Croatian city Zagreb. (2 Subsequently, on 9 March, LandDestroyer and nsnbc published a comprehensive article about the airlift, detailing that the weapons, among other, were being delivered to the Syrian Al-Qaeda militia Jabhat al-Nusra. (3
Reportedly, the CIA has declined to comment about the statements by members of the intelligence community, that the CIA vetted the terrorist groups who received the weapons. However, there are numerous reports which substantiate the direct involvement of the CIA and other NATO member states, Saudi-Arabian, Qatari and other intelligence services, and that, long before March 2013.
US – Special Forces Officer blows the whistle. Already in August 2011 an officer of the United States Special Forces at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, reports to nsnbc on the condition of anonymity, that US Special Forces had been operating in both Libya and Syria for months already, cooperating with predominantly Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda associated militia. (4
The same officer also verified that a training circular for special forces and “foreign students” which were trained by US special forces, the TC 18-01, Special Forces, Unconventional Warfare, from 2010, was a genuine document and reflected the model according to which the US Administration, US-Special Forces, US-Intelligence Services and their allies in Syria were organizing the subversion of the country. February 2012, the TC 18-01 was published in full by nsnbc. (5 No western mainstream media reported about the whistle blower or the TC 18-01.
September 2011 – Helicopter Gunships involved in the Kidnapping of Hama Attorney General Adnan Bakkur. In early September 2011 the attorney general of Hama, Syria, Adnan Bakkur was kidnapped. According to western mainstream media, the attorney general had defected. A video with the attorney general reading a statement that he had defected because of the violent crackdown of the Syrian government against peaceful protesters, was aired on several western mainstream media channels or used as evidence for the attorney general´s defection. The video shows clearly, that Adnan Bakkur “read” his statement under duress.
A reporter for nsnbc in Damascus reported, that the attorney general had been kidnapped and added further detail to the evidence, reporting, that eyewitnesses have seen the kidnappers drive in several cars, including a white Toyota pickup with a heavy machine gun mounted on it. The convoy with the kidnapped attorney general was then met by waiting helicopter gunships. Although the whereabouts of Adnan Bakkur were unknown, it was suspected, that he had been taken across the border to Turkey, where NATO Special Operations forces were training and arming Muslim Brotherhood fighters. (6
Although no independent, international investigation into this high profile kidnapping of the Hama attorney general Adnan Bakkur was conducted it was bearing all the signs of being a Military Intelligence Support Operation (MISO), also known as a PSYOP or psychological operation. Moreover, it is very unlikely that the helicopter gunships were not provided by a NATO member states military.
US Troops from Iraq redeployed to Jordan. Recruitment Center and Intelligence Operations Room in Mekka Street, Amman, Jordan. In December 2012 the blog of the US-American whistle blower Sibel Edmonds, Boilingfrogpost, reported that an unspecified number of US troops which had been withdrawn from Iraq, had been redeployed to airbases in Jordan and to the Jordanian border town Al-Mafraq, near the Syrian border. (7
On 17 February nsnbc reported, that the Jordanian military, together with US troops, had established a “buffer zone” at the Jordanian – Syrian border near al-Mafraq and reported that a source close to the former Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit had announced the presence of an estimated 43,000 fighters.
At least 20,000 of these fighters, so the former Jordanian prime Minister´s confident, were fighters of the Libyan Al-Qaeda organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), also known under the name “Tripoli Brigades”, under the command of the known Al-Qaeda terrorist Abdelhakim Belhadj and his second in command Harati. The transport of the many NATO mercenaries has reportedly taken place under the cover of medical transports or transports of wounded Libyan “rebels” to Jordan. (8
According to the former Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, who referred to Spanish intelligence services reports, Abdelhakim Belhadj, who also is known under the names Hasadi, Hasidi and other alias, was the mastermind behind the 2004 Madrid train bombings which secured that the Spanish parliament continued deploying Spanish troops to Afghanistan.
After the NATO led conquest of the Libyan capital Tripoli, Belhadj became the military governor of Tripoli, Al-Qaeda´s Libyan Islamic Fighting Groups became the Tripoly Military Council and the Tripoli Brigades. Abdelhakim Belhadj was installed in the position with the knowledge and aid of the US/NATO intelligence services and military, and with the full knowledge of the administration of US President Obama. ( 9
Also from a source close to the former Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit, came the information that the Turkish (NATO) military intelligence service had opened an intelligence and operations room and a recruitment center in Mekha Street, in the Jordanian capital Amman. (ibid.)
Shiploads of Weapons including shoulder fired Surface to Air Missiles, arriving in Turkey, are distributed to insurgents in Syria. One fact that makes statements by the US administration, that it only provides non-lethal aid particularly deceitful is the fact that the Obama administration failed to respond to a report, according to which an entire shipload of weapons which had arrived to Turkey from Libya, and which contained large numbers of shoulder fired SAM-7 and Stinger Surface to Air Missiles, which were then distributed to insurgents in Syria by Turkish, that is NATO military officers. In September 2012 The Times, SANA and nsnbc reported about this largest yet documented shipload of weapons delivered to Syrian insurgents. (11
The “non-lethal aid ” will constitute a considerable threat to international air safety for the foreseeable future, and it is neither unlikely that one or more of the surface to air missiles will be used in a genuine terrorist attack by Islamist radicals against a civilian airliner, or that one or more of them will be used by a radical / double agent posing as a radical Islamist in a false flag terror attack.
The re-opening of the old smuggling route at the Saudi – Iraqi border and US Secretary of State´s warning to Iraq´s Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki. On 26 December 2012 nsnbc international reported about the reopening of an old smuggling route at the border between Saudi-Arabia and Iraq. The smuggling route, was previously being used for transporting various types of weapons, ammunition bombs,military equipment and not least drugs to Iraq, begins in Al-Nakhib in the western Al-Anbar province, near the Ar´ar border crossing. The smuggling route has been reactivated to provide a variety of terrorist organizations in Syria, including the Jabhat al-Nusra, with weapons and other equipment. (12
Weapons and other equipment from Saudi-Arabia, smuggled along this route however, is not exclusively being funneled to Syria. Iraq has since the last quarter of 2012 again become a target of terrorism and sectarian violence, instigated, financed and armed by Saudi-Arabia. In December 2012 a senior Iraqi legislator issued a warning against plots which are being hatched by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi-Arabia against Iraq, calling on citizens of Iraq to be vigilant. Earlier in 2012 Iraq´s Prime Minister Nouri Malaki warned, that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are attempting to carry out an Syria-style plot against Iraq in an attempt to topple the government by deploying terrorists.
In an interview with the Lebanese al-Mayyadeen satellite network earlier in 2012, P.M. Nouri al-Malaki stated: ” Qatar and Saudi Arabia which are meddling to topple the Syrian government are now doing the same meddling to topple the Iraqi regime. Their goal is overthrowing the Iraqi government. Their goal is overthrowing the Iraqi ruling system and not overthrowing me”.
Earlier in 2012 the prominent Iraqi legislator, Al-Sayhood, issued the warning that much of the strategy which is being financed and carried out by Saudi Arabia and Qatar is in fact masterminded by Israel in an attempt to destabilize the sole Arab nation which so far has stood firm against imperialism and which consequently and consistently has backed the Arab and Palestinian cause. Iraq has over the course of the last four months been subject to several high profile terrorist attacks and assassinations which most likely originated from Saudi-Arabia. (ibid.)
On a surprise visit to Iraq and Iraq´s Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki by US Secretary of State John Kerry however, Kerry demanded that Iraq stops the flow of arms to the Syrian military and the Syrian government. The demand has widely been discredited as hypocritical and many analysts, the scribe included assess Kerry´s statement as part of preparations for a larger media campaign and a campaign of destabilization and terrorism against Iraq. (14
NATO´s Discount Warfare Strategy, Arms Deliveries to “Terrorist Organizations” or systematic Violations of the Convention against the Use of Mercenaries – The deliveries of weapons and the funding of terrorist organizations, the interface of terrorist organizations with civilian and military intelligence services and western governments attempts to distance themselves as much as possible from terrorism in the view of the western citizens are symptoms of a new NATO military doctrine which was adopted at the 25th NATO Summit in Chicago 2012. (15
Prior to the formal adoption of the doctrine, which could be described as a discount low-intensity warfare model by means of mercenaries, who can be used as either friend or foe, which ideally should result in the procurement of NATO via the UNSC, but which will function as terrorist war of attrition if a UNSC resolution cannot be secured, was first officially endorsed by the two top NATO chiefs Ivo H. Daalder and James G. Stavridis when they called NATO´s intervention in Libya “a teachable moment and model for future intervention”. At NATO´s 25th Summit the model was officially adopted.
The NYT article, although it discloses some of the illegal deliveries of weapons is problematic and misleading to the extend that a correct name for the arms deliveries would be “Arms Deliveries to NATO mercenaries”.
The “terrorist” narrative is no longer viable and it eventually prevents the general public from understanding that the USA/NATO, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi-Arabia, EU and other “Friends of Syria” are systematically violating the Convention Against the Use of Mercenaries.
Christof Lehmann 26.03.2013
Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid from C.I.A., New York Times, 25. March 2013 published online at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/world/middleeast/arms-air-lift-to-syrian-rebels-expands-with-cis-aid.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
2) US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’. The London Telegraph, 08 March 2013, published online at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9918785/US-and-Europe-in-major-airlift-of-arms-to-Syrian-rebels-through-Zagreb.html
3) US-British Al Qaeda Airlift: 3,000 Tons of Weapons Fuel Syria’s Destruction , LandDestroyer, 09 March 2013, also published online by nsnbc international at http://nsnbc.me/2013/03/09/us-british-al-qaeda-airlift-3000-tons-of-weapons-fuel-syrias-destruction/
4) Arabian Summer or NATO´s Fall, Christof Lehmann, 29. August 2011, published online at nsnbc at http://nsnbc.me/2011/08/29/arabian-summer-or-nato%C2%B4s-fall/
5) SPECIAL FORCES UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE – TC 18-01, published by nsnbc online at http://nsnbc.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/special-forces-uw-tc-18-01.pdf
6) Syria – Hama: Driver and Bodyguard of Kidnapped General Attorney Confirm Kidnapping. Christof Lehmann, 05 September 2011, published on nsnbc, online at http://nsnbc.me/2011/09/05/syria-hama-driver-and-bodyguard-of-kidnapped-general-attorney-confirm-kidnapping/
7) Foreign Troops Begin to Spread Near the Villages of Al-Mafraq. Sibel Edmonds, Boilingfrogspost, published in nsnbc on 13 December 2011 online at http://nsnbc.me/2011/12/13/foreign-troops-begin-to-spread-in-syria/
8) Attack on Syria likely before March? Christof Lehmann, nsnbc, 17 February 2012, published online at http://nsnbc.me/2012/02/17/attack-on-syria-likely-before-march/
9) Abdelhakim Belhadj The Mask Behind The Many Men, Christof Lehmann, nsnbc, 25 September 2011, published online at http://nsnbc.me/2011/09/25/abdelhakim-belhadj-the-mask-behind-the-many-men/
11) Largest Shipload of Libyan Weapons Heading to Armed Groups in Syria, SANA, published on nsnbc on 15 September 2012, online at http://nsnbc.me/2012/09/15/largest-shipload-of-libyan-weapons-heading-to-armed-groups-in-syria/
12) Saudi Smuggling Route to Syria Disclosed. Christof Lehmann, nsnbc, 26. December 2012, published online at http://nsnbc.me/2012/12/26/saudi-smuggling-route-to-syria-disclosed-2/
14) Kerry Demands Iraq Stop “Arms Flow” to Syria even as US Arms/Funds Al Qaeda, LandDestroyer, 25 March 2013, published on nsnbc international at http://nsnbc.me/2013/03/25/kerry-demands-iraq-stop-arms-flow-to-syria-even-as-us-armsfunds-al-qaeda/
15) NATO`s 25th Summit in Chicago in Preparation of Global Full Spectrum Dominance Christof Lehmann, nsnbc, 20 May 2012, published online at http://nsnbc.me/2012/05/20/natos-25th-summit-in-chicago-in-preparation-of-global-full-spectrum-dominance-interventionism-possible-preparations-for-a-regional-war-directed-against-russia-and-china-and-developments-in-global/
March 3, 2013
Sunday Times: Mr. President your recent offer of political dialogue was qualified with a firm rejection of the very groups you would have to pacify to stop the violence: the armed rebels and the Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition alliance.
So in effect you are only extending an olive branch to the loyal opposition, mostly internal, that renounce the armed struggle, and who effectively recognizes the legitimacy of your leadership, who are you willing to talk to, really?
President Assad: First of all, let me correct some of the misconceptions that have been circulating and that are found in your question in order to make my answer accurate.
Sunday Times: Okay.
President Assad: Firstly, when I announced the plan, I said that it was for those who interested in dialogue, because you cannot make a plan that is based on dialogue with somebody who does not believe in dialogue. So, I was very clear regarding this.
Secondly, this open dialogue should not be between exclusive groups but between all Syrians of every level. The dialogue is about the future of Syria. We are twenty three million Syrians and all of us have the right to participate in shaping the country’s future. Some may look at it as a dialogue between the government and certain groups in the opposition – whether inside or outside, external or internal -actually this is a very shallow way of looking at the dialogue. It is much more comprehensive. It is about every Syrian and about every aspect of Syrian life. Syria’s future cannot be determined simply by who leads it but by the ambitions and aspirations of all its people.
The other aspect of the dialogue is that it opens the door for militants to surrender their weapons and we have granted many amnesties to facilitate this. This is the only way to make a dialogue with those groups. This has already started, even before the plan, and some have surrendered their weapons and they live now their normal life. But this plan makes the whole process more methodical, announced and clear.
If you want to talk about the opposition, there is another misconception in the West. They put all the entities even if they are not homogeneous in one basket – as if everything against the government is opposition. We have to be clear about this. We have opposition that are political entities and we have armed terrorists. We can engage in dialogue with the opposition but we cannot engage in dialogue with terrorists; we fight terrorism. Another phrase that is often mentioned is the ‘internal opposition inside Syria’ or ‘internal opposition as loyal to the government.’ Opposition groups should be loyal and patriotic to Syria – internal and external opposition is not about the geographic position; it is about their roots, resources and representation. Have these roots been planted in Syria and represent Syrian people and Syrian interests or the interests of foreign government? So, this is how we look at the dialogue, this is how we started and how we are going to continue.
Sunday Times: Most have rejected it, at least if we talk about the opposition externally who are now the body that is being hailed as the opposition and where the entire world is basically behind them. So, most of them have rejected it with the opposition describing your offer as a “waste of time,” and some have said that it is “empty rhetoric” based on lack of trust and which British Secretary William Hague described it as “beyond hypocritical” and the Americans said you were “detached from reality.”
President Assad: I will not comment on what so-called Syrian bodies outside Syria have said. These bodies are not independent. As Syrians, we are independent and we need to respond to independent bodies and this is not the case. So let’s look at the other claims.
Firstly, detached from reality: Syria has been fighting adversaries and foes for two years; you cannot do that if you do not have public support. People will not support you if you are detached from their reality. A recent survey in the UK shows that a good proportion British people want “to keep out of Syria” and they do not believe that the British government should send military supplies to the rebels in Syria.
In spite of this, the British government continues to push the EU to lift its arms embargo on Syria to start arming militants with heavy weapons. That is what I call detached from reality–when you are detached from your own public opinion! And they go further in saying that they want to send “military aid” that they describe as “non-lethal.” The intelligence, communication and financial assistance being provided is very lethal. The events of 11th of September were not committed by lethal aids. It was the application of non-lethal technology and training which caused the atrocities.
The British government wants to send military aid to moderate groups in Syria, knowing all too well that such moderate groups do not exist in Syria; we all know that we are now fighting Al-Qaeda or Jabhat al-Nusra which is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, and other groups of people indoctrinated with extreme ideologies. This is beyond hypocritical! What is beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about freedom of expression and ban Syrian TV channels from the European broadcasting satellites; when you shed tears for somebody killed in Syria by terrorist acts while preventing the Security Council from issuing a statement denouncing the suicide bombing that happened last week in Damascus, and you were here, where three hundred Syrians were either killed or injured, including women and children – all of them were civilians. Beyond hypocrisy when you preach about human rights and you go into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and kill hundreds of thousands in illegal wars. Beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about democracy and your closest allies are the worst autocratic regimes in the world that belong to the medieval centuries. This is hypocrisy!
Sunday Times: But you always refer to the people fighting here as terrorists, do you accept that while some are from the Jabhat al-Nusra and those affiliated to Al-Qaeda but there are others such as the FSA or under the umbrella of the FSA? That some of them are the defectors and some of them are just ordinary people who started some of the uprising. These are not terrorists; these are people fighting for what they believe to be the right way at the moment.
President Assad: When we say that we are fighting Al-Qaeda, we mean that the main terrorist group and the most dangerous is Al-Qaeda. I have stated in many interviews and speeches that this is not the only group in Syria. The spectrum ranges from petty criminals, drugs dealers, groups that are killing and kidnapping just for money to mercenaries and militants; these clearly do not have any political agenda or any ideological motivations. The so-called “Free Army” is not an entity as the West would like your readers to believe. It is hundreds of small groups – as defined by international bodies working with Annan and Al-Ibrahimi – there is no entity, there is no leadership, there is no hierarchy; it is a group of different gangs working for different reasons. The Free Syrian Army is just the headline, the umbrella that is used to legitimize these groups.
This does not mean that at the beginning of the conflict there was no spontaneous movement; there were people who wanted to make change in Syria and I have acknowledged that publically many times. That’s why I have said the dialogue is not for the conflict itself; the dialogue is for the future of Syria because many of the groups still wanting change are now against the terrorists. They still oppose the government but they do not carry weapons. Having legitimate needs does not make your weapons legitimate.
Sunday Times: Your 3-staged plan: the first one you speak of is the cessation of violence. Obviously there is the army and the fighters on the other side. Now, within the army you have a hierarchy, so if you want to say cease-fire, there is a commander that can control that, but when you offer cessation of violence or fire how can you assume the same for the rebels when you talk about them being so many groups, fragmented and not under one leadership. So, that’s one of the points of your plan. So, this suggests that this basically an impossible request. You speak of referendum but with so many displaced externally and internally, many of whom are the backbone of the opposition; those displaced at least. So, a referendum without them would not be fair, and the third part is that parliamentary elections and all this hopefully before 2014; it is a very tall list to be achieved before 2014. So, what are really the conditions that you are attaching to the dialogue and to make it happen, and aren’t some of the conditions that you are really suggesting or offering impossible to achieve?
President Assad: That depends on how we look at the situation. First of all, let’s say that the main article in the whole plan is the dialogue; this dialogue will put a timetable for everything and the procedures or details of this plan. The first article in my plan was the cessation of violence. If we cannot stop this violence, how can we achieve the other articles like the referendum and elections and so on? But saying that you cannot stop the violence is not a reason to do nothing. Yes there are many groups as I have said with no leadership, but we know that their real leadership are those countries that are funding and supplying their weapons and armaments – mainly Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
If outside parties genuinely want to help the process they should be pressuring those countries to stop supplying the terrorists. As with any other sovereign state, we will not negotiate with terrorists.
Sunday Times: Critics say real and genuine negotiations may be the cause of your downfall and that of your government or regime, and that you know this, hence you offer practically impossible scenarios for dialogue and negotiations?
President Assad: Actually, I don’t know this, I know the opposite. To be logical and realistic, if this is the case, then these foes, adversaries or opponents should push for the dialogue because in their view it will bring my downfall. But actually they are doing the opposite. They are preventing the so-called ‘opposition bodies outside Syria’ to participate in the dialogue because I think they believe in the opposite; they know that this dialogue will not bring my downfall, but will actually make Syria stronger. This is the first aspect.
The second aspect is that the whole dialogue is about Syria, about terrorism, and about the future of Syria. This is not about positions and personalities. So, they shouldn’t distract people by talking about the dialogue and what it will or will not bring to the President. I did not do it for myself. At the end, this is contradictory; what they say is contradicting what they do.
Sunday Times: You said that if they push for dialogue, it could bring your downfall?
President Assad: No, I said according to what they say if it brings my downfall, why don’t they come to the dialogue? They say that the dialogue will bring the downfall of the President and I am inviting them to the dialogue. Why don’t they then come to the dialogue to bring my downfall? This is self-evident. That’s why I said they are contradicting themselves.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, John Kerry, a man you know well, has started a tour that will take him this week end to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, where he will be talking to them about ways to ‘ease you out.’ In London and Berlin earlier this week, he said that President Assad must go and he also said that one of his first moves is to draft diplomatic proposals to persuade you to give up power. Would you invite him to Damascus for talks? What would you say to him? What is your message to him now given what he said this week and what he plans to say to his allies when he visits them over the weekend? And if possible from your knowledge of him how would you describe Kerry from your knowledge of him in the past?
President Assad: I would rather describe policies rather than describing people. So, it is still early to judge him. It is only a few weeks since he became Secretary of State. First of all, the point that you have mentioned is related to internal Syrian matters or Syrian issue. Any Syrian subject would not be raised with any foreigners. We only discuss it with Syrians within Syria. So, I am not going to discuss it with anyone who is coming from abroad. We have friends and we discuss our issues with friends, we listen to their advice but at the end it is our decision as Syrians to think or to make what’s good for our country.
If anyone wants to ‘genuinely’ – I stress the word genuinely – help Syria and help the cessation of violence in our country, he can do only one thing; he can go to Turkey and sit with Erdogan and tell to him stop smuggling terrorists into Syria, stop sending armaments, stop providing logistical support to those terrorists. He can go to Saudi Arabia and Qatar and tell them stop financing the terrorists in Syria. This is the only thing anyone can do dealing with the external part of our problem, but no one from outside Syria can deal with the internal part of this problem.
Sunday Times: So, what is your message to Kerry?
President Assad: It is very clear: to understand what I said now. I mean, not a message to Kerry but to anyone who is talking about the Syrian issue: only Syrian people can tell the President: stay or leave, come or go. I am just saying this clearly in order not to waste the time of others to know where to focus.
Sunday Times: What role if any do you see for Britain in any peace process for Syria? Have there been any informal contacts with the British? What is your reaction to Cameron’s support for the opposition? What would you say if you were sitting with him now, especially that Britain is calling for the arming of the rebels?
President Assad: There is no contact between Syria and Britain for a long time. If we want to talk about the role, you cannot separate the role from the credibility. And we cannot separate the credibility from the history of that country. To be frank, now I am talking to a British journalist and a British audience, to be frank, Britain has played a famously (in our region) an unconstructive role in different issues for decades, some say for centuries. I am telling you now the perception in our region.
The problem with this government is that their shallow and immature rhetoric only highlight this tradition of bullying and hegemony. I am being frank. How can we expect to ask Britain to play a role while it is determined to militarize the problem? How can you ask them to play a role in making the situation better and more stable, how can we expect them to make the violence less while they want to send military supplies to the terrorists and don’t try to ease the dialogue between the Syrians. This is not logical. I think that they are working against us and working against the interest of the UK itself. This government is acting in a naïve, confused and unrealistic manner. If they want to play a role, they have to change this; they have to act in a more reasonable and responsible way, till then we do not expect from an arsonist to be a firefighter!
Sunday Times: In 2011 you said you wouldn’t waste your time talking about the body leading opposition, now we are talking about the external body, in fact you hardly recognized there was such a thing, what changed your mind or views recently? What talks, if any are already going on with the rebels who are a major component and factor in this crisis? Especially given that your Foreign Minister Muallem said earlier this week when he was in Russia that the government is open to talks with the armed opposition can you clarify?
President Assad: Actually, I did not change my mind. Again, this plan is not for them; it is for every Syrian who accepts the dialogue. So, making this initiative is not a change of mind. Secondly, since day one in this crisis nearly two years ago, we have said we are ready for dialogue; nothing has changed. We have a very consistent position towards the dialogue. Some may understand that I changed my mind because I did not recognize the first entity, but then I recognized the second. I recognized neither, more importantly the Syrian people do not recognize them or take them seriously. When you have a product that fails in the market, they withdraw the product, change the name, change the packing and they rerelease it again – but it is still faulty. The first and second bodies are the same products with different packaging. Regarding what our minister said, it is very clear.
Part of the initiative is that we are ready to negotiate with anyone including militants who surrender their arms. We are not going to deal with terrorists who are determined to carry weapons, to terrorize people, to kill civilians, to attack public places or private enterprises and destroy the country.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, the world looks at Syria and sees a country being destroyed, with at least 70,000 killed, more than 3 million displaced and sectarian divisions being deepened. Many people around the world blame you. What do you say to them? Are you to blame for what’s happened in the country you are leading?
President Assad: You have noted those figures as though they were numbers from a spreadsheet. To some players they are being used to push forward their political agenda; unfortunately that is a reality. Regardless of their accuracy, for us Syrians, each one of those numbers represents a Syrian man, woman or child. When you talk about thousands of victims, we see thousands of families who have lost loved ones and who unfortunately will grieve for many years to come. Nobody can feel this pain more than us.
Looking at the issue of political agendas, we have to ask better questions. How were these numbers verified? How many represent foreign fighters? How many were combatants aged between 20 and 30? How many were civilians – innocent women and children? The situation on the ground makes it almost impossible to get accurate answers to these important questions. We all know how death tolls and human casualties have been manipulated in the past to pave the way for humanitarian intervention. The Libyan government recently announced that the death toll before the invasion of Libya was exaggerated; they said five thousand victims from each side while the number was talking at that time of tens of thousands.
The British and the Americans who were physically inside Iraq during the war were unable to provide precise numbers about the victims that have been killed from their invasion. Suddenly, the same sources have very precise numbers about what is happening in Syria! This is ironic; I will tell you very simply that these numbers do not exist in reality; it is part of their virtual reality that they want to create to push forward their agenda for military intervention under the title of humanitarian intervention.
Sunday Times: If I may just on this note a little bit. Even if the number is exaggerated and not definitely precise, these are numbers corroborated by Syrian groups, however they are still thousands that were killed. Some are militants but some are civilians. Some are being killed through the military offensive, for example artillery or plane attacks in certain areas. So even if we do not argue the actual number, the same applies, they still blame yourself for those civilians, if you want, that are being killed through the military offensive, do you accept that?
President Assad: Firstly, we cannot talk about the numbers without their names. People who are killed have names. Secondly, why did they die? Where and how were they killed? Who killed them? Armed gangs, terrorist groups, criminals, kidnappers, the army, who?
Sunday Times: It is a mix.
President Assad: It is a mix, but it seems that you are implying that one person is responsible for the current situation and all the human casualties. From day one the situation in Syria has been influenced by military and political dynamics, which are both very fast moving. In such situations you have catalysts and barriers. To assume any one party is responsible for all barriers and another party responsible for all the catalysts is absurd. Too many innocent civilians have died, too many Syrians are suffering. As I have already said nobody is more pained by this than us Syrians, which is why we are pushing for a national dialogue. I’m not in the blame business, but if you are talking of responsibility, then clearly I have a constitutional responsibility to keep Syria and her people safe from terrorists and radical groups.
Sunday Times: What is the role of Al-Qaeda and other jihadists and what threats do they pose to the region and Europe? Are you worried Syria turning into something similar to Chechnya in the past? Are you concerned about the fate of minorities if you were loose this war or of a sectarian war akin to that of Iraq?
President Assad: The role of Al-Qaeda in Syria is like the role of Al-Qaeda anywhere else in this world; killing, beheading, torturing and preventing children from going to school because as you know Al-Qaeda’s ideologies flourish where there is ignorance. Ideologically, they try to infiltrate the society with their dark, extremist ideologies and they are succeeding. If you want to worry about anything in Syria, it is not the ‘minorities.’ This is a very shallow description because Syria is a melting pot of religions, sects, ethnicities and ideologies that collectively make up a homogeneous mixture, irrelevant of the portions or percentages. We should be worrying about the majority of moderate Syrians who, if we do not fight this extremism, could become the minority – at which point Syria will cease to exist.
If you worry about Syria in that sense, you have to worry about the Middle East because we are the last bastion of secularism in the region. If you worry about the Middle East, the whole world should be worried about its stability. This is the reality as we see it.
Sunday Times: How threatening is Al-Qaeda now?
President Assad: Threatening by ideology more than the killing. The killing is dangerous, of course, but what is irreversible is the ideology; that is dangerous and we have been warning of this for many years even before the conflict; we have been dealing with these ideologies since the late seventies. We were the first in the region to deal with such terrorists who have been assuming the mantle of Islam. We have consistently been warning of this, especially in the last decade during the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. The West is only reacting to the situation, not acting. We need to act by dealing with the ideology first. A war on terror without dealing with the ideology will lead you nowhere and will only make things worse. So, it is threatening and it is dangerous, not just to Syria but to the whole region.
Sunday Times: US officials recently, in particular yesterday, are quoted as saying that US decision not to arm rebels could be revised. If this was to happen what in your view will the consequences in Syria and in the region? What is your warning against this? Now, they are talking about directly equipping the rebels with armament vehicles, training and body armaments.
President Assad: You know the crime is not only about the victim and the criminal, but also the accomplice providing support, whether it is moral or logistical support. I have said many times that Syria lies at the fault line geographically, politically, socially and ideologically. So, playing with this fault line will have serious repercussions all over the Middle East. Is the situation better in Libya today? In Mali? In Tunisia? In Egypt? Any intervention will not make things better; it will only make them worse. Europe and the United States and others are going to pay the price sooner or later with the instability in this region; they do not foresee it.
Sunday Times: What is your message to Israel following its air strikes on Syria? Will you retaliate? How will you respond to any future attacks by Israel especially that Israel has said that we will do it again if it has to?
President Assad: Every time Syria did retaliate, but in its own way, not tit for tat. We retaliated in our own way and only the Israelis know what we mean.
Sunday Times: Can you expand?
President Assad: Yes. Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced; only the Israelis will know what I mean.
Sunday Times: Can you tell us how?
President Assad: We do not announce that.
Sunday Times: I met a seven year old boy in Jordan.
President Assad: A Syrian boy?
Sunday Times: A Syrian boy who had lost an arm and a leg to a missile strike in Herak. Five children in his family had been killed in that explosion. As a father, what can you say to that little boy? Why have so many innocent civilians died in air strikes, army shelling and sometimes, I quote, ‘Shabiha shootings?’
President Assad: What is his name?
Sunday Times: I have his name…I will bring it to you later.
President Assad: As I said every victim in this crisis has a name, every casualty has a family. Like 5 year-old Saber who whilst having breakfast with his family at home lost his leg, his mother and other members of his family. Like 4 year-old Rayan who watched his two brothers slaughtered for taking him to a rally. None of these families have any political affiliations. Children are the most fragile link in any society and unfortunately they often pay the heaviest price in any conflict. As a father of young children, I know the meaning of having a child harmed by something very simple; so what if they are harmed badly or if we lose a child, it is the worst thing any family can face. Whenever you have conflicts, you have these painful stories that affect any society. This is the most important and the strongest incentive for us to fight terrorism. Genuine humanitarians who feel the pain that we feel about our children and our losses should encourage their governments to prevent smuggling armaments and terrorists and to prevent the terrorists from acquiring any military supplies from any country.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, when you lie in bed at night, do you hear the explosions in Damascus? Do you, in common with many other Syrians, worry about the safety of your family? Do you worry that there may come a point where your own safety is in jeopardy?
President Assad: I see it completely differently. Can anybody be safe, or their family be safe, if the country is in danger? In reality NO! If your country is not safe, you cannot be safe. So instead of worrying about yourself and your family, you should be worried about every citizen and every family in your country. So it’s a mutual relationship.
Sunday Times: You’ll know of the international concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons. Would your army ever use them as a last resort against your opponents? Reports suggest they have been moved several times, if so why? Do you share the international concern that they may fall into the hands of Islamist rebels? What is the worst that could happen?
President Assad: Everything that has been referred to in the media or by official rhetoric regarding Syrian chemical weapons is speculation. We have never, and will never, discuss our armaments with anyone. What the world should worry about is chemical materials reaching the hands of terrorists. Video material has already been broadcast showing toxic material being tried on animals with threats to the Syrian people that they will die in the same way. We have shared this material with other countries. This is what the world should be focusing on rather than wasting efforts to create elusive headlines on Syrian chemical weapons to justify any intervention in Syria.
Sunday Times: I know you are not saying whether they are safe or not. There is concern if they are safe or no one can get to them.
President Assad: This is constructive ambiguity. No country will talk about their capabilities. Sunday Times: A lot has been talked about this as well: what are the roles of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia in the war on the ground? Are you aware of Hezbollah fighters in Syria and what are they doing? What weapons are your allies Iran and Russia supplying? What other support are they providing?
President Assad: The Russian position is very clear regarding armaments – they supply Syria with defensive armaments in line with international law. Hezbollah, Iran and Russia support Syria in her fight against terrorism. Russia has been very constructive, Iran has been very supportive and Hezbollah’s role is to defend Lebanon not Syria. We are a country of 23 million people with a strong National Army and Police Force. We are in no need of foreign fighters to defend our country. What we should be asking is, what about the role of other countries, – Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, the US, – that support terrorism in Syria directly or indirectly, militarily or politically.
Sunday Times: Mr. President, may I ask you about your own position? Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov recently said that Lakhdar Ibrahimi complained of wanting to see more flexibility from your regime and that while you never seem to say ‘no’ you never seem to say ‘yes’. Do you think that there can be a negotiated settlement while you remain President, which is a lot of people are asking?
President Assad: Do not expect a politician to only say yes or no in the absolute meaning; it is not multiple choice questions to check the correct answer. You can expect from any politician a vision and our vision is very clear. We have a plan and whoever wants to deal with us, can deal with us through our plan. This is very clear in order not to waste time. This question reflects what has been circulating in the Western media about personalizing the problem in Syria and suggesting that the entire conflict is about the president and his future. If this argument is correct, then my departure will stop the fighting. Clearly this is absurd and recent precedents in Libya, Yemen and Egypt bear witness to this. Their motive is to try to evade the crux of the issue, which is dialogue, reform and combating terrorism. The legacy of their interventions in our region have been chaos, destruction and disaster. So, how can they justify any future intervention? They cannot. So, they focus on blaming the president and pushing for his departure; questioning his credibility; is he living in a bubble or not? is he detached from reality or not? So, the focus of the conflict becomes about the president.
Sunday Times: Some foreign officials have called for you to stand for war crimes at the International Criminal Court as the person ultimately responsible for the army’s actions? Do you fear prosecution by the ICC? Or the possibility of future prosecution and trial in Syria?
President Assad: Whenever an issue that is related to the UN is raised, you are raising the question of credibility. We all know especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union – for the last twenty years – that the UN and all its organizations are the victims of hegemony instead of being the bastions of justice. They became politicized tools in order to create instability and to attack sovereign countries, which is against the UN’s charter. So, the question that we have to raise now is: are they going to take the American and the British leaders who attacked Iraq in 2003 and claimed more than half a million lives in Iraq, let alone orphans, handicapped and deformed people? Are they going to take the American, British French and others who went to Libya without a UN resolution last year and claimed again hundreds of lives? They are not going to do it. The answer is very clear. You know that sending mercenaries to any country is a war crime according Nuremberg principles and according to the London Charter of 1945. Are they going to put Erdogan in front of this court because he sent mercenaries? Are they going to do the same with the Saudis and the Qataris? If we have answers to these questions, then we can talk about peace organizations and about credibility.
My answer is very brief: when people defend their country, they do not take into consideration anything else.
Sunday Times: Hindsight is a wonderful thing Mr. President. If you could wind the clock back two years would you have handled anything differently? Do you believe that there are things that could or should have been done in another way? What mistakes do you believe have been made by your followers that you would change?
President Assad: You can ask this question to a President if he is the only one responsible for all the context of the event. In our case in Syria, we know there are many external players. So you have to apply hindsight to every player. You have to ask Erdogan, with hindsight would you send terrorists to kill Syrians, would you afford logistical support to them? You should ask the Qatari and Saudis whether in hindsight, would you send money to terrorists and to Al-Qaeda offshoots or any other terrorist organization to kill Syrians? We should ask the same question to the European and American officials, in hindsight would you offer a political umbrella to those terrorists killing innocent civilians in Syria?
In Syria, we took two decisions. The first is to make dialogue; the second is to fight terrorism. If you ask any Syrian, in hindsight would you say no to dialogue and yes to terrorism? I do not think any sane person will agree with you. So I think in hindsight, we started with dialogue and we are going to continue with dialogue. In hindsight, we said we are going to fight terrorism and we are going to continue to fight terrorism.
Sunday Times: Do you ever think about living in exile if it came to that? And would you go abroad if it increases the chances of peace in Syria?
President Assad: Again, it is not about the president. I don’t think any patriotic person or citizen would think of living outside his country.
Sunday Times: You will never leave?
President Assad: No patriotic person will think about living outside his country. I am like any other patriotic Syrian.
Sunday Times: How shaken you were you by the bomb that killed some of your most senior generals last summer, including your brother-in-law?
President Assad: You mentioned my brother-in-law but it is not a family affair. When high-ranking officials are being assassinated it is a national affair. Such a crime will make you more determined to fight terrorism. It is not about how you feel, but more about what you do. We are more determined in fighting terrorism.
Sunday Times: Finally, Mr. President, may I ask about my colleague, Marie Colvin, who was killed in the shelling of an opposition media center at Baba Amr on February 22 last year. Was she targeted, as some have suggested, because she condemned the destruction on American and British televisions? Or was she just unlucky? Did you hear about her death at the time and if so what was your reaction?
President Assad: Of course, I heard about the story through the media. When a journalist goes into conflict zones, as you are doing now, to cover a story and convey it to the world, I think this is very courageous work. Every decent person, official or government should support journalists in these efforts because that will help shed light on events on the ground and expose propaganda where it exists. Unfortunately in most conflicts a journalist has paid the ultimate price. It is always sad when a journalist is killed because they are not with either side or even part of the problem, they only want to cover the story. There is a media war on Syria preventing the truth from being told to the outside world.
14 Syrian journalists who have also been killed since the beginning of the crisis and not all of them on the ground. Some have been targeted at home after hours, kidnapped, tortured and then murdered. Others are still missing. More than one Syrian television station has been attacked by terrorists and their bombs. There is currently a ban on the broadcast of Syrian TV channels on European satellite systems. It is also well known how rebels have used journalists for their own interests. There was the case of the British journalist who managed to escape.
Sunday Times: Alex Thompson?
President Assad: Yes. He was lead into a death trap by the terrorists in order to accuse the Syrian Army of his death. That’s why it is important to enter countries legally, to have a visa. This was not the case for Marie Colvin. We don’t know why and it’s not clear. If you enter illegally, you cannot expect the state to be responsible. Contrary to popular belief, since the beginning of the crisis, hundreds of journalists from all over the world, including you, have gained visas to enter Syria and have been reporting freely from inside Syria with no interferences in their work and no barriers to fulfill their missions.
Sunday Times: Thank you.
President Assad: Thank you.
by Nile Bowie
March 21, 2013
The pages of history tell us that beautiful civilizations emerged and prospered in the ancient cities of Damascus and Aleppo, some of the oldest continually inhabited cities on earth. The harrowing circus of brutality that is the Syrian conflict, now in its third year, will soil and blacken those pages indefinitely. No matter the political outcome of this horrible war, a once tolerant and diverse state has been shattered and terror itself has eaten into the destiny of Syria’s people, inexorably changing the courses of their lives forever. Children have been orphaned; parents have faced the loss of their children – and by uncompromising means. Infants have been beheaded, the fates of innocent men and women have been sealed through summary executions, and families have been torn apart or destroyed all together. Recent developments in Syria are alarming.
Spokesmen of the Assad government recently accused foreign-backed militants of launching scud missiles containing chemical weapons in the city of Aleppo, killing dozens. Witnesses claim to have seen powder emanate from the rocket, causing those who inhaled the substance to suffocate or require immediate medical attention. An unnamed chemical weapons expert cited by Al-Jazeera claimed that the causalities were not consistent with Syria’s reputed stockpile of chemical agents, stating, “If it’s a chemical warfare agent, it’s not working very well.” Syria’s ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, called on the UN Secretary-General to form an independent technical mission to investigate the use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups operating in Syria.
While on his first state visit to Israel, Barack Obama cast doubt and expressed deep scepticism toward the Assad government’s version of events, stating that if the government did indeed use chemical weapons, then it meant a “red line
” had been crossed. Obama vowed not to make further announcements until concrete facts were established. What this essentially means is that Obama is now in a position to act on his statements and intervene more boldly and directly than the United States has already been doing since the beginning of the conflict. Additionally, NATO personnel have also indicated that they are prepared to employ a wide range of operations. US-European Command Admiral James Stavridis recently told media that the alliance was “prepared, if called upon, to be engaged as we were in Libya
.”Those who have critically monitored the situation from the beginning are under no illusions. The way in which mainstream media sources have covered the Syrian conflict, perhaps more so than any other topic in recent times, shows unequivocally how certain content providers have moved in step with the foreign policy of the Western and Gulf states who have enabled insurgent groups and provided diplomatic cover for opposition politicians who represent their economic and strategic interests. The Obama administration’s policy toward Libya and Syria eyes the same familiar endgame as what the Bush administration sought in its foreign policy adventures. The fact that many of those on the left who campaigned against Iraq and Afghanistan are now generally silent, or even supportive of Obama’s agenda, is proof that his policies have been packaged far more intelligently for mainstream consumption. The reality is that Syria is “Shock and Awe
” by other means.
There are a myriad of reasons why Bashar al-Assad must go in the eyes of policy makers in Washington and Tel Aviv, and the destruction of his tenure could not have been possible without the financial muscle of Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s wretchedly opulent Sunni Monarchs. These glittering kingdoms of disaster-capitalism are not only responsible for supplying weapons and cash; a major incentive of theirs is exporting the Wahhabist and Salafist ideologies that many of Syria’s imported jihadists subscribe to, a warped and primal interpretation of Islam that has fueled the sectarian nature of the Syrian conflict and deepened social divisions to their most dangerous point – in a country that was once renowned for its tolerance of religious diversity. These Gulf kingdoms, which are more-or-less given a trump card to commit deplorable human rights violations institutionally, are also responsible for propping up the political arm of their militant foot soldiers, and that comes in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Syria’s opposition coalition, which is itself entirely a creation of foreign powers, has recently elected its own interim prime minister – enter, Ghassan Hitto, a virtually unknown political novice with a US passport and a computer science degree from Purdue University. Hitto is an Islamist Kurd with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has politically dominated the Syrian National Council since its creation, in addition to organizing tactical elements of the insurgency. The backbone of the Brotherhood’s relationship with the medieval monarchies of the Persian Gulf is grounded in a firm opposition to Shi’a Islam, as extolled by clerical leaders in Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah; Assad himself is also an Alawite, an offshoot of Shi’a Islam. It should be clear enough by now how enflaming sectarian divisions in the region was a prerequisite for those bank-rolling the insurgency, aimed at demolishing the secular Syrian state.
Several high-profile members of Syria’s opposition coalition boycotted the vote for interim prime minister, citing what they viewed as a foreign-backed campaign to elect Hitto. Kamal Labwani, a veteran opposition campaigner, was reported as saying, “We don’t want what happened in Egypt to happen in Syria. They hijacked the revolution.” Those who abstained from the vote accuse Hitto of being a puppet of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that the SNC’s decisions were being dictated from the outside. Walid al-Bunni, another senior figure in the opposition, stated, “The Muslim Brotherhood, with the backing of Qatar, have imposed their prime minister candidate. We will keep away if the coalition does not reconsider its choice.” Let’s just get this straight – Assad, a leader whose presence today is a testament to the fact that he continues to enjoy majority popular support, is considered to have lost his legitimacy. On the other hand, Hitto, a man with no political experience who received 35 votes out of 49 ballots cast during a Syrian National Coalition meeting, is supposed to be legitimate representative of the Syrian people?
These realities can only be interpreted as the boot of the so-called “International Community
” squashing the face of the Syrian people, imposing on them a man who does not represent them, but the business interests of multinational corporations who seek to plant their flags in the soil of a post-Assad Syria. Let’s not humor ourselves by thinking John Kerry, William Hague, Laurent Fabius or Qatari Emir Khalifa Al Thani actually care about the people of Syria. However many casualties the Syrian conflict has incurred thus far can be attributable to the influx of foreign funds, foreign arms, and foreign fighters. It would be intellectually dishonest to deny that the tactics of Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Arab Army have also caused widespread civilian causalities and suffering. It is an enormous challenge for a state military to quell unconventional insurgencies of the sort carried out by militants in Syria when these battles take place in densely populated residential areas.One should not cynically credit Syrian government forces with intentionally killing their own people; this does not serve the purposes of the state in anyway. Civilian deaths that have occurred as a result of government forces engaging the insurgency should more accurately be seen as a heinous by-product of a foreign campaign to topple the Syrian government. While the foreign ministries of Western capitals cite politically charged death-toll statistics to justify their campaign against “Assad the Butcher
”, it is absolutely unconscionable that Paris and London have called for lifting the Syrian arms embargo, and for vowing to arm militant groups with or without the consent of the EU. Apparently some seventy thousand people have been killed in Syria according to the United Nations, and these cited European states, which allegedly are so concerned about terrorism, want to dump more guns into Syria – this is madness.
Western states want to install proxy leaders who will grovel to their multinationals and swallow IMF medicine, Gulf states seek unfettered hegemony in their own backyards, and they all want to see the Shi’a resistance smashed to pieces. Following the news of chemical weapons being used in Syria, the most immediate conclusion of this observer is that foreign-backed militants, who have used every opportunity to call for more material and support, employed the use of a smuggled chemical weapon of poor quality to bring about direct military intervention in their favor. Right on cue, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are frothing at the mouth, urging President Obama to “take immediate action” and consider deploying troops. Graham was quoted as saying, “If the choice is to send in troops to secure the weapons sites versus allowing chemical weapons to get in the hands of some of the most violent people in the world, I vote to cut this off before it becomes a problem.” There is no surer sign of a pathological mind than when one credits others with the blood on their own hands.
Nile Bowie is an independent political analyst and photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 19, 2013
Most of the more than 100 injured in chemical weapon attack are in critical condition. Photo SANA
Insurgents and Syrian Government blaming each other for the Escalation with Chemical Weapon Attack.
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc).- A rocked with chemical substances, fired from the Da´el area, exploding in the Khan al-Asal area near the Syrian capital Damascus today, killed at least 25 and injured 100. The majority of the injured are reported to be in critical a condition. The Syrian government and insurgents are blaming each other for the escalation of the violence.
While the Syrian government possesses chemical weapons, several factors make it unlikely beyond reasonable doubt, that a rocket with weaponized chemical substances has been fired by Syrian military forces. Like in every other regular military force, the chemical weapons under control of the Syrian military are closely monitored, registered, and easily to be accounted for.
The UN´s independent commission of inquiry recently suggested to refer Syria to the international criminal court. A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry called the report biased and unbalanced, and the suggestion to refer Syria to the ICC as futile and ill timed. (1 Escalating the conflict by using chemical weapons would be political suicide from experienced politicians who know better than bringing Russia into a diplomatic quagmire. With the national dialog making steady progress, the use of chemical weapons would be equivalent to the Syrian government derailing the national dialog which it facilitates.
While these and many other factors make it more than unlikely that the rocket was fired by Syrian military forces, the opposite is the case with the foreign backed insurgents. The strongest circumstantial evidence however, until an investigation has eventually has yielded material evidence, is the fact that the foreign backed insurgents themselves have published video recordings, in which they were demonstrating how they are producing chemical substances which can be weaponized in small laboratories. The small laboratories have been provided for the insurgents by Saudi-Arabia.
Syria´s Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi has held the countries that are arming the ´opposition` responsible for the crime in Khan al-Asal and stressed, that the government of Turkey´s Prime Minister Erdogan and the government of Qatar bear legal, moral and political responsibility for the attack that killed 25 and wounded more than 100.
Al-Zoubi condemned the Arab League on a ministerial level for its decision to support the armed insurgency, saying “whoever got involved and announced direct and public military support to the terrorists, whether he is an emir, a minister or a prime minister, must be held accountable for the crime”. He stressed the fact, that the terrorists used an internationally banned weapon and called upon the international community and the countries which are funding and arming the terrorists to assume their responsibility for the crime. He added, that the escalation of the violence by use of internationally banned weapons against civilians is a dangerous shift in the course of the events in Syria with regard to security in general, and with regard to the military situation.
Minister Al-Zoubi added, that the government of the Syrian Arab Republic has the right to act in accordance with international law and file a lawsuit against the countries which are arming the opposition, including internationally outlawed terrorist organizations such as Jabhat al-Nusra with internationally banned weapons.
Today´s escalation of terrorism with an internationally banned weapon is also likely to even further deteriorate diplomatic ties between Russia and the USA. One of the factors that has contributed to the rapid deterioration in diplomatic relations over Syria was the fact that the USA rejected a Russian resolution at the United Nations Security Council which would have condemned all forms of terrorism.
The US veto at the UN Security Council, against the condemnation of the attack and terrorism in all of its forms, prompted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to voice the Russian governments frustration over the fact, that the UNSC standards, according to which all nations, without exclusion, would condemn terrorism, regardless of the perpetrator, place or motives, was no longer upheld. Lavrov stated, “Russia sees in the American position the use of double standards and a dangerous approach in terms of the Americans moving away from the main principle of condemning terrorism in all its forms”. (2
According to information by Syrian authorities, the toxic gasses that have been involved in today´s rocket attack cause immediate fainting, quiver and death, prompting Syria´s Information Minister al-Zoubi to state, that “this shift in the type and manner of arming the terrorists embodied in using weapons imported from outside Syria across the border with some neighboring countries means that all allegations made by some countries, such as France, UK, Qatar and Turkey on providing logistic and “non-lethal” weapons to the armed terrorist groups in Syria are mere talk to sell the media.”
The escalation of the violence with a chemical weapon constitute a serious escalation in willful and systematic breeches and a further step toward an explosion of international law into anarchy and barbarism.
Since 2001, the USA, together with NATO and allies, have systematically dismantled the progress in international law that has been made since 1945 and the end of the second world war. The political, military and financial support of Jahbat al-Nusra and other militia who are involved in the attempted subversion of Syria constitute a breech against the Convention against the Use of Mercenaries. Also the use of so-called private military contractors to fulfill military duties in conflict areas constitutes a breech of the Convention against the Use of Mercenaries. International lawyer Christopher Black pointed out the irony of calling mercenaries private contractors, saying ” private contractors, as if the were construction workers”. (3
Saudi-Arabia´s and Turkey´s documented use of convicts for military service in Syria constitutes a willful and systematic breech of the Geneva Conventions, which regulate the war times rights of both civilian and military prisoners. (4 -(5 Military interventions under the pretext of humanitarian interventions or the principle of the responsibility to protect, which was used by the USA and NATO to bring about regime change in Libya, constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles enshrined in the Treaty of Westphalia, which is one of the root principles of the UN Charter.
The list of systematic explosions of international law by the USA, NATO and allies continues with breeches against the Convention against Torture by re-branding torture as enhanced interrogation methods, breeches against UN resolutions by blocking Syrian radio and TV channels access to international satellites, (6 and it could be continued ad infinitum.
Today´s use of a chemical weapon by US/NATO and allied backed mercenary forces, and failure of the USA, EU, NATO and allies to unequivocally condemn it as an act of terrorism and a war crime, constitutes but one more explosion of international law into anarchy, barbarism and despotism.
Syria´s Information Minister al-Zoubi elicited the bearing of this aggravation when he stressed that the terrorist crime committed in Aleppo is “an exceptional case, compared to the events in the world at least over the last fifty years” Exceptional, because an internationally banned weapon was being used publicly from an area where Western and Turkish intelligence are operating along side Jahbat al-Nusra members”.
1) Permafrost; Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Blasts USA and Allies for Arming Syria´s Opposition.
2) Lavrov: US Veto of UNSC Resolution to Condemn Damascus Blasts Indicates Double Standards
3) South East China Sea; A Perfect Crisis for the International Crisis Group.
4) Saudi Arabia commits War Crime by Forced Use of Prisoners in Syria Insurgency.
5) Killing of Journalist Maya Naser in Damascus possibly tied to his investigation into Turkey War Crimes
6) The Dynamics of the Crisis in Syria. Conflict Versus Conflict Resolution. (Part 2/6)
by Nile Bowie
March 7, 2013
The long-term US funding of anti-government programs in Syria has raised questions about the types of groups being supported, and the benefits and arms supplied to militant groups; establishing political stability requires considered dialogue.
It appears that the US State Department under John Kerry will soon shift its focus to helping the rebels establish a full-fledged alternative government on Syrian territory and recognize it as the legal government of Syria. Such a move would legitimize the transfer of heavy weaponry and would allow the US to directly employ air strikes or Patriot anti-missile batteries against Assad’s forces.
Some would argue that these moves could help to marginalize the notable al-Qaeda presence among rebel forces. Pumping more arms and heavier weapons into Syria is unconscionable at this point, and continuing to do so will inevitably bolster the muscle and reach of jihadi and Salafist fighters. The argument that the US and its allies have only armed the “moderate” rebels is a deeply flawed one; weapons are in high demand by all rebel factions and there is little means to effectively prevent arms from gravitating toward hardcore Al-Qaeda fighters.
In his famous 1962 description of irregular warfare operations, US President John F. Kennedy alluded to “another type of warfare,” one that is “new in its intensity, ancient in its origin—war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It preys on unrest.”
After two harrowing years of division, senseless killing and civil war, the scared Syrian nation and its people are well acquainted with these unconventional methods of warfare denounced over 50 years ago.
Yet Western and Gulf states have proven their double standards by enabling radicals elsewhere – lest we forget the presence of Libyan military commander Abdulhakim Belhadj, former leader of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (officially designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department), who was sent to Syria to aid the Free Syrian Army on orders of the entity formerly known as the Libyan National Transition Council (NTC). The track record of allied Western and Gulf states shows that they are more interested in enabling terrorism for their own purposes rather than preventing it.
Since the eruption of violence in March 2011, Syria has endured targeted assassination campaigns, ceaseless suicide bombings and shelling, and massacres where infants have had their throats slit to the spine – the time has come for the opposition to engage the Assad government in dialogue and finally bring about a ceasefire and the total cessation of violence and insurgency.
From the reports of third-party sniper-fire targeting both protesters and security personnel in the southern city of Daraa at the very onset of the conflict, to the horrendous attacks on the students of Aleppo University in January 2013 – those who have critically monitored the situation from the beginning are under no illusions – the influx of armament and mercenary elements from abroad into Syria has brought the situation to where it is today. Western capitals have provided logistics, coordination, political support, and non-lethal aid, Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have openly provided weapons and monthly salaries for rebel fighters, and Turkey has allowed rebel fighters to receive training and arms from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the southeastern part of the country, allowing militants to pass into Syria freely.
There are those who say that Syria is the subject of an internal revolution that is brutally repressed by a malicious dictator, and those who say instead that Syria is being attacked by foreign powers who have deployed mercenaries and extremist fighters from abroad to engage in the destruction of infrastructure and conduct targeted assassinations to bring about an end to the Assad regime. Despite Washington’s concerns of heavy weapons falling into the hands of Al-Qaeda-linked militants, the US-backed campaign to coax regime change in Damascus has from the very onset enabled militants who justify their acts of terror in the name of a perverted interpretation of Islam. Reports in the Washington Post indicate that US support for anti-government groups in Syria began in 2005, transcending two presidential administrations:
“The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama, even as his administration sought to rebuild relations with Assad. Syrian authorities ‘would undoubtedly view any U.S. funds going to illegal political groups as tantamount to supporting regime change,’ read an April 2009 cable signed by the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Damascus at the time. ‘A reassessment of current U.S.-sponsored programming that supports anti-[government] factions, both inside and outside Syria, may prove productive,’ the cable said. The cables report persistent fears among U.S. diplomats that Syrian state security agents had uncovered the money trail from Washington.”The article describes how Washington funnelled about $12 million to anti-government programs in Syria between 2005 and 2010 to recipients affiliated with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Israel, which is now illegally conducting exploratory drilling in the occupied Golan Heights, and the US view the toppling of Damascus as a means of extinguishing the critical conduit between Iran and Hezbollah, the political and militant Shi’a organization centered in Southern Lebanon, in addition to helping isolate the Palestinian resistance.
The non-violent route: Laying aside differences
Both the incumbent Syrian authorities and the opposition must find strength to come to a mutually acceptable compromise. These parties have no other option than to search for a solution, lay down an agreeable constitutional basis for elections, and face each other in international monitored polls once the situation stabilizes. The Syrian people must not have democracy imposed on them, and the victor of this war should not be decided on the battlefield, but by the ballot box.
To gain the confidence of the electorate, election observers from the US, Qatar, Russia, and Iran could be sent to monitor the transition process – if the people of Syria want Assad to remain in power, then the rule of majority must be honored. Militant groups comprised of mostly hard line foreign fighters such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham cannot be expected to participate in a ceasefire, so the true test of a short-term alliance between Assad and the SNC would be in its ability to cooperate in quelling radical militants and restoring stability – such is a perquisite for any kind of transition.
Former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton once threatened Russia and China that they would “pay a price” for their position on the Syrian issue. It should be noted that these powers maintained a balanced approach throughout and advocated dialogue from the start, in addition to stringently adhering to former UN Envoy Kofi Annan’s six point peace plan. Iran should also be given due credit for hosting an International Consultative Conference in August 2012, which brought together representatives of thirty nations to call for ending the flow of foreign arms into terrorist hands inside Syria, proposals to broker a meaningful ceasefire, the coordination of humanitarian aid, and support for Syrian people’s right to reform without foreign interference.
Accommodating diversity in Syrian society
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted in the Washington Post stating,“Syrian society is a beautiful mosaic of ethnicities, faiths and cultures, and it will be smashed to pieces should President Bashar Assad abruptly fall. The idea that, in that event, there would be an orderly transition of power is an illusion. Abrupt political change without a roadmap for managed political transition will lead only to a precarious situation that would destabilize one of the world’s most sensitive regions.” It is clear that the Assad government is more stable than many Western states anticipated, and it continues to enjoy popular support.
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah recently warned against sectarian infighting in Lebanon related to the Syrian civil war, arguing that outsiders are pushing Lebanon “toward civil and religious strife, and specifically Sunni-Shia strife.” Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki also warned that a victory for rebels would “create a new extremist haven and destabilize the wider Middle East.” The Syrian regime will not imminently collapse but if it is brought down by military intervention, the consequences could lead to a highly unpredictable situation where match and tinder can meet at any moment with debilitating consequences for the region. It is time for both parties to convene. It is time to end this war.
Reports published in 2007 in the New Yorker by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh detail how the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia supported a regional network of extremist fighters and terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda with the aim of stomping out Hezbollah and Syria’s Assad in a bid to isolate Iran, who is viewed as an existential threat to the US and its allies in the region. A principal component of this policy shift was the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups, hence the ever-deepening sectarian nature of the Syrian conflict:“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
While the CIA has purportedly claimed to distribute arms only to “secular” and “moderate”rebel forces, Washington insiders from various academic and think-tank circles have openly endorsed bizarre positions in favor of integrating terrorists into Syria’s rebel forces. “Al-Qaeda’s Specter in Syria,” penned by Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Ed Husain, argues in favor of Al-Qaeda terrorists and their inclusion in the Free Syrian Army, stating, “The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervour, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.” Foreign Policy’s, “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists,” penned by Gary Gambill of the heavily neo-conservative Middle East Forum, argues in favor of Al-Qaeda, “Islamists — many of them hardened by years of fighting U.S. forces in Iraq — are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts. Assad has had extraordinary difficulty countering tactics perfected by his former jihadist allies, particularly suicide bombings and roadside bombs.”
While many Western media outlets once likened Syria’s rebels to pro-democracy freedom fighters, it has become more challenging to view them as anything other than Salafist radicals – the former’s existence was amplified specifically to provide cover and legitimacy for the violence and subversion of the latter. As a result of a foreign-backed insurgency, the Assad regime resorted to tactics of shelling and conducing air strikes on rebel strongholds, which were mostly in densely populated urban areas. It should not be denied that these heavy-handed tactics have also led to a substantial and regrettable loss of life.
The Friends of Syria group recently convened in Rome, where the US State Department has pledged $60 million to help the opposition maintain “the institutions of the state” in areas under their control, such as establishing terms of governance, the rule of law, and police forces. Reports have also claimed that the US is also deliberating more open engagement in Syria under newly appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry, however Washington has stopped short of openly providing arms and military training. American and western officials have told the New York Times that Saudi Arabia has recently financed a large purchase of infantry weapons from Croatia and funnelled them to Syrian rebel groups. Although the United States is not credited with providing arms to rebel forces, the New York Times has reported the presence of CIA operatives in southern Turkey since June 2012, who are distributing weapons with the Obama administration’s blessing. US spokesperson Jay Carney was quoted as saying, “We will continue to provide assistance to the Syrian people, to the Syrian opposition, we will continue to increase our assistance in the effort to bring about a post-Assad Syria.”
In early March 2013, the Syrian National Council (SNC) will meet in Istanbul to form a provisional government that would oversee rebel-held areas of the country. This wouldn’t be the first time the SNC has attempted to form a government; previous attempts in January 2013 fell apart, with many factions refusing to consider a prime ministerial nominee. SNC President Moaz al-Khatib has angered several factions for proposing his readiness to negotiate with the Assad government, a position that many in the opposition refuse to accept.
The Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari has urged the Friends of Syria states to convince the Syrian opposition to sit down for an unconditional national dialogue, which al-Khatib has expressed his willingness to take part in. One could surmise that al-Khatib’s shift toward dialogue indicates that the SNC is feeling less secure and more wary of a possible military defeat or rivalry with radical factions. Such a dialogue would undoubtedly represent a step in the right direction. Despite political differences and two years of deep conflict, these two parties must establish a genuine ceasefire and partnership to restore a climate of normality throughout the country. In this context, both parties must be able to agree on coordinating aid distribution to all parts of the country.
International recognition of a provisional SNC government would only create further divisions at a time when national unity is most needed. Although rebel-held areas are badly isolated and in need of humanitarian supplies, the delivery of aid must be facilitated through direct talks and partnership between Moaz al-Khatib’s Syrian National Council and Bashar Al-Assad’s government.
Nile Bowie is an independent political analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached at email@example.com
Join the weekly pickets opposing imperialist intervention in Syria and Iran.
4:00-5:00 pm, Fridays (weather permitting)
at Corner of Spring Garden Rd. & Barrington St.
Weekly pickets began in Halifax on June 8  and will take place every Friday.
The warmongering against Syria is reaching fever pitch. The big powers of Western Europe, Turkey and the U.S. with Canada in tow seem determined to launch open aggression against Syria. Their covert operations have thus far failed to achieve their aim of regime change so every day they up the ante. In this regard, the Canadian government and the Loyal Opposition in the federal Parliament are the most hysterical of warmongers.
The Harper dictatorship and the Loyal Opposition have not hesitated to repeat the Anglo-French-U.S. litany of justifications for such aggression and added some of their own. This is mainly comprised of disinformation to demonize the Syrian government which is blamed for gross violations of human rights. This is to make sure no investigations can seriously determine who is committing the violations, while also claiming that external powers, like Russia, are fuelling the internal conflict.
In this way Canada is deploying itself to advance the U.S. imperialist interests in particular. It wants the kind of “humanitarian intervention” which culminated with regime change in Libya but has to contend with the likes of Russia first. To do this it is advancing a self-serving definition of what constitutes foreign interference in the internal affairs of a country. According to the Canadian warmongers, it is foreign interference in the internal affairs of Syria when Russia and China defend their political and economic relations with Syria because these relations are outside the U.S. imperialist sphere of control. But, according to them, all the covert operations carried out by the U.S. and western imperialist powers and their client states in the Middle East and Turkey are not foreign interference. These actions are allegedly disinterested because they are said to have the aim of defending human rights. It is the most unadulterated balderdash. Amongst other things, the aim is to confuse the anti-war movement, while it sets in motion its deadly plans to attack Syria.
The U.S. camp’s strategy is ultimately also aimed at targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran for attack once Syria is out of the way. To justify such an aggression, like the fairy tale a decade ago about weapons of mass destruction buried in the deserts of Iraq, deafening propaganda is being floated world-wide — especially from the United States and Israel — about the alleged dangers of Iran developing a nuclear bomb. The real issue, however, is the imperialists’ ambition to eliminate Iran’s political independence, especially its independent development and management of current and future oil production on its territory. The gauntlet is openly being thrown down by the Big Powers. The peoples of the world cannot afford to hesitate for a minute. Peace-loving humanity must take its stand against this latest grave danger of war, one that could easily escalate far beyond the borders of Syria and/or Iran.
Hands Off Syria! Hands Off Iran!
Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!
Get Canada Out of NATO!
Halifax Branch of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist),
No Harbour For War and other concerned Haligonians
For more information on Syria and Iran read The Marxist-Leninist www.cpcml.ca
[Potent News Editor's note:
Other links on this conflict can be found here
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February 26, 2013
The West creates, backs and supports the bad guys, so that it can go in and save the world.
by Tony Cartalucci
February 4, 2013 (Guardian War Propaganda) – It’s hard to contemplate the audacity of the Guardian in their feigning concern for the victims of extremism in Mali as 2 years ago they were cheering on almost identical extremists in the very same region.
Image: Libya’s “rebels” were in fact Al Qaeda’s US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who committed sweeping atrocities, even exterminating entire cities with little or no condemnation from the West. Now they fight in Syria with Western arms and cash, while their ideological compatriots in Mali serve as a casus belli for French occupation.
The UK Government and media outlets downplayed and largely ignored the brutalization of black communities during the Libyan conflict and in its aftermath reports of ethnic cleansing were conveniently swept under the carpet. The extremists who were committing these atrocities and war crimes were subjected to the least amount of scrutiny possible as they were essentially fighting on behalf of Western interests and were backed up militarily by NATO. Compare this to the current situation in Mali. A near autonomous region in the North of the country is this time directly threatening Western interests so miraculously its all systems go with regards to rigorous reporting and faux outrage.
What does this duplicity tell us about government policy and the news reports that shamelessly support it?
It tells us that human rights and democracy play little to no part in the decision to promote and pursue wars. The Guardian can, and do, propagandize a cause based solely on the Governments financial interests.
by Tony Cartalucci
NATO funding, arming, & simultaneously fighting Al Qaeda from Mali to Syria.
January 11, 2013 (LD) – A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.
TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:
“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”
[READ ENTIRE ARTICLE...]
Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
December 28-30, 2012
Washington’s Sectarian Killers
For Whom the Syrian Bell Tolls
The top geopolitical tragedy in 2012 is bound to remain the top geopolitical tragedy in 2013: the rape of Syria.
Just as once in a while I go back to my favorite Hemingway passages, lately I’ve been going back to some footage I shot years ago of the Aleppo souk – the most extraordinary of all Middle Eastern souks. It’s like being shot in the back; I was as fond of the souk’s architecture as of its people and traders. Weeks ago, most of the souk – the living pulse of Aleppo for centuries – was set on fire and destroyed by the “rebels” of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA).
In this Syrian tragedy, there is no Hemingway young hero, no Robert Jordan in the International Brigades fighting alongside Republican guerrillas against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. In the Syrian civil war, the international brigades are mostly of the mercenary, Salafi-jihadi, beheading and car-bombing type. And the (few) young Americans in place are basically high-tech pawns in a game played by the rapacious NATOGCC club (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its Arab puppets of the Gulf Cooperation Council).
The tragedy continues. The Syrian state, political and military security apparatus will maintain its mini-blitzkriegs – with no second thoughts for “collateral damage”. On the opposing side, “rebel” commanders will be betting on a new Saudi-Qatari-encouraged Supreme Military Council.
The Salafis and Salafi-jihadis of the al-Nusrah Front – 7th century fanatics, beheading enthusiasts and car-bombing operatives who do the bulk of the fighting – were not invited. After all, the al-Nusrah Front has been branded a “terrorist organization” by Washington.
Now check the reaction of a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) bigwig, Hama-born deputy comptroller general Mohammed Farouk Tayfour; he said the decision was “too hasty”. And check the reaction of the new Syrian opposition leader, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, at a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Morocco; the decision must be “reexamined”. Virtually all “rebel” outfits publicly declared their undying love for the hardcore al-Nusrah.
So with the al-Nusrah fanatics probably disguising their Islamically correct beards under a prosaic hoodie, expect plenty more “rebel” advances on Damascus – despite two major beatings (last July and then this month), courtesy of Syrian government counter-offensives. After all, that lavish training by US, British and Jordanian Special Forces has got to yield some results, not to mention the loads of extra lethal weapons provided by those paragons of democracy in the Persian Gulf. By the way, the al-Nusrah Front controls sections of devastated Aleppo.
Sectarian Hatred Rules
Then there’s the Orwellian, brand new National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces – a Washington-Doha co-production. Meet the new boss, same as the old (lousy) boss, which was the Syrian National Council (SNC). It’s just rhetoric; the only thing that matters for the “National Coalition” is to get more lethal weapons. And they love al-Nusrah, even if Washington doesn’t.
Qatar unloaded tons of weapons “like candy” (according to a US arms dealer) in “liberated” Libya. Only after the Benghazi blowback did the Pentagon and the State Department wake up to the fact that weaponizing the Syrian rebels may be, well, the road to more blowback. Translation: Qatar will keep unloading tons of weapons in Syria. The US will keep “leading from behind”.
Expect more horrible sectarian massacres as the one in Aqrab. Here is the most authoritative version of what may have really happened. This proves once again that what the NATOGCC “rebels” are actually winning is the YouTube war. So expect more massive, relentless waves of spin and propaganda – with Western corporate media cheerleading of the Syrian “freedom fighters” putting to shame the 1980s jihad in Afghanistan.
Expect more major distortions of context, as when Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, “The fighting will become even more intense, and [Syria] will lose tens of thousands and, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of civilians… If such a price for the removal of the president seems acceptable to you, what can we do? We, of course, consider it absolutely unacceptable.”
Ergo, Russia is trying to do everything to prevent this from happening. And if NATOGCC “rebels” carry out their threats to attack the Russian and Ukrainian embassies in Damascus, they had better trim their beards and run for cover from the no-nonsense Spetnatz – Russian Special Forces.
Expect more sectarian hatred, as in Sunni Sheikh and al-Jazeera star Yusuf al-Qaradawi casually issuing a fatwa legitimizing the killing of millions of Syrians, be they military or civilian, as long as they are Alawites or Shi’ites.
Sectarian hatred will rule, with Qatar in the lead, followed by Saudis with large pocketbooks and assorted hardcore Islamists. Agenda; war against Shi’ites, against Alawites, against secularists, even against moderates, not only in Syria but all across the Middle East.
A Patriot vs Iskander face-off
The new Syrian Army strategy boils down to a major pull back from countryside backwaters and bases, concentrating their troops in cities and towns.
Expect the overall strategy of the NATOGCC club to remain more or less the same; bog down the Syrian Army in as many areas as possible; demoralize them; and keep oiling the terrain for a possible North Atlantic Treaty Organization intervention (the chemical weapons hype and the relentless carping over a “humanitarian catastrophe” are part of the extensive psy ops package).
The Syrian Army may have the heavy weapons; but when confronting a tsunami of mercenaries and Salafi-jihadists fully trained and weaponized by the NATOGCC club, the whole thing may take years, Lebanon civil war-style. That leads us to the next “best” option – which is in fact a spin-off; the death of the Syrian state by a thousand, make it a million, cuts.
What’s certain is that the “coalition of the willing” against Syria will have no trouble unraveling once the endgame is reached. Washington bets on a post-Assad regime run by the MB. No wonder King Playstation in Jordan is freaking out; he knows the MB will also take over Jordan and expel him to permanently shop at Harrods.
Those paragons of democracy – the medieval petro-monarchies in the Persian Gulf – are also freaking out; they fear the popular appeal of the MB like the plague. Syrian Kurdistan – now definitely on its way to total autonomy and eventually freedom – already keeps Ankara freaking out. Not to mention the future prospect of a tsunami of unemployed Salafi-jihadis merrily ensconced in the Syria-Turkish border and ready to run amok.
And then there’s the complex Turkey-Iran relationship. Tehran has already warned Ankara in no uncertain terms about the just-to-be-deployed NATO missile defense system.
That’s got to be the newspeak masterpiece of late 2012. Pentagon spokesman George Little has been adamant that “the United States has been supporting Turkey in its efforts to defend itself… [against Syria].”
Thus the deployment of 400 US troops to Turkey to run two Patriot missile batteries, to “defend” Turkey from “potential threats emanating from Syria”.
Translation; this has nothing to do with Turkey, it’s all about the Russian military in Syria. Moscow has given Damascus not only very effective, hypersonic Iskander surface-to-surface missiles (virtually immune to missile defense systems) but the ground-to-air, multiple target defense system Pechora 2M, a nightmare to the Pentagon if ever a no-fly zone is imposed over Syria.
Welcome to the Patriot vs Iskander face-off. And right in the line of fire, we find Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan – an outsized egomaniac harboring a deep inferiority complex in relation to the Europeans – left in the cold under NATO’s master plan.
Turkey’s Achilles heel (apart from the Kurds) is its self-promoted role of being a crossroads of energy between East and West. The problem is Turkey depends on energy supplies from both Iran and Russia; unwisely, it is antagonizing both, at the same time, with its muddled Syrian policy.
All I hear is doom and gloom.
How to solve this tragedy? No one seems to be listening to Syrian Vice President Farouk Al-Sharaa. In this interview with Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar, he stresses “the threat of the current campaign to destroy Syria, its history, civilization, and people… With every passing day, the solution gets further away, militarily and politically. We must be in the position of defending Syria’s existence.”
He does not have “a clear answer to what the solution may be”. But he has a road map:
Any settlement, whether starting with talks or agreements between Arab, regional, or foreign capitals, cannot exist without a solid Syrian foundation. The solution has to be Syrian, but through a historic settlement, which would include the main regional countries, and the members of UN Security Council. This settlement must include stopping all shapes of violence, and the creation of a national unity government with wide powers. This should be accompanied by the resolution of sensitive dossiers related to the lives of people and their legitimate demands.
This is not what the NATOGCC compound wants – even as the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are all engaged in their own divergent agendas. What the NATOGCC war has already accomplished is one objective – very similar, by the way, to Iraq in 2003; it has completely torn the fragile Syrian social fabric to shreds.
That is disaster capitalism in action, phase I; the terrain is already prepared for a profitable “reconstruction” of Syria once a pliable, pro-Western turbo-capitalism government is installed.
Yet in parallel, blowback also works its mysterious ways; millions of Syrians who initially supported the idea of a pro-democracy movement – from the business classes in Damascus to traders in Aleppo – now have swelled the government support base as a counterpunch against the gruesome ethnic-religious cleansing promoted by the “rebels” of the al-Nusrah kind.
Yet with NATOGCC on one side and Iran-Russia on the other side, ordinary Syrians caught in the crossfire have nowhere to go. NATOGCC will stop at nothing to carve – in blood – any dubious entity ranging from a pro-US emirate to a pro-US “democracy” run by the MB. It’s not hard to see for whom the bell tolls in Syria; it tolls not for thee, as in John Donne, but for doom, gloom, death and destruction.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama Does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This column originally appeared on Asia Times.
Real Syria Updates
December 29, 2012
Aktham Sulaiman have joined his colleagues in quitting the Qatari state owned Al Jazeera New Channel, he’s its prominent reporter from Berlin, Germany and been with the channel for a very long period. Sulaiman attributed his resignation to biased coverage of Al Jazeera channel of the Libyan conflict and its involvement in executing a specific agenda by the Qatari government and who sponsors it in the US & Israeli intelligence services.
A reportage explains further, with English subtitles (turn cc on, open in YouTube if needed):
|Aktham Sulaiman, Al Jazeera’s reporter in Berlin defects from the Qatari owned channel
|Satan needs education courses on lying, deception, cheating & incitement from Al Jazeera
- The above information were posted by real Syrian activists from Syria & around the world, not by western intelligent post offices duped activists.
[hat tip: #OpSyria V2.0]
by Tony Cartalucci
December 28, 2012 (LD) – UN “peace envoy” Lakhdar Brahimi is attempting to broker a transitional government ahead of proposed elections in Syria. For Brahimi, his efforts are not only in vain, they are entirely disingenuous. The proposal of a “transitional government” in the midst of what is in fact a foreign invasion, funded, armed, and perpetuated openly by foreign interests violates both Syria’s sovereignty and the UN’s own founding charter. It would be not unlike a UN envoy visiting Poland at the beginning of World War II, and proposing a transitional government in the midst of the Nazi invasion. The UN would clearly be a facilitator of injustice, not a broker of peace.
The LA Times reports in their article, “Lakhdar Brahimi works to revive Syria peace plan“:
“Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi made a new push Thursday to draw Syrian officials and rebels into negotiations, aiming to revive a plan for a transitional government and elections that faltered because of disagreements over the future of President Bashar Assad.”
The UN has categorically failed to delineate between legitimate opposition inside of Syria, and bands of roving armed terrorists committing wide scale atrocities against the Syrian people – many of whom are not even from Syria, all of whom are heavily armed by the US, NATO, and its regional allies including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar as part of a long standing plan to effect regime change in both Syria and Iran. The Western press is not only supporting the UN’s disingenuous efforts, it has gone through great lengths to delegitimize any opposition in Syria that refuses to pick up arms, or that speaks out against foreign intervention.
While the LA Times attempts to make the UN plan seem reasonable, with only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia standing in the way of peace, in reality, the plan is yet another effort to frame the conflict as a political struggle instead of the foreign invasion it actually is.
Syria is Being Invaded by Foreign Terrorists
The armed “rebels” the UN is refusing to condemn, constitute foreign Al Qaeda fighters, including theUS State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed international terrorist organization, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Al Nusra also known as “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” and Syrian Muslim Brotherhood extremists. None of these terrorist factions would be negotiated with by Western nations if by some means their weapons turned from Syria and back toward the West. Yet the West demands that they not only be recognized and negotiated with, but indeed handed the entire nation of Syria to rule over.
In November 2011, the Telegraph in their article, “Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group,” would report:
Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, “met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,” said a military official working with Mr Belhadj. “Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim Libyan president) sent him there.”
Another Telegraph article, “Libya’s new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels,” would admit
Syrian rebels held secret talks with Libya’s new authorities on Friday, aiming to secure weapons and money for their insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested “assistance” from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers.
“There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria,” said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see.”
Later that month, some 600 Libyan terrorists would be reported to have entered Syria to begin combat operations and in July 2012, CNN, whose Ivan Watson accompanied terrorists over the Turkish-Syrian border and into Aleppo, revealed that indeed foreign fighters were amongst the militants, particularly Libyans. It was admitted that:
Meanwhile, residents of the village where the Syrian Falcons were headquartered said there were fighters of several North African nationalities also serving with the brigade’s ranks.
A volunteer Libyan fighter has also told CNN he intends to travel from Turkey to Syria within days to add a “platoon” of Libyan fighters to armed movement.
CNN also added:
On Wednesday, CNN’s crew met a Libyan fighter who had crossed into Syria from Turkey with four other Libyans. The fighter wore full camouflage and was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle. He said more Libyan fighters were on the way.
The foreign fighters, some of them are clearly drawn because they see this as … a jihad. So this is a magnet for jihadists who see this as a fight for Sunni Muslims.
In essence, Syria has been under invasion for nearly a year by Libyan terrorists. Additionally, in the immediate aftermath of the US recognizing its own handpicked “opposition coalition” as the “representatives of the Syrian people,” its leader, Moaz al-Khatib, immediately demanded that the US lift sanctions on Al Qaeda terrorist organization al-Nusra.
Reuters quoted al-Khatib as saying:
“The decision to consider a party that is fighting the regime as a terrorist party needs to be reviewed. We might disagree with some parties and their ideas and their political and ideological vision. But we affirm that all the guns of the rebels are aimed at overthrowing the tyrannical criminal regime.”
Not only is the West refusing to acknowledge that Syria’s conflict is one of foreign and domestic terrorism, it is actively arming, funding, and offering safe haven to these terrorist factions. NATO-member Turkey is directly complicit in facilitating Libya’s extraterritorial aggression by hosting Libyan fighters within its borders, while coordinating their funding, arming, and logistics as they cross the Turkish-Syrian border. Along Turkey’s borders also facilitating Libya’s invasion of Syria, is America’s CIA.
The New York Times admitted in June 2012 in their article, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” that “CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey,” and directing weapons including, “automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons.” The NYT implicates Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar as the primary underwriters for the weapons while the CIA coordinates the logistics.
Image: The “Friends of Syria” represent many of the co-conspirators described in Seymour Hersh’s extensive 9 page report “The Redirection.” Syria’s violence is not the result of an indigenous uprising carrying “political aspirations,” but rather the conspiring and machinations of the global elite, who long-ago premeditated the destruction of Syria for their own, larger, overarching geopolitical agenda.
US policy versus Syria stretches as far back as 2007, where US officials admitted that they planned to overthrow the government of Syria with foreign-sectarian extremists, using nations like Saudi Arabia to channel funds and weapons through – specifically to maintain the illusion that they were somehow not involved.
Seymour Hersh’s lengthy 9 page report, “The Redirection” published in the New Yorker in 2007 exposes US plans to use clandestine means to overthrow the government of Syria in a wider effort to undermine and destroy Iran. “A by-product of these activities,” writes Hersh, “has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
Al-Nusra are openly affiliates of Al Qaeda. To say that Libya’s LIFG are “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” would, however, be misleading. It is Al Qaeda.
LIFG merged with the US-Saudi created terror organization in 2007, according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq:”
The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al‐Qa’ida, which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al‐Qa’ida on November 3, 2007. (page 9, .pdf)
Hersh’s report would continue by stating, “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria.” This included billions to pro-Saudi factions in Lebanon who were propping up militant groups linked to Al Qaeda. These militant groups are now crossing over the Lebanese-Syrian border to join their Libyan counterparts.
Clearly the conspiracy being pieced together and executed in 2007, described by Seymour Hersh citing a myriad of US, Saudi, and Lebanese sources, is unfolding before our eyes. It was a conspiracy hatched of mutual US-Israeli-Saudi interests, not based on humanitarian concerns or “democracy,” but rather on toppling sovereign nations seen as a threat to their collective extraterritorial influence throughout the region.
The UN’s failure to acknowledge a documented conspiracy by foreign interests to violently overthrow the government of Syria (and eventually Iran) once again exposes the international body as a tool for special interests. Its attempts to broker a “peace plan” between foreign terrorists invading Syria as proxies for Western powers, lacks any dimension of legitimacy. The Syrian government and its allies must redouble their efforts to frame the conflict as the invasion that it is – and call for both support and patience globally while Syria confronts and defeats these foreign invaders and the foreign interests arming and driving them.
Lakhdar Brahimi, like Kofi Annan before him, is simply buying time for the West’s crumbling narrative. Syria and its allies must finally let it crumble, so the real business of saving Syria can get underway – through nation-wide anti-terrorism security operations, and the diplomatic confrontation of foreign interests supporting terrorism in and around Syria.