Press For Truth
On Halloween of 2013 Dan Dicks from Press For Truth speaks with protesters, activists and war resisters about Dick Cheney’s visit to Toronto Canada. Cheney is considered by many to be a war criminal for his role in the illegal invasions of middle eastern countries and for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians.
Support Press For Truth and help us to continue by contributing at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr…
We rely on you the viewer to help us continue to do this work. With your help I can continue to make videos and documentary films for youtube in an effort to raise awareness all over the world. Please support independent media by joining Press For Truth TV! http://pressfortruth.tv/register/
You can also support Press For Truth and help us continue to do this work by donating or becoming a sponsor at pressfortruth.ca
Want a Press For Truth Shirt? Check out our gear in the PFT Shop:
August 28, 2013
Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City and the founder of StopImperialism.com.
A picture released by the US Navy shows an F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the Rampagers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83 preparing to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) on June 17, 2013 in the Mediterranean Sea. (AFP Photo/US Navy)
As the United States, along with its European and Israeli allies, prepares to launch yet another illegal war of aggression in the Middle East, the geopolitics of the US strategy could not be more apparent.
Despite the high-minded talk of humanitarianism, the US is advancing a transparently neo-colonialist agenda aimed at securing hegemony in the region by destroying what little opposition remains.
The images and videos flooding the internet since last week purport to show ‘evidence’ of a chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Assad regime. This development neatly and conveniently coincides with the declaration by the Obama administration that the use of such weapons constitutes a ‘red line’, merely a euphemism for the point at which the US would feel emboldened to militarily intervene on behalf of the rebels.
And so, as news outlets report on the ‘likely use of chemical weapons’ by Damascus without anything other than unverifiable hearsay and ambiguous video footage, the drumbeat of war gets louder and louder.
A clear-thinking and rational political analyst would immediately be suspicious about the attack considering the presence of international chemical weapons investigators in Syria, as well as the fact that Damascus was undeniably winning the war against the jihadi rebel factions in cities like Qussair, Homs, Aleppo and elsewhere. That Assad would sabotage his own military victories and provide the perfect pretext for a foreign intervention is not only far-fetched, it runs contrary to his own record throughout this conflict. Remember that Damascus has shown restraint in the face of international war crimes committed against it by Israel, Turkey and other regional actors who have been fomenting the conflict in Syria for more than two years.
August 28, 2013
YouTube — PlanetEarthAwakens01
June 20, 2013
Russell Brand Question Time
[hat tip: Tyrone Drummond]
June 14, 2013
We heard all these lies before during the Iraq war.
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…
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Center of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: email@example.com
www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
For media inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
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” .
April 25, 2013
The US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said his intelligence services have, quote, ‘some confidence’, that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on a small scale. He said it’s believed the nerve agent sarin was deployed against civilians and rebel fighters.
RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air
Subscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…
Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnews
Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_com
Follow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RT
RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 500 million YouTube views benchmark.
April 10, 2013
What was the “surge” really? How does the US foster religious conflict on purpose?
March 30, 2013
Ex- CNN Reporter: I Received Orders to Manipulate News to Demonize Syria and Iran
PRAGUE, (SANA)- Ex-CNN reporter Amber Lyon revealed that during her work for the channel she received orders to send false news and exclude some others which the US administration did not favor with the aim to create a public opinion in favor of launching an aggression on Iran and Syria.
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 Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire
The evidence is now in, as list of state actors can now be seen openly conspiring to drive the Middle East into full-blown war.
It’s well known by now that NATO and the Gulf States initial plans to overturn the sovereign state of Syria has been running behind schedule since their operation was launched two years ago. They had hoped for the sort of slam dunk which they enjoyed in overturning the country of Libya in late 2011.
This same formula could not be applied again however, so Plan B, a ground war using proxies has meant a longer drawn out conflict. It hasn’t been working fast enough in Syria, and western backed terrorist groups still sustaining heavy losses in their fight to topple the Assad government on behalf of the NATO and its Gulf allies.
The main obstacle with Plan B is that the very idea of directly arming terrorists in Syria is not one which can be sold openly in either the US or Britain. Plan C is to draw in the UN by creating a ‘chemical weapons’ crisis in Syria, and thanks to a prominent online leak of documents relating to UK DOD contractor Britam, the British have been caught brokering a deal transferring ex-Gaddafi stocks from Libya to Syria to be blamed on Assad, and paid for by Qatar. But the WMD threat still remains a hard sell for western voters…
From the NATO Allied corner, something drastic needed to be done.
Whilst politicians in the West, namely those in Washington DC, London and parts of Europe, have been publicly denying that they were helping to organise running arms into Syria and issuing very public pleads for ‘humanitarian aid’ for those they identify as the Syrian Opposition, activity back stage has been furious. The debate in government and the media has been mere window dressing for the real operation being quietly carried out.
NATO Gun-running via Croatia
It can now be revealed that NATO allied nations were busy using proxy states to drive their war in Syria – putting together one of the biggest international black operation transfers of military supplies in recent history. So it’s official: large caches of hardware from the West have been transferred to the Syrian jihadist mercenary collective known as the ‘Free Syrian Army’ , ‘Syrian Rebels’, or ‘Syrian Opposition’ – depending on who you ask, a brash move which may be vehemently opposed by other UN Security Council members – namely Russia and China.
Multiple media sources reveal the details of this massive airlift comprised of 75 airplanes, and an estimated 3,000 tons of military weaponry on board has left Croatia and has already been delivered… to Syria.
It is also confirmed from these reports that Saudi Arabia has financed a large portion of this purchase secretly transported to al Qaeda and other FSA fighters – who are working with the support of the CIA, MI6 and others, along with other financial and material support of Qatar and Saudi, to further destabilise and overthrow the Assad government in Syria.
Croatia’s daily newspaper Jutarnji List reported:
“From the start of November last year, till February this year, 75 planes flew out from Zagreb Airport with over 3,000 tons of weapons and ammunition bound for Syrian rebels…The newspaper, quoting diplomatic sources, says that besides Croatian weapons the planes were full with weapons from other European countries including the UK. The weapons were organised by the United States of America.
Sources say that the first few flights to leave Croatia bound for Syria with weapons were operated by Turkish Cargo, which is owned by Turkish Airlines. After those flights, Jordanian International Air Cargo took over the flights. The deal to provide arms to the rebels was made between American officials and the Croatian Ambassador to the US.”
In addition to this huge gun-running operation, Croatia also appears to be guilty of either having advanced knowledge, or possibly coordinating with Syrian terrorists as evidenced by their recently withdraw all of troops from the UN observer mission in Golan Heights, indicating that the recent kidnapping by Free Syrian Army Terrorists of at least 20 UNIFIL peacekeepers in the Golan Heights was known in advance by Croatia.
The kidnapping incident may have been designed to test the UN, but also to pull Syria’s southern neighbor, Israel, even closer to the conflict, a development which would almost surely prompt the UN to declare this as trigger to a regional crisis, followed by an authorised military intervention. Pulling Israel in would also risk involving Hezbollah from Lebanon, who are already engaging in assisting Assad in training a new specialist paramilitary force in Syria to deal with urban warfare.
If it was known by Croatia, then one can only conclude that this was also known by US and British operatives as well. Both the US and Britain will naturally claim deniability as their legal out in this case, by deniability through the use of proxies makes no innocent parties when the prospect of a multi-regional war beckons as a result of the west’s financial, logistical, political, and now material involvement in the overthrow of a sovereign state and internationally recognised government.
Much worse, however, is that by employing proxies like Jordan, Croatia, Turkey,and others, the NATO allies have guaranteed long-term retribution down the road, should Syria prevail in this fight. For Syria, it is now known which countries collaborated with the West to dismantle their country. This fact alone will ensure conflict in the region for a generation.
US officials are on record as admitting to helping arrange the weapons airlift, as cited in this Feb 25, 2012 article in the New York Times:
“An official in Washington said the possibility of the transfers from the Balkans was broached last summer, when a senior Croatian official visited Washington and suggested to American officials that Croatia had many weapons available should anyone be interested in moving them to Syria’s rebels.”
Terrorist receive recoilless guns from the former Yugoslavia.
Revelations are not limited to the Croatian news report, as we see the US and Europe’s mainstream media wall of silence has begun to crack, including here a recent report from London’s Daily Telegraph sent across Syria’s borders with Jordan and NATO-member Turkey. The article entitled, “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’“goes on to give further details of direct European involvement in illegal weapons running:
“The United States has coordinated a massive airlift of arms to Syrian rebels from Croatia with the help of Britain and other European states, despite the continuing European Union arms embargo, it was claimed yesterday…
Decisions by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, to provide non-lethal assistance and training, announced in the past week, were preceded by much greater though less direct Western involvement in the rebel cause, according to a Croat newspaper.
The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the United States, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan, Syria’s neighbours.
…as from Croatia, weapons came “from several other European countries including Britain”, without specifying if they were British-supplied or British-procured arms.
British military advisers however are known to be operating in countries bordering Syria alongside French and Americans, offering training to rebel leaders and former Syrian army officers…
… The weapons, including rocket launchers, recoil-less guns and the M79 anti-tank weapon, have been seen in rebel hands in numerous videos, and were first spotted by an arms expert Eliot Higgins, who blogs under the name Brown Moses. He traced them moving from Dera’a in the south, near the Jordanian border, to Aleppo and Idlib provinces in the north.”
Hague: Denies Britain’s involvement in gun-running.
It is also no big secret that Britain has deployed a significant contingent of troops and support personnel to Jordan at least as far back as Autumn 2012 as part of its ongoing ‘joint military exercises’ with the Jordan military, but this latest revelation puts into clearer perspective the overwhelming likelihood that high level British military operation have actually been involved in the transfer of arms from Jordan into the hands of the international terrorist confab of mostly foreign fighter running under the west’s media banner of “Syrian Rebels”.
Consequences for Croatia, and Britain
What Britain may be guilty of here, is cynically – and illegally, trying to side-stepping the EU embargo on arms into Syria by using the fledgling EU state of Croatia as their delivery mechanism, because Croatia does not officially join the EU until July 1, and has not implemented any binding EU legislation. This flagrant violation of both EU and international law should mean that Croatia’s entrance into the EU could be appealed by other members states willing to raise an objection, with what are now clear grounds to mount a legal challenge against Croatia.
Regardless of any EU outcomes however, Croatia at least – is guilty of international war crimes.
International and EU Sanctions Against the US, Britain, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia
As expected, Britain’s Foreign Office denies all of the claims connecting it to the Croatian gun-running program, but if Britain is involved – even indirectly, through a proxy like Croatia, or if British military personnel are aiding and abetting these known terrorist fighters in Syria through the transfer of weaponry, then Britain can also be brought into the international legal framework to answer for what it has done behind the public’s back.
The international war crimes which are now in the public view could test the legal framework of the EU, the UN and the ICC in the Hague. The legal door is now open for charges against state actors including US, Britain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – for the crimes of illegally arming a force of foreign fighters and known terrorists in Syria – designed to destroy the country from within. Many UN resolutions, including the recent Resolution 1973 applied in Libya by the UN, have been implemented on much more spurious and shaky grounds than the overwhelming evidence available regarding Syria.
Consequences for NATO and the UN
Despite any denials in Brussels, NATO are involved through their member states Turkey and Croatia, as well as US, UK, and France from behind. Any involvement should question these country’s NATO status, or at least it begs the question what is NATO for, or even the UN, if their member states are conspiring together to subvert international law?
Moreover, Israel’s unwarranted airstrike against a Syrian Military Research facility last month was also ignored by the UN, but this is not surprising as Israel has long been allowed to operate outside of international law and norms.
If the international community does not act in this instance, then it opens the door to more brazen criminality sans borders, which could spawn similar illegal operations against Iran, opening the door to a Third World War.
US uniformed Personnel Training Rebels in Jordan
Der Spiegel also reports this week that, despite denials by Washington DC, Americans are definitely training Syrian rebels in neighboring Jordan. The reports goes on:
“It is not clear if the Americans are members of the US armed forces or are part of a private contracting firm, but the trainers wear uniforms, the paper reported.
It added that the training, which also involves Jordanian intelligence officers, had been going on “for some time,” and that the rebels were being taught how to use anti-tank weaponry.”
France sends ‘aid’ for Syria to Jordan
France played an integral part in the destruction of Libya in 2011, and they might also have an interest in their former colonial possessions in Syria, but it’s not clear as yet if France’s commitment to overthrowing the Assad government is on par with the US and Britain’s efforts. Back in August 2012, France had also been sending large shipments designated for Syria via Jordan, claiming that these shipment contained ‘aid and medical supplies’ – intended for Syrian refugees. Real Syrian News reported:
“An Antonov 124 cargo aircraft landed at the Marka military airport in Amman on Saturday. The cargo is said to include a field hospital and medical supplies for the refugees in the Zaatari camp near the Syrian border. An A310 airliner carrying 85 French military staff and medical equipment arrived in Jordan on Thursday.”
After the Croatian airlift, it’s now not a stretch to suspect that other countries could be involved in similar operations under the cover of supplying ‘humanitarian aid’.
Consequences for Jordan
The overwhelming body of evidence proves that Jordan is playing the key role as proxy and facilitator for the West’s wishes and desires to destroy the country of Syria. The consequences for Jordan, should the West’s efforts fail, is that Jordan has now exposed itself as a provocateur and enemy of both Syria, and Lebanon, and indeed Iran also. It is not know how much Jordan has been paid for its services, or what promises have been made to its royal family in exchange for facilitating the Syrian upheaval, but it cannot compensate Jordan for playing the crucial role in possibly fomenting a regional or multi-theatre global war.
Syria Crisis Planned by the US and NATO Allies Before the ‘Arab Spring’
Despite previous denials and avoiding the issue by states persons like Hillary Clinton and William Hague, it is certain that ‘al Qaeda’ terrorists are operating in Syria and receive various kinds of support from the West and their Gulf allies, and that these are many of the same terrorist who are responsible for violence and killing in Iraq. The New York Times confirmed this fact recently:
“Iraqi officials said the extremists operating in Syria are in many cases the very same militants striking across their country. “We are 100 percent sure from security coordination with Syrian authorities that the wanted names that we have are the same wanted names that the Syrian authorities have, especially within the last three months,” Izzat al-Shahbandar — a close aide to the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki — said in an interview on Tuesday. “Al Qaeda that is operating in Iraq is the same as that which is operating in Syria,” he said.”
Bangkok based analyst, Tony Cartalucci, from Land Destroyer blog, adds another important piece of evidence in this mix, pointing out the fact that the US and its NATO operatives have been engineering the crisis in Syria well before the official ‘uprising’ began in 2011:
“Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, in his 2007 New Yorker report titled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?“stated explicitly that:
“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.”
Cartalucci provides further background to support the west’s own knowledge and involvement is the current crisis:
Is there any doubt that the US has executed this plot in earnest, arming and funding sectarian extremists “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” on both Syria’s northern and southern border? Where else, if not from the West and its regional allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, could extremists be getting their weapons, cash, and logistical support from?
And of course, Syria’s borders with Jordan and Turkey have been long-ago identified by the US Army’s own West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) as hotbeds of sectarian extremist/Al Qaeda activity – hotbeds that the West is purposefully funneling thousands of tons of weaponry through, while disingenuously claiming it is attempting to prevent such weapons from falling into the hands of extremists.
The CTC’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” identified Syria’s southeastern region near Dayr Al-Zawr on the Iraqi-Syrian border, the northwestern region of Idlib near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border, as having produced the majority of fighters found crossing over into Iraq throughout the duration of the Iraq War.
Image: (Left) West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” indicated which areas in Syria Al Qaeda fighters filtering into Iraq came from during the US invasion/occupation. The overwhelming majority of them came from Dayr Al-Zawr in Syria’s southeast, Idlib in the north near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border. (Right) A map indicating the epicenters of violence in Syria indicate that the exact same hotbeds for Al Qaeda in 2007, now serve as the epicenters of so-called “pro-democracy fighters.”
These areas are now admittedly the epicenters of fighting, and more importantly, despite being historical hotbeds of Al Qaeda activity, precisely where the West is flooding with cash, weapons, and military “advisers.”
Just like in Libya where the West literally handed an entire nation to sectarian extremists, we are watching a verbatim repeat in Syria – where we are told Al Qaeda terrorists are “pro-democracy” “freedom fighters” that deserve US cash, weapons, and support, when it couldn’t be any clearer they aren’t.
Not only has the US and UK lied to the world about their policy toward Syria and their current level of support for increasingly overt terrorists committing an array of atrocities – their latest act including the taking of over 20 UN peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights - but have revealed once again the manufactured facade that is the “War on Terror…”
Terrorist Groups Currently Active in Syria
Known terrorist groups are operating in Syria and are receiving the full backing of NATO Allies and Gulf states Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They include – but are not limited to, Saudi Intelligence-backed Jabhat al-Nusra or ‘al Nursa Front’, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Abdullah Azzam Brigades and Al Baraa ibn Malik Martyrdom Brigade, the jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham, the PKK (in northeast Syria), Kata’ib Mohadzherin from the Russian Caucus region - to name only a few.
Earlier reports of rogue Russian and Chechen terrorists filtering into Syria appear to be preceded by Salafists killing Sufi leaders in the Russian Federation. The Pakistan Christian Post reports:
“Recently in Dagestan the Sufi spiritual leader Said Efendi Chirkeisky was killed by a suicide bomber along with a few followers. This happened in late August and the closeness to the recent attack against Sufi leaders in Tatarstan is a clear reminder that Salafism is a potent force within parts of the Russian Federation. Therefore, not surprisingly the Russian Federation is extremely alarmed by major Western powers once more working in collusion with the FSA, al-Qaeda and a whole array of Salafi terrorist organizations.”
It’s worth noting also that like Libya’s new militant governor of Tripoli, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, terrorist group Kata’ib Mohadzherin’s leader Airat Vakhitov was also imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002 after being captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Both were released and filtered back into fighting regions to organise al Qaeda-type Islamist groups – both active in countries which the US and NATO have been actively vying for regime change, in Libya and Syria respectively. You can draw your own conclusions here about what Guantanamo is in reality.
The same New York Times article(above) also mentions terrorists’ theocratic designs of establishing some caliphate in the region:
“One Qaeda operative, a 56-year-old known as Abu Thuha who lives in the Hawija district near Kirkuk in Iraq, spoke to an Iraqi reporter for The New York Times on Tuesday. “We have experience now fighting the Americans, and more experience now with the Syrian revolution,” he said. “Our big hope is to form a Syrian-Iraqi Islamic state for all Muslims…
It’s important to understand that such claims by any shadowy ‘al Qaeda’ figures must also be balance with the reality that these militants have been historically, and are still today, directed and funded at the highest levels of both US and Saudi intelligence, and others. When you see terror spokesman like Ayman al-Zawahri, the alleged leader of Al Qaeda, praise the Syrian fighters by referring to them as “the lions of the Levant,” in messages released exclusively via a known CIA media dissemination outlets like SITE, or INTEL CENTER, then readers should be suspicious of why it’s been released and what political effect it is designed to have.
Now that some of the scope of NATO Allies operation in Syria has been exposed to the public, perhaps political representatives, media journalist, and editors will be able to report more accurately on the Syrian crisis, and demand a withdrawl of NATO, Arab League and others country’s support for the growing and highly dangerous paramilitary and other al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups who are currently working to take power by destabilising the country of Syria.
It’s all happening out in the open now.
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
December 12, 2012
Modeled on the Saddam Hussein WMD narrative, the propaganda ploy concerning the alleged threat of Syria’s chemical weapons has been building up over several months.
The Western media suggests –in chorus and without evidence– that a “frustrated” and “desperate” president Bashar al Assad is planning to use deadly chemical weapons against his own people. Last week, U.S. officials revealed to NBC News that “Syria’s military has loaded nerve-gas chemicals into bombs and are awaiting final orders from al-Assad”.
Western governments are now accusing Syria of planning a diabolical scheme on the orders of the Syrian head of State. Meanwhile, the media hype has gone into full gear. Fake reports on Syria’s WMD are funneled into the news chain, reminiscent of the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The evolving media consensus is that “the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad appears to be entering its twilight” and that the “international community” has a responsibility to come to the rescue of the Syrian people to prevent the occurrence of a humanitarian disaster.
“…Fears are growing in the West that Syria will unleash chemical weapons in a last-ditch act of desperation”
Recent reports that the embattled government of Syria has begun preparations for the use of chemical weapons [against the Syrian people] . After two years of civil war and more than 40,000 deaths, events in Syria may be heading to a bloody crescendo. (WBUR, December 11, 2012)
Syria versus Iraq
Antiwar critics have largely underscored the similarities with the Iraq WMD ploy, which consisted in accusing the government of Saddam Hussein of possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The alleged WMD threat was then used as a justification to invade Iraq in March 2003.
The WMD Iraq ploy was subsequently acknowledged in the wake of the invasion as an outright fabrication, with president George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair actually recognizing that it was a “big mistake”. In a recent statement Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for ‘lying’ Blair and Bush to face trial in the Hague`s International Criminal Court
The Syria WMD saga is in marked contrast to that of Iraq. The objective is not to” justify” an all out humanitarian war on Syria, using chemical weapons as a pretext.
An examination of allied military planning as well as the nature of US-NATO support to the opposition forces suggests a different course of action to that adopted in relation to Iraq (2003) and Libya (2011).
The purpose is indeed to demonize Bashar Al Assad but the objective at this stage is not the conduct of an all out “shock and awe” war on Syria, involving a full fledged air campaign. Such an action would, under present conditions, be a highly risky undertaking. Syria has advanced air defense capabilities, equipped with Russian Iskander missiles (see image) as well as significant ground forces. A Western military operation could also lead to a response from Russia, which has a naval base at the port city of Tartus in Southern Syria.
Moreover, Iranian forces from its revolutionary guards corps (IRGC) are present on the ground in Syria; Russian military advisers are involved in the training of the Syrian military.
In recent developments, Syria took delivery of the more advanced Russian Iskander missile system, the Mach 6-7, in response to the deployment of US Made Patriot missiles in Turkey. Syria already possesses the less advanced E-Series Iskander. Syria is also equipped with the Russian ground to air defense missile system Pechora-2M. (see video below)
Iskander March 6-7
The Pechora-2M is a surface-to-air anti-aircraft short-range missile system designed for destruction of aircraft, cruise missiles, assault helicopters and other air targets at ground, low and medium altitudes.
Ground to air defense Russian Pechora 2M deployed to Syria
At this juncture, despite US-NATO military superiority, an all out military operation, for the reasons mentioned above, is not contemplated.
Non-conventional warfare remains the chosen avenue. Reports confirm that NATO-led military operations would be largely in support of rebel forces, its command structure, communications systems, recruitment, training, the transfer to rebel forces of more advanced weapons. Part of this undertaking including the training of rebels is being carried by private mercenary companies.
A limited and selective air campaign in support of the rebels, using Syria’s chemical weapons bunker stockpiles as a pretext could be contemplated, but even this would be a risky undertaking given Syria’s air defense capabilities.
What was on the drawing board of a recent “Semi-Secret” Meeting in London, hosted by General Sir David Julian Richards, head of Britain’s Defense Staff is a coordinated military agenda characterised by “air and naval support, plus military training for the opposition”.
The meeting in London included the participation of the military chiefs of France, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE and the US. No further details were made public (See Felicity Arbuthnot, Secret Meetings in London Plotting to Wage War on Syria without UN Authorization, Global Research, December 11, 2012
The thrust of this London gathering behind closed doors (reported on December 10, 2012) was to support a unified military command structure of opposition forces designed to “unify insurgent ranks” fighting government forces. In practice, this will require a renewed influx of mercenaries under the supervision of Western special forces which are already on the ground inside Syria.
Staging a Humanitarian Disaster?
The training component of US-NATO action is of crucial importance. How does it relate to the Syria ‘chemical weapons’ issue?
The Western military alliance does not contemplate at this stage an all out war in response to Syria’s possession of chemical weapons. What is contemplated is the need to train the opposition rebels in the handling of chemical weapons.
This specialized training program which was confirmed is already ongoing, implemented with the support of specialized private mercenary and security companies on contract to the Pentagon:
“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)
What is unfolding is a diabolical scenario –which is an integral part of military planning– namely a situation where opposition terrorists advised by Western defense contractors are actually in possession of chemical weapons.
This is not a rebel training exercise in non-proliferation. While president Obama states that “you will be held accountable” if “you” (meaning the Syrian government) use chemical weapons, what is contemplated as part of this covert operation is the possession of chemical weapons by the US-NATO sponsored terrorists, namely “by our” Al Qaeda affiliated operatives, including the Al Nusra Front (see image on right), which constitutes the most effective Western financed and trained fighting group, largely integrated by foreign mercenaries. In a bitter twist, Jabhat al-Nusra, a US sponsored “intelligence asset”, was recently put on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.
The West claims that it is coming to the rescue of the Syrian people, whose lives are allegedly threatened by Bashar Al Assad. The truth of the matter is that the Western military alliance is not only supporting the terrorists, including the Al Nusra Front, it is also making chemical weapons available to its proxy “opposition” rebel forces.
The next phase of this diabolical scenario is that the chemical weapons could be used by the US-NATO recruited “opposition” terrorists against civilians, which could potentially lead an entire nation into a humanitarian disaster.
The broader issue is: who is a threat to the Syrian people? The Syrian government of Bashar al Assad or the US-NATO-Israel military alliance which is recruting and training “opposition” terrorist forces.
The Syria Chemical Weapons Pretext: Background
The Syria Chemical Weapons Saga was launched last Summer. In early August, the Pentagon announced that it would send “small teams of special operations troops” into Syria with a view to destroying Syria’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). These teams would in turn be supported by “precision air strikes”, namely air raids. An all out aerial attack was not contemplated. According to the Pentagon, the precision strikes were intended to “destroy the chemical weapons without dispersing them in the air”, a highly risky undertaking…
Ironically, at the outset of this diabolical plan, the US special forces incursion and air operation were not to be directed against the Syrian regime. In fact quite the opposite. The stated intent of the operation was to protect civilians against “opposition” rebels, rather than government forces.
No accusations were directed against President Bashar al Assad to the effect that he was underhandedly conniving to use WMD against Syrian civilians. According to the Pentagon, the operation was to ensure that Syria’s WMDs, which allegedly “are left unguarded” in military bunkers around the country do not fall in the hands of opposition jihadist rebels who are fighting government forces:
Pentagon planners are more focused on protecting or destroying any Syrian stockpiles that are left unguarded and at risk [of] falling into the hands of rebel fighters or militias aligned with Al Qaeda, Hezbollah or other militant groups. ( U.S. has plans in place to secure Syria chemical arms – latimes.com, August 22, 2012
What the Pentagon was saying in August, was that these WMD could fall in the hands of the “pro-democracy” freedom fighters recruited and financed by several of America’s close allies including Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, in liaison with Washington and NATO headquarters in Brussels.
In essence, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was refuting his own lies. In August he acknowledged the terrorist threat, now he is accusing Bashar Al Assad. Tacitly acknowledged by Washington, the majority of the Syrian freedom fighters are not only foreign mercenaries, they also belong to extremist Islamist groups, which are on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.
Israel is a partner in the Syria chemical weapons operation in liaison with NATO and the Pentagon.
Training Terrorists in the Use of Chemical Weapons
If the Obama administration were genuinely concerned in preventing these chemical weapons from falling “in the wrong hands” (as suggested by the Pentagon in August), why then are they now training “opposition rebels” –largely composed of Salafist and Al Qaeda affiliated fighters– to gain control over government stockpiles of chemical weapons?
The training [in chemical weapons], which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.
The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American. (CNN, December 09, 2012)
While the news report does not confirm the identity of the defense contractors, the official statements suggest a close contractual relationship to the Pentagon:
The US decision to hire unaccountable defense contractors to train Syrian rebels to handle stockpiles of chemical weapons seems dangerously irresponsible in the extreme, especially considering how inept Washington has so far been at making sure only trustworthy, secular rebels – to the extent they exist – receive their aid and the weapons that allies in the Gulf Arab states have been providing.
It also feeds accusations that the Syrian Foreign Ministry recently made that the US is working to frame the Syrian regime as having used or prepared for chemical warfare.
“What raises concerns about this news circulated by the media is our serious fear that some of the countries backing terrorism and terrorists might provide the armed terrorist groups with chemical weapons and claim that it was the Syrian government that used the weapons,” the letters said.”( John Glaser, Us Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels, Antiwar.com, December 10, 2012, See also CNN Report, December 9, 2012)
The central question is: what is the nature of this gruesome covert operation? Is the purpose of the US-NATO led operation to “prevent” or “encourage” the use of chemical weapons by the Free Syrian Army (FSA)?
The above report confirms that the US and NATO are training terrorists in the use of chemical weapons. Does this type of specialized training require the actual handling of toxic chemicals? In other words, is the Western military alliance, through its appointed defense contractors, making chemical weapons available to terrorists for training purposes?
Knowing that the Syrian insurgency is in large part made up of jihadists and Al Qaeda affiliated formations, this is hardly a means to “preventing” the actual use of chemical weapons against civilians. Moreover, amply documented, many of the “opposition” rebels who are receiving training in chemical weapons, have committed countless atrocities directed against Syrian civilians, including the massacres in Houla:
“Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory [in Aleppo],” the foreign ministry said Saturday.” (Press TV, December 8, 2012)
It should be noted that the use of chemical weapons by opposition forces does not require that the rebels actually secure control over government stockpiles. Chemical weapons could easily be made available –from Western stockpiles– to the defense contractors involved in the specialized chemical weapons training programs.
Needless to say, the chemical weapons training and the involvement of private mercenary outfits on contract to NATO and the Pentagon, increase the risk; they create conditions which favor the use of chemical weapons by opposition forces, thereby potentially triggering a nationwide humanitarian disaster.
The US-NATO coalition has clarified at its “semi-secret” meeting in London (reported on December 10), however, that it does not contemplate “boots on the ground”. The special forces will be working with the opposition insurgency against government forces.
In the absence of an all out US-NATO military operation, the focus is on non-conventional warfare. In this context, one of several diabolical “options on the table” would be to create conditions whereby chemical weapons “fall in the hands” of the terrorists thereby potentially triggering a nationwide humanitarian disaster.
While this option, were it to be carried out, would not require a US-NATO military intervention, the humanitarian catastrophe would set the stage for the collapse of the Syrian government, namely the long sought objective of “regime change”.
The Libya or Iraq model is not an option. The strategic choice of the Western military alliance points towards the possible staging of a humanitarian catastrophe?
In the logic of war propaganda and media disinformation, the deaths of civilians resulting from the use of chemical weapons would be blamed on President Bashar Al Assad, with a view to enforcing subsequent actions by the US-NATO military alliance.
We are not suggesting that this option will inevitably be carried out. What we are saying is that the option of chemical weapons in the hands of the rebels which could potentially trigger a humanitarian disaster is on the US-NATO drawing board.
How can we ensure that this gruesome and diabolical option be thwarted and definitively shelved?
The issue must be brought into the open. Public opinion must be mobilized against the US-NATO-Israel led war.
Denounce the Déjà Vu WMD lies.
Challenge the mainstream media consensus.
Reveal and refute the lies and fabrications concerning Syria’s chemical weapons program.
Spread the word, far and wide,
Bring the issue to the forefront of public debate, Confront the war criminals in high office.
About the author:
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism”(2005). His most recent book is entitled Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages.
“Anonymous U.S. sources” are claiming that Syria is mixing chemical weapons ……
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Center of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: email@example.com
http://www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
For media inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 11, 2012
December 10, 2012
Western powers have already warned the Syrian regime against using the banned arms – but Damascus says it’s the victim of a smear campaign. Assad officials claim they would never use chemical weapons against civilians, and are only interested in keeping the stockpiles safe. This comes as US sources say Washington’s training rebels to secure and handle such weapons, in case the Syrian regime collapses. Some observers are now convinced that a foreign intervention’s in the making.
RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air
Subscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaToday
Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnews
Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_com
Follow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RT
RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 500 million YouTube views benchmark.
December 10, 2012
Colin Powell states clearly in February 2001 that Iraq is in no position to pose any threat to the US and has no weapons of mass destruction.
Phony intelligence was created and fed into the news chain with a view to justifying the invasion of Iraq.
Now, is history repeating itself with the same lies and disinformation being pumped out about Syria as were told about Iraq?
By M. Frank Drover
December 8, 2012
For the third time in as many decades the United States is massing soldiers and military assets on the border of a middle eastern country.
The USS Eisenhower, an American aircraft carrier that holds eight fighter bomber squadrons and 8,000 men, arrived at the Syrian coast yesterday in the midst of a heavy storm, indicating US preparation for a potential ground intervention.
While the Obama administration has not announced any sort of American-led military intervention in the war-torn country, the US is now ready to launch such action “within days…”
…If the US decides to intervene militarily in Syria, it now has at its disposal 10,000 fighting men, 17 warships, 70 fighter-bombers, 10 destroyers and frigates and a guided military cruises.
Some of the vessels are also equipped with Aegis missile interceptors to shoot down any missiles Syria might have at hand…
With mainstream reports alleging Syria is preparing to deploy sarin gas attached to bombs against rebels and populace areas in the country, the West and its allies is on a war-footing, ready to attack by sea or land:
NATO moved forward Thursday with its plan to place Patriot missiles and troops along Syria’s border with Turkey to protect against potential attacks.
Assad’s regime blasted the move as “psychological warfare,” saying the new deployment would not deter it from seeking victory over rebels it views as terrorists.
Whether the threat is real or just another WMD psychological operation on the order of Iraq is very quickly becoming irrelevant.
In fact, we may be so close to another mid-eastern war that Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad is emphatically trying to find an exit:
In a regional tour conducted last week, Syrian Vice-Minister of the Exterior Faisal al-Miqdad delivered requests on behalf of al-Assad to Venezuelan, Cuban, and Ecuadorian authorities.
The letters allegedly enquire into the possibility of asylum for al-Assad, his family, and a tightknit circle of advisors and collaborators.
Venezuelan authorities confirmed that President Hugo Chávez had received a letter from al-Assad before travelling to Cuba for continued cancer treatment.
And he’s not the only one trying to get out ahead of what is sure to be a massive bombardment should NATO forces decide to take preemptive action.
With war raging between rebels and the Assad government, thousands of refugees have been getting out of harm’s way since November:
Thousands of Syrians fled their country on Friday in one of the biggest refugee exoduses of the 20-month civil war…
An estimated four million people will need humanitarian aid by early next year when the country is in the grip of winter.
War is coming.
The same “intelligence” used to persuade Americans to invade Iraq is being used once again to justify intervention in Syria.
Likewise, the media propaganda machine that warned Americans of the dangers of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction is blaring the sirens again.
Not much has changed, except that this time those who were against Bush’s war in 2003 are fully in support now that a democrat President says it’s the truth.
Contributed by M. Frank Drover of The Daily Sheeple.
M. Frank Drover is a co-editor and contributor for The Daily Sheeple, an alternative media hub for leading headlines, head lies, opinion, and commentary. Wake the flock up!
New World Next Week
December 6, 2012
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: Halabja Chemical Weapons And A Chance To Find The Men Who Armed Saddam
Hillary Clinton Says Syria Could Use Chemical Weapons
Flashback: From the Houla Hoax to Chemical Weapons — Deceptions in Syria
Story #2: Hacker Finds McAfee Through Phone Trail
McAfee Founder Tracked Using Cell Phone Data
Story #3: Biotech Company Behind ‘Frankenfish’ Faces Uncertain Future Amid Ongoing Review
NWNW Flashback: GM Salmon Set to Move Closer to Your Table
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: Pharaoh Morsi, African Blackwater, Droning On
by Eric Draitser
Stop Imperialism – Episode 47
November 13, 2012
In today’s episode:
Standard Podcasts [02:02:57m]: Download | Embeddable Player