June 13, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Heavily armed, well funded, and organized as a professional, standing army, the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) swept southward into Iraq from Turkey and northeastern Syria, taking the cities of Mosul and Tikrit, and now threaten the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad itself. The United States was sure to prop up two unfounded narratives – the first being that US intelligence agencies, despite assets in Iraq and above it in the form of surveillance drones, failed to give warning of the invasion, and that ISIS is some sort of self-sustaining terror organization carving out a “state” by “robbing banks” and collecting “donations” on Twitter.
The Wall Street Journal in its report, “Iraqi Drama Catches U.S. Off Guard,” stated:
The quickly unfolding drama prompted a White House meeting Wednesday of top policy makers and military leaders who were caught off guard by the swift collapse of Iraqi security forces, officials acknowledged.
In another WSJ post, “U.S. Secretly Flying Drones Over Iraq,” it claimed:
A senior U.S. official said the intelligence collected under the small [secret US drone] program was shared with Iraqi forces, but added: “It’s not like it did any good.” The rapid territorial gains by the Islamist forces loyal to Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot, caught the U.S. by surprise, the officials said.
|Image: ISIS has convoys of brand new matching Toyota’s the same
vehicles seen among admittedly NATO-armed terrorists operating
everywhere from Libya to Syria, and now Iraq. It is a synthetic, state-
sponsored regional mercenary expeditionary force.
Despite drone flights collecting intelligence, and a 3-year ongoing CIA program (here, here, and here) all along the Turkish-Syrian border to “monitor” and “arm” “moderate” militants fighting the Syrian government, the US claims it was caught “by surprise.” If drones and CIA operatives operating in ISIS territory weren’t enough to detect the impending invasion, perhaps the CIA should have just picked up a newspaper.
Indeed, the Lebanon Daily Start in March 2014 reported that ISIS openly withdrew its forces from Latakia and Idlib provinces in western Syria, and redeployed them in Syria’s east – along the Syrian-Iraqi border. The article titled, “Al-Qaeda splinter group in Syria leaves two provinces: activists,” stated explicitly that:
On Friday, ISIS – which alienated many rebels by seizing territory and killing rival commanders – finished withdrawing from the Idlib and Latakia provinces and moved its forces toward the eastern Raqqa province and the eastern outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo, activists said.
The question remains, if a Lebanese newspaper knew ISIS was on the move eastward, why didn’t the CIA? The obvious answer is the CIA did know, and is simply feigning ignorance at the expense of their reputation to bait its enemies into suspecting the agency of incompetency rather than complicity in the horrific terroristic swath ISIS is now carving through northern Iraq.
Described extensively in the full New Eastern Outlook Journal (NEO) report, “NATO’s Terror Hordes in Iraq a Pretext for Syria Invasion,” the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, have funded and armed terrorists operating in Syria for the past 3 years to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars – coincidentally the same amount that ISIS would require to gain primacy among militant groups fighting in Syria and to mobilize forces capable of crossing into Iraq and overwhelming Baghdad’s national defenses.
|Image: The most prominent routes into Syria for foreign fighters is depicted, with the inset graph describing the most widely used routes by foreign fighters on their way to Iraq, as determined by West Point’s 2007 Combating Terrorism Center report “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” (page 20). These same networks were then used to invade and attempt to overthrow the Syrian government itself in 2011, with the addition of a more prominent role for Turkey, and today in 2014, to re-invade Iraq once again.|
The NEO report includes links to the US Army’s West Point Countering Terrorism Center reports, “Bombers, Bank Accounts and Bleedout: al-Qa’ida’s Road In and Out of Iraq,” and “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” which detail extensively the terror network used to flood Iraq with foreign terrorists, weapons, and cash to fuel an artificial “sectarian war” during the US occupation, and then turned over to flood Syria with terrorists in the West’s bid to overthrow the government in Damascus.
What’s ISIS Doing in Iraq?
The NEO report would also post Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article, “The Redirection,” documenting over the course of 9 pages US, Saudi, and Israeli intentions to create and deploy sectarian extremists region-wide to confront Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hersh would note that these “sectarian extremists” were either tied to Al Qaeda, or Al Qaeda itself. The ISIS army moving toward Baghdad is the final manifestation of this conspiracy, a standing army operating with impunity, threatening to topple the Syrian government, purge pro-Iranian forces in Iraq, and even threatening Iran itself by building a bridge from Al Qaeda’s NATO safe havens in Turkey, across northern Iraq, and up to Iran’s borders directly. Labeled “terrorists” by the West, grants the West plausible deniability in its creation, deployment, and across the broad spectrum of atrocities it is now carrying out.
It is a defacto re-invasion of Iraq by Western interests – but this time without Western forces directly participating – rather a proxy force the West is desperately attempting to disavow any knowledge of or any connection to. However, no other explanation can account for the size and prowess of ISIS beyond state sponsorship. And since ISIS is the clear benefactor of state sponsorship, the question is, which states are sponsoring it? With Iraq, Syria, and Iran along with Lebanese-based Hezbollah locked in armed struggle with ISIS and other Al Qaeda franchises across the region, the only blocs left are NATO and the GCC (Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular).
With the West declaring ISIS fully villainous in an attempt to intervene more directly in northern Iraq and eastern Syria, creating a long desired “buffer zone” within which to harbor, arm, and fund an even larger terrorist expeditionary force, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and others are offered an opportunity to preempt Western involvement and to crush the ISIS – cornering and eliminating NATO-GCC’s expeditionary force while scoring geopolitical points of vanquishing Washington’s latest “villain.” Joint Iraq-Iranian operations in the north and south of ISIS’s locations, and just along Turkey’s borders could envelop and trap ISIS to then be whittled down and destroyed – just as Syria has been doing to NATO’s proxy terrorist forces within its own borders.
Whatever the regional outcome may be, the fact is the West has re-invaded Iraq, with a force as brutal, if not worse than the “shock and awe” doctrine of 2003. Iraq faces another difficult occupation if it cannot summon a response from within, and among its allies abroad, to counter and crush this threat with utmost expediency.
Global Research TV
May 11, 2014
In March 2013 the US-supported insurgent group known as the so-called “Free Syrian Army” abducted the famous “Yellow Man of Aleppo.” The Yellow Man of Aleppo, whose real name is Abu Zakhour, is an old man who is a local celebrity.
When a Syrian journalist asked him, in a 2010 interview, why he wears yellow all the time, the old man responded that he “chose yellow because it’s a color that gives people happiness and joy” whenever they see it. “People loved me from the beginning and I want to repay them that love” by bringing joy into their lives by wearing yellow, he explained. In 2013, his desires to bring joy were met by punishment, physical abuse, verbal abuse and public humiliation when US-supported fighters entered Aleppo.
After abducting Abu Zakhour the insurgent fighters uploaded a video of themselves insulting and tormenting the old man online before he was taken away in their car. The FSA thugs intimidate and force the old man from Aleppo to pretend he supports them and the US-supported insurgency in Syria, to curse President Bashar Al-Assad, and to even bark like a dog and to smile while they slap and hit him multiple times.
These are the criminals that John McCain and the US, UK, French, Turkish, Qatari, Saudi, German, and Canadian government support and want in power.
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Jan 5, 2014
We learn insights and the backgrounds to Syria in the Geneva 2 prism.
by Christoph Germann
Boiling Frogs Post
January 26, 2014
Western mainstream media reporting about China’s fight against the “liberation of East Turkestan” follows some basic rules, one of which is to highlight the oppression of the Uyghur population at any given opportunity. So Western media outlets widely covered the arrest of Uyghur economics professor Ilham Tohti. European and American officials, led by U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, voiced their concern and demanded an explanation. The Chinese government, not amused by all this hype, decided to set the record straight and explained why the West’s new darling had been detained [emphasis mine]:
Leave no chance for malicious preaching
The nearly live coverage shows a particularly close link between Tohti and the West.
Indeed, Tohti is no ordinary Joe. Closely watched by the World Uyghur Congress, he is known to have often given aggressive lectures in class. He founded the Uighur Online website in 2006, which was very active around the riots in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in 2009, which left nearly 200 people dead.
The authorities must resolutely crack down on the terrorists, as well as the “brains” behind them. Without the brains, the terrorists will be like a clueless mob.
Xinjiang’s Never-Ending Struggle
Beijing knows of course that the real “brains” behind the terrorists are to be found in Washington but it is arguably more difficult to put them behind bars. According to Xinjiang’s police, Tohti engaged in separatist activities and “colluded with overseas East Turkistan separatist forces”, which include among others the NED-funded World Uyghur Congress. While Western media reported extensively about the arrest of the Uyghur economics professor, another incident involving the Turkic ethnic group received considerably less coverage, although the information came from the West’s preferred source, CIA propaganda project Radio Free Asia (RFA):
Chinese authorities have shot dead three Uyghurs who attacked a police station in northwestern China’s restive Xinjiang region, officials said Wednesday, calling the attack an act of “separatism.”
The assault on the Yengieriq town police station in Aksu prefecture’s Awat county is the latest in a string of raids by Uyghurs who exile rights groups say could be retaliating for discrimination by Chinese authorities against the ethnic minority group.
As usual, Radio Free Asia portrays the attack as inevitable consequence of government discrimination against the Uyghur population.
Update: Further details have emerged regarding the authors of the report. It was produced by British law firm Carter-Ruck on behalf of Qatar who funded it (CNN). Carter-Ruck had in the past defended Saudis suspected of funding Al Qaeda.ABC’s “U.S.: Saudis Still Filling Al Qaeda’s Coffers,” would report that Yasin al Qadi was being represented by Carter-Ruck against US charges filed just after 9/11 claiming he was financing Al Qaeda. It should also be noted that Yasin al Qadi is a close ally of US’ partner in the Syrian conflict, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. The suspicious report, conveniently released just a day before the Geneva conference, emerging from a tangled web of state-sponsored terrorism and dubious Western law firms only further taints the West’s image as they go into “peace talks” regarding Syria.
January 22, 2014 (LD) – As with every Western-backed conference assembled regarding Syria, dramtic fabrications revealed just ahead of proceedings are intended to give them and their predetermined outcomes both gravity and “urgency.” Upcoming “peace talks” to be held in Switzerland are no exception. A report cooked up by the unelected dictatorship in Qatar is based on an anonymous source, codename “Caesar,” and remains admittedly unverified.
The BBC’s report, “US and UN express horror at Syria torture report,” claims:
The report, by three former war crimes prosecutors, is based on the evidence of a defected military police photographer, referred to only as Caesar, who along with others reportedly smuggled about 55,000 digital images of some 11,000 dead detainees out of Syria.
The BBC then reveals the propaganda value the report is intended to serve in upcoming talks by stating:
US state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said it “underscores that it makes it even more important that we make progress [at Geneva II]. The situation on the ground is so horrific that we need to get a political transition in place, and we need to get the Assad regime out of power.”
Of course, spokesman for UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay would admit the report remains unverified (emphasis added):
Rupert Colville, spokesman for UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, told AFP: “This report is extremely alarming, and the alleged scale of the deaths in detention, if verified, is truly horrifying.
Codename Caesar, Codename Curveball
Image: From Independent’s “Man whose WMD lies led to 100,000 deaths confesses all: Defector tells how US officials ‘sexed up’ his fictions to make the case for 2003 invasion.” In retrospect, the corporate-media has no problem admitting the insidious lies that were told to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq – the lead up to the war was another story. A verbatim repeat of these admitted lies are being directed at Syria amidst the West’s failure to overthrow the government with terrorist proxies.
November 16, 2013
AECOM Technology Corporation posted a short video animation of the design for Qatar’s new Al Wakrah sports stadium Saturday, which under almost immediate criticism for its resemblance to female genitalia.
Buzzfeed’s Matt Kiebus noted that the $120 billion project bears little resemblance to an ancient dhow boat “that Qataris traditionally used for pearl diving.”
Qatar is building the 45,000-capacity stadium to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. (Read more…) The climate-controlled stadium will be about 12 miles south of Doha, in “one of the oldest inhabited areas in Qatar, with a rich cultural heritage evidenced by its traditional Islamic architecture, historical buildings, distinctive mosques and archaeological sites,” according to AECOM.
Watch the video and draw your own design conclusions below.
[VIA The Raw Story]
by Michael Snyder
MND – Your Daily Dose of Counter-Theory
September 3, 2013
[Potent News editor's note: While I don't think the situation is as simple as a natural gas pipeline (for reasons I expand on halfway through Potent News Blast #10) I still think the information below is relevant and valuable.]
Why has the little nation of Qatar spent 3 billion dollars to support the rebels in Syria? Could it be because Qatar is the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world and Assad won’t let them build a natural gas pipeline through Syria? Of course. Qatar wants to install a puppet regime in Syria that will allow them to build a pipeline which will enable them to sell lots and lots of natural gas to Europe. Why is Saudi Arabia spending huge amounts of money to help the rebels and why has Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan been “jetting from covert command centers near the Syrian front lines to the Élysée Palace in Paris and the Kremlin in Moscow, seeking to undermine the Assad regime”? Well, it turns out that Saudi Arabia intends to install their own puppet government in Syria which will allow the Saudis to control the flow of energy through the region. On the other side, Russia very much prefers the Assad regime for a whole bunch of reasons. One of those reasons is that Assad is helping to block the flow of natural gas out of the Persian Gulf into Europe, thus ensuring higher profits for Gazprom. Now the United States is getting directly involved in the conflict. If the U.S. is successful in getting rid of the Assad regime, it will be good for either the Saudis or Qatar (and possibly for both), and it will be really bad for Russia. This is a strategic geopolitical conflict about natural resources, religion and money, and it really has nothing to do with chemical weapons at all.
It has been common knowledge that Qatar has desperately wanted to construct a natural gas pipeline that will enable it to get natural gas to Europe for a very long time. The following is an excerpt from an article from 2009…
Qatar has proposed a gas pipeline from the Gulf to Turkey in a sign the emirate is considering a further expansion of exports from the world’s biggest gasfield after it finishes an ambitious programme to more than double its capacity to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG).
“We are eager to have a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, said last week, following talks with the Turkish president Abdullah Gul and the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the western Turkish resort town of Bodrum. “We discussed this matter in the framework of co-operation in the field of energy. In this regard, a working group will be set up that will come up with concrete results in the shortest possible time,” he said, according to Turkey’s Anatolia news agency.
Other reports in the Turkish press said the two states were exploring the possibility of Qatar supplying gas to the strategic Nabucco pipeline project, which would transport Central Asian and Middle Eastern gas to Europe, bypassing Russia. A Qatar-to-Turkey pipeline might hook up with Nabucco at its proposed starting point in eastern Turkey. Last month, Mr Erdogan and the prime ministers of four European countries signed a transit agreement for Nabucco, clearing the way for a final investment decision next year on the EU-backed project to reduce European dependence on Russian gas.
“For this aim, I think a gas pipeline between Turkey and Qatar would solve the issue once and for all,” Mr Erdogan added, according to reports in several newspapers. The reports said two different routes for such a pipeline were possible. One would lead from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to Turkey. The other would go through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey. It was not clear whether the second option would be connected to the Pan-Arab pipeline, carrying Egyptian gas through Jordan to Syria. That pipeline, which is due to be extended to Turkey, has also been proposed as a source of gas for Nabucco.
Based on production from the massive North Field in the Gulf, Qatar has established a commanding position as the world’s leading LNG exporter. It is consolidating that through a construction programme aimed at increasing its annual LNG production capacity to 77 million tonnes by the end of next year, from 31 million tonnes last year. However, in 2005, the emirate placed a moratorium on plans for further development of the North Field in order to conduct a reservoir study.
As you just read, there were two proposed routes for the pipeline. Unfortunately for Qatar, Saudi Arabia said no to the first route and Syria said no to the second route. The following is from an absolutely outstanding article in the Guardian…
In 2009 – the same year former French foreign minister Dumas alleges the British began planning operations in Syria – Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets – albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad’s rationale was “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.”
Instead, the following year, Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field shared with Qatar. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project was signed in July 2012 – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo – and earlier this year Iraq signed a framework agreement for construction of the gas pipelines.
The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan was a “direct slap in the face” to Qatar’s plans. No wonder Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, in a failed attempt to bribe Russia to switch sides, told President Vladmir Putin that “whatever regime comes after” Assad, it will be “completely” in Saudi Arabia’s hands and will “not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports”, according to diplomatic sources. When Putin refused, the Prince vowed military action.
August 28, 2013
Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City and the founder of StopImperialism.com.
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.
June 29, 2013
The battle lines are being drawn between Tribal loyalties and Muslim Brotherhood loyalties. Many people have died in Tripoli (40) in Benghazi (40) and also Sabha. The Government seems powerless, behind the scenes Qatar is a big player, and the weapons depots are open.
Friends of Syria
May 25, 2013
The daughter of Qatari ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has censured Doha’s support for the militants in Syria.
In a message she posted on Twitter, Sheikha Hind bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani stated that the backing of the militants was a ‘scandal in the history of Qatar.’
She also denounced the atrocities committed by the militants and said the armed groups had committed crimes against the Syrian people – an apparent reference to a gruesome video recently published on the Internet.
The video shows a cannibal militant in Syria cutting an organ of a Syrian soldier out of his chest and biting into it.
The Qatari princess also slammed the intervention of militants from Saudi Arabia in Syria and their ‘execution of Syrian citizens.’
Turmoil has gripped Syria since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian security forces, have been killed in the unrest.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on May 18 that militants from 29 different countries were fighting against the government in different parts of the country.
In January, Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi spy chief, called for sending heavy weaponry to the militants in Syria.
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.
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.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara is ready to ask NATO for a military intervention in Syria, Press TV reports. “I am ready to ask NATO for a military intervention in Syria,” Erdogan was quoted as saying on…
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…
The Assad regime in Syria is facing increased scrutiny for its handling of demonstrators. The Syrian opposition has asked for arms and NATO intervention similar to what was witnessed in Libya. Washington Hawks such as former presidential candidate and U.S.…
Obama, Israel and the new phase of the war on Syria The massive Israeli air strikes on May 5 near Damascus mark a new phase in the imperialist-led campaign to overthrow the Syrian government. Huge bombs lit the early morning…
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related video: Why The NWO Hates Syria
May 17, 2013
Erdogan is in the USA after the bombing, his paymasters want him to do more against Syria and the turkish public are growingly against his policies. Nevertheless he will go to Gaza next month, and he will look like a saviour, at least in western eyes, he will be able to funnel aid to Hamas from what the US et al have given him.
The Hamas leader was always in hiding when he lived in Damascus, now he travels openly to Gaza and talks about negotiating with the Jewish Race: http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/ade…
What will the armed PKK do now that they are withdrawing into Iraqi Kurdistan? And what have they been promised that they are leaving Turkey voluntarily?
On the ground in Syria Hezbollah and Syria with Iranian and Russian support have turned the tables against the west’s insurgents.
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May 8, 2013
With the Israeli bombing of Syria, will the Syrian civil war spread throughout the region? What is Israel’s political calculation here? Is Obama’s red line regarding chemical weapons just a hoax? And what will happen in Syria if there is a regime change? CrossTalking with Pepe Escobar, Christopher Chivvis and Geoffrey Ingersoll.
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by Tony Cartalucci
- US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel have conspired to destroy Syria by way of arming sectarian extremists since 2007.
- The West now admits it, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have provided thousands of tons of weapons to militants in Syria – while also conceding that Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra is the best armed, most well equipped militant front in the conflict.
- US, Saudi, Israeli-backed terrorists are now committing a myriad of horrific atrocities against all of Syria’s population, including Sunni Muslims – meaning neither “democracy” nor even “sectarianism” drives the conflict, but rather the destruction of Syria in its entirety.
- US State Department acknowledges Syria faces threat from Al Qaeda, demands blockade of arms/aid from reaching government to fight terrorists the US State Department admits are present in every major Syrian city.
March 30, 2013 (LD) – Since 2007, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel have been documented as conspiring to overthrow the Syrian government by way of sectarian extremists, including groups “sympathetic to Al Qaeda,” and in particular, the militant, sectarian Muslim Brotherhood. While the West has attempted to portray the full-scale conflict beginning in Syria in 2011 as first, a “pro-democracy uprising,” to now a “sectarian conflict,” recent atrocities carried out by US-Saudi-Israeli proxies have shifted the assault to include Sunni Muslims unable or unwilling to participate in the destruction of the Syrian state.
Such attacks included a mortar bombardment of Damascus University, killing 15 and injuring dozens more, as well as the brutal slaying of two prominent Sunni Muslim clerics – the latest of which was beheaded, his body paraded through the streets of Aleppo, and his head hung from the mosque he preached in. While the West attempts to mitigate these events by labeling the victims as “pro-government,” the reality is that the forces fighting inside Syria are funded, armed, directed, and politically supported from abroad – and therefore do not represent any of the Syrian people’s interests, including those Syrians who do not support the government.
It is abundantly clear that the West’s goal is neither to institute “democracy,” nor even take sides in a “sectarian conflict,” but rather carry out the complete and permanent destruction of Syria as a nation-state, sparing no one, not even Sunnis.
Such a proxy war exists contra to any conceivable interpretation of “international law.” The world is left with a moral imperative to not only denounce this insidious conflict brought upon the Syrian people, compounded and perpetuated entirely by external interests, but demands that concrete action is taken to ensure that this act of aggression is brought to an end.
The US, UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have admitted to colluding together, flooding Syria with thousands of tons of weapons via Jordan to Syria’s south, and NATO-member Turkey to Syria’s north. And in an otherwise inexplicable conundrum, while the likes of US Secretary of State John Kerry insist this torrent of weapons is being directed to “moderates,” neither the US nor its allies are able to explain why Al Qaeda terror front Jabhat al-Nusra has emerged as the most heavily armed, best equipped militant organization in the conflict.
AP reported specifically in their article, “Officials: Arms shipments rise to Syrian rebels,” that:
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on the sidelines of a Syrian opposition meeting in Italy last month that the weapons are ending up in the hands of secular groups. “I will tell you this: There is a very clear ability now in the Syrian opposition to make certain that what goes to the moderate, legitimate opposition is in fact getting to them, and the indication is that they are increasing their pressure as a result of that,” he said, without elaborating.
But even AP admits that:
Syrian opposition activists estimate there are 15-20 different brigades fighting in and around Damascus now, each with up to 150 fighters. Many of them have Islamic tendencies and bear black-and-white Islamic flags or al-Qaeda-style flags on their Facebook pages. There is also a presence of Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the strongest Islamic terrorist groups fighting alongside the rebels.
The US State Department’s own statement regarding the designation of al-Nusra as a listed Al Qaeda terror organization states:
Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr.
According to the US State Department, al-Nusra is carrying out hundreds of attacks with a wide array of weaponry, across the entire nation of Syria, indicating a massive front and implying an equally massive network of logistical support, including foreign sponsorship. What’s more, is that the US State Department acknowledges al-Nusra’s presence even in cities close to Syria’s borders where the CIA is admittedly overseeing the distribution of weapons and cash. The New York Times, in their June 2012 article, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” reported that:
A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.
And in New York Times’ more recent March 2013 article, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” it is admitted that weapons are being funneled into Syria across both its borders with Turkey and Jordan:
With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.
The article would also state:
Although rebel commanders and the data indicate that Qatar and Saudi Arabia had been shipping military materials via Turkey to the opposition since early and late 2012, respectively, a major hurdle was removed late last fall after the Turkish government agreed to allow the pace of air shipments to accelerate, officials said.Simultaneously, arms and equipment were being purchased by Saudi Arabia in Croatia and flown to Jordan on Jordanian cargo planes for rebels working in southern Syria and for retransfer to Turkey for rebels groups operating from there, several officials said.
The US State Department acknowledges that the well armed, prominent terror front al-Nusra is operating in the very areas the CIA is feeding weapons and cash into.
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. 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” and also happen to be areas the US CIA is admittedly distributing weapons and other aid in.
Such a reality directly contradicts the US State Department’s official position, and no explanation is given as to how “moderates” can be provided with such extensive support, and still be eclipsed militarily and logistically by terror-front al-Nusra. That is, unless of course, the US, British, Saudi, and Qatari weapons aren’t simply just handing the weapons directly to terrorists, precisely as planned as early as 2007.
The Destruction of Syria Began in 2007, Not 2011
While the West has attempted to reclaim Syria as part of its sphere of influence for decades, concrete plans for the latest proxy war were laid at least as early as 2007. It was admitted in 2007 that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel conspired together to fund, arm, and direct sectarian extremists including militants “sympathetic” to Al Qaeda, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, against the governments of Iran and Syria. In Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” the conspiracy was described as follows:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Hersh also cited US, Saudi, and Lebanese officials who indicated that, “in the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction,” and that, “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The report would also state:
Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.
Mention of the Muslim Brotherhood already receiving aid even in 2007 was also made:
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement founded in Egypt in 1928, engaged in more than a decade of violent opposition to the regime of Hafez Assad, Bashir’s father. In 1982, the Brotherhood took control of the city of Hama; Assad bombarded the city for a week, killing between six thousand and twenty thousand people. Membership in the Brotherhood is punishable by death in Syria. The Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy of the U.S. and of Israel. Nevertheless, Jumblatt said, “We told Cheney that the basic link between Iran and Lebanon is Syria—and to weaken Iran you need to open the door to effective Syrian opposition.”
There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.
The Wall Street Journal in 2007 would also implicate the Muslim Brotherhood and more specifically, the so-called “National Salvation Front,” in its article, “To Check Syria, U.S. Explores Bond With Muslim Brothers.”
It is clear that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel planned to use sectarian extremists against the nation of Syria starting at least as early as 2007, and it is clear that now these sectarian extremists are carrying out the destruction of Syria with a massive torrent of weapons and cash provided by the US and its regional allies, just as was described by Hersh’s report.
A Moral Imperative to Save Syria
Syria is under attack by an insidious, premeditated foreign assault, intentionally using terrorist proxies in direct and complete violation of any conceivable interpretation of both national and international law. The world has a moral imperative to support the Syrian people and their government as they fight this assault – both politically and logistically. While US Secretary John Kerry is unable to account for how his nation’s support for moderates has left Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra front the premier militant faction in Syria, he has demanded that Iraq help stem the flow of alleged aid Iran is providing the Syrian government as it fights these terrorists.
Does US Secretary of State John Kerry deny that Syria is fighting a significant (and continuously growing) Al Qaeda presence within their borders, which according to the US State Department’s own statement, is operating in every major city in the country? What conceivable explanation or excuse could be made to justify the blockading of aid sent to Syria to fight Al Qaeda terrorists? In fact, why isn’t the US aiding the Syrian government itself in its fight against Al Qaeda – a terrorist organization the US has used as an excuse to wage unending global war since 2001 when Al Qaeda allegedly killed some 3,000 American civilians?
Does Secretary Kerry believe that further arming “moderates” is a legitimate strategy to counter Al Qaeda’s growing presence in Syria when these “moderates” openly defend Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra? The US’ own hand-picked “Syrian opposition leader,” Mouaz al Khatib, demanded the US reconsider its designation of al Nusra as a terrorist organization. Retuers reported in their article, “Syrian opposition urges U.S. review of al-Nusra blacklisting,” that:
The leader of Syria’s opposition coalition urged the United States on Wednesday to review its decision to designate the militant Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group, saying religion was a legitimate motive for Syrian rebels.
“The decision to consider a party that is fighting the regime as a terrorist party needs to be reviewed,” Mouaz Alkhatib told a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Morocco, where Western and Arab states granted full recognition to the coalition seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
The US is directly responsible for the emergence and perpetuation of Al Qaeda and other extremist groups in Syria. The statements of Secretary John Kerry are made merely to maintain an increasingly tenuous “plausible deniability.” The precedent being set by the US and its allies is one of using full-scale proxy invasions, that if successful in Syria, will be directed into Iran, up through the Caucasus Mountains in Russia, and even onto China’s doorstep via extremists the West is cultivating amongst the Uighurs. It is also clear that the West is directly responsible for the extremists within their own borders, and that these extremists are being used as a political tool against the people of the West, just as they are being used as a mercenary force abroad.
A united front between nations against this wanton state sponsorship of terrorism is needed – with nations pledging political and logistical support to the Syrian people to defeat this open conspiracy. Individually, we can identify, boycott, and permanently replace the corporate-financier interests who conceived of and are driving this agenda. Failure to stop such wide scale criminality against the Syrian people now, will only invite greater criminality against us all in the near future.
April 10, 2013
Car bomb in #Damascus 7 fountain central round about in front of a girls school. The toll of victims raises up to 20 & around 53 injuries, including children.
!8+ not for shock but documentation of warcrimes
April 10, 2013
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has invited the leaders of Syria’s foreign-backed opposition coalition to London in a latest instance of foreign meddling in the domestic affairs of the Arab country.
Hague said on Tuesday that senior members of the foreign-backed opposition, the so-called Syrian National Coalition, will attend meetings with top diplomats from the G8 leading industrial states ahead of a formal summit of the group.
The individuals, including Ghassan Hitto, George Sabra and Soheir Atassi, are expected to ask for further support from the Western governments in their fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The move by the British foreign secretary to invite members of the foreign-backed Syrian opposition, who are not considered representatives of the Syrian people, is considered the latest attempt by Western governments and their allies to interfere in the domestic affairs of Syria.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said he would meet with Syria’s foreign-backed opposition leaders in the British capital, adding that the US administration is looking at possible ways to help the militants in Syria.
Foreign ministers from eight countries – Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Russia, Italy, Japan and the United states – will hold formal talks on Thursday.
The ministers will discuss the issues of Syria and North Korea.
Hague also said that Britain and France would continue efforts to facilitate the arming of the militants in Syria.
In another act of foreign meddling, the Arab League handed Syria’s seat to the so-called National Coalition during a two-day summit held in the Qatari capital, Doha, on March 26.
Damascus condemned the move, saying the League has “forgotten that it is the people who grant the powers and not the emirs of obscurantism and sand.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
Friends of Syria
March 30, 2013
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin says his country will strongly oppose any attempt to give Syria’s UN seat to opposition forces.
“We will oppose it very strongly, but … I don’t think it is going to happen,” Churkin said on Thursday.
“They (UN states) value this institution, they understand that if something of the sort were to happen, that would really undercut the standing of the United Nations,” he added.
This comes after Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib said earlier that “We demand … the seat of Syria at the United Nations and at other international organizations.”
Churkin also denounced a move by the Arab League (AL) to hand Syria’s seat to opposition forces, saying that the AL is now playing a ‘negative role’ in the Syrian conflict.
The Russian ambassador added that the Arab League decision damaged its standing and undermined the efforts of UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
On Tuesday, Syria’s opposition bloc, known as the National Coalition, took Syria’s seat during the Arab League annual summit held in the Qatari capital, Doha.
The League also authorized its members to send all the means of what it called self-defense, including weapons, to militants fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also criticized the League’s decision, saying that “In terms of international law, the league’s decision on Syria is illegal and indefensible.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government has said that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals.
Several international human rights organizations have accused foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.
US Weapons Deliveries to “Terrorists in Syria” a Systematic Violation of the Convention against the Use of Mercenaries
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 Tony Cartalucci
March 25, 2013 (LD) – While US President Barack Obama and the Western media lied in concert to the world regarding America’s role in supporting terrorists operating in Syria, it is now revealed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been shipping weapons to Syria via NATO-member Turkey and Jordan since at least early 2012. The New York Times in their article titled, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid,” admits that:
With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.
The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.
The New York Times piece attempts to spin America’s role in arming militants in Syria. The Times continues by stating:
The American government became involved, the former American official said, in part because there was a sense that other states would arm the rebels anyhow. The C.I.A. role in facilitating the shipments, he said, gave the United States a degree of influence over the process, including trying to steer weapons away from Islamist groups and persuading donors to withhold portable antiaircraft missiles that might be used in future terrorist attacks on civilian aircraft.
This is categorically false. Already, in 2007, US officials had divulged plans to destroy Syria by arming sectarian extremists, using Saudi Arabia and other regional actors as proxies to launder US and Israel support through – maintaining a degree of credibility amongst the terrorist receiving the aid, as well as a degree of plausible deniabiliy for Washington and Tel Aviv politically. In Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” the strategy was described as follows:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Perhaps more importantly, the report would also state:
Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.
[hat tip: End the Lie]
by Nile Bowie
March 21, 2013
The pages of history tell us that beautiful civilizations emerged and prospered in the ancient cities of Damascus and Aleppo, some of the oldest continually inhabited cities on earth. The harrowing circus of brutality that is the Syrian conflict, now in its third year, will soil and blacken those pages indefinitely. No matter the political outcome of this horrible war, a once tolerant and diverse state has been shattered and terror itself has eaten into the destiny of Syria’s people, inexorably changing the courses of their lives forever. Children have been orphaned; parents have faced the loss of their children – and by uncompromising means. Infants have been beheaded, the fates of innocent men and women have been sealed through summary executions, and families have been torn apart or destroyed all together. Recent developments in Syria are alarming.
Spokesmen of the Assad government recently accused foreign-backed militants of launching scud missiles containing chemical weapons in the city of Aleppo, killing dozens. Witnesses claim to have seen powder emanate from the rocket, causing those who inhaled the substance to suffocate or require immediate medical attention. An unnamed chemical weapons expert cited by Al-Jazeera claimed that the causalities were not consistent with Syria’s reputed stockpile of chemical agents, stating, “If it’s a chemical warfare agent, it’s not working very well.” Syria’s ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, called on the UN Secretary-General to form an independent technical mission to investigate the use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups operating in Syria.
There are a myriad of reasons why Bashar al-Assad must go in the eyes of policy makers in Washington and Tel Aviv, and the destruction of his tenure could not have been possible without the financial muscle of Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s wretchedly opulent Sunni Monarchs. These glittering kingdoms of disaster-capitalism are not only responsible for supplying weapons and cash; a major incentive of theirs is exporting the Wahhabist and Salafist ideologies that many of Syria’s imported jihadists subscribe to, a warped and primal interpretation of Islam that has fueled the sectarian nature of the Syrian conflict and deepened social divisions to their most dangerous point – in a country that was once renowned for its tolerance of religious diversity. These Gulf kingdoms, which are more-or-less given a trump card to commit deplorable human rights violations institutionally, are also responsible for propping up the political arm of their militant foot soldiers, and that comes in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Syria’s opposition coalition, which is itself entirely a creation of foreign powers, has recently elected its own interim prime minister – enter, Ghassan Hitto, a virtually unknown political novice with a US passport and a computer science degree from Purdue University. Hitto is an Islamist Kurd with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has politically dominated the Syrian National Council since its creation, in addition to organizing tactical elements of the insurgency. The backbone of the Brotherhood’s relationship with the medieval monarchies of the Persian Gulf is grounded in a firm opposition to Shi’a Islam, as extolled by clerical leaders in Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah; Assad himself is also an Alawite, an offshoot of Shi’a Islam. It should be clear enough by now how enflaming sectarian divisions in the region was a prerequisite for those bank-rolling the insurgency, aimed at demolishing the secular Syrian state.
Several high-profile members of Syria’s opposition coalition boycotted the vote for interim prime minister, citing what they viewed as a foreign-backed campaign to elect Hitto. Kamal Labwani, a veteran opposition campaigner, was reported as saying, “We don’t want what happened in Egypt to happen in Syria. They hijacked the revolution.” Those who abstained from the vote accuse Hitto of being a puppet of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that the SNC’s decisions were being dictated from the outside. Walid al-Bunni, another senior figure in the opposition, stated, “The Muslim Brotherhood, with the backing of Qatar, have imposed their prime minister candidate. We will keep away if the coalition does not reconsider its choice.” Let’s just get this straight – Assad, a leader whose presence today is a testament to the fact that he continues to enjoy majority popular support, is considered to have lost his legitimacy. On the other hand, Hitto, a man with no political experience who received 35 votes out of 49 ballots cast during a Syrian National Coalition meeting, is supposed to be legitimate representative of the Syrian people?
Western states want to install proxy leaders who will grovel to their multinationals and swallow IMF medicine, Gulf states seek unfettered hegemony in their own backyards, and they all want to see the Shi’a resistance smashed to pieces. Following the news of chemical weapons being used in Syria, the most immediate conclusion of this observer is that foreign-backed militants, who have used every opportunity to call for more material and support, employed the use of a smuggled chemical weapon of poor quality to bring about direct military intervention in their favor. Right on cue, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are frothing at the mouth, urging President Obama to “take immediate action” and consider deploying troops. Graham was quoted as saying, “If the choice is to send in troops to secure the weapons sites versus allowing chemical weapons to get in the hands of some of the most violent people in the world, I vote to cut this off before it becomes a problem.” There is no surer sign of a pathological mind than when one credits others with the blood on their own hands.
Nile Bowie is an independent political analyst and photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached at email@example.com
Chemical Weapon Attack kills 25 and injures 100 in Aleppo. Syria Crisis Explodes International Law into Anarchy and Barbarism
March 19, 2013
Insurgents and Syrian Government blaming each other for the Escalation with Chemical Weapon Attack.
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc).- A rocked with chemical substances, fired from the Da´el area, exploding in the Khan al-Asal area near the Syrian capital Damascus today, killed at least 25 and injured 100. The majority of the injured are reported to be in critical a condition. The Syrian government and insurgents are blaming each other for the escalation of the violence.
While the Syrian government possesses chemical weapons, several factors make it unlikely beyond reasonable doubt, that a rocket with weaponized chemical substances has been fired by Syrian military forces. Like in every other regular military force, the chemical weapons under control of the Syrian military are closely monitored, registered, and easily to be accounted for.
The UN´s independent commission of inquiry recently suggested to refer Syria to the international criminal court. A spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry called the report biased and unbalanced, and the suggestion to refer Syria to the ICC as futile and ill timed. (1 Escalating the conflict by using chemical weapons would be political suicide from experienced politicians who know better than bringing Russia into a diplomatic quagmire. With the national dialog making steady progress, the use of chemical weapons would be equivalent to the Syrian government derailing the national dialog which it facilitates.
While these and many other factors make it more than unlikely that the rocket was fired by Syrian military forces, the opposite is the case with the foreign backed insurgents. The strongest circumstantial evidence however, until an investigation has eventually has yielded material evidence, is the fact that the foreign backed insurgents themselves have published video recordings, in which they were demonstrating how they are producing chemical substances which can be weaponized in small laboratories. The small laboratories have been provided for the insurgents by Saudi-Arabia.
Syria´s Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi has held the countries that are arming the ´opposition` responsible for the crime in Khan al-Asal and stressed, that the government of Turkey´s Prime Minister Erdogan and the government of Qatar bear legal, moral and political responsibility for the attack that killed 25 and wounded more than 100.
Al-Zoubi condemned the Arab League on a ministerial level for its decision to support the armed insurgency, saying “whoever got involved and announced direct and public military support to the terrorists, whether he is an emir, a minister or a prime minister, must be held accountable for the crime”. He stressed the fact, that the terrorists used an internationally banned weapon and called upon the international community and the countries which are funding and arming the terrorists to assume their responsibility for the crime. He added, that the escalation of the violence by use of internationally banned weapons against civilians is a dangerous shift in the course of the events in Syria with regard to security in general, and with regard to the military situation.
Minister Al-Zoubi added, that the government of the Syrian Arab Republic has the right to act in accordance with international law and file a lawsuit against the countries which are arming the opposition, including internationally outlawed terrorist organizations such as Jabhat al-Nusra with internationally banned weapons.
Today´s escalation of terrorism with an internationally banned weapon is also likely to even further deteriorate diplomatic ties between Russia and the USA. One of the factors that has contributed to the rapid deterioration in diplomatic relations over Syria was the fact that the USA rejected a Russian resolution at the United Nations Security Council which would have condemned all forms of terrorism.
The US veto at the UN Security Council, against the condemnation of the attack and terrorism in all of its forms, prompted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to voice the Russian governments frustration over the fact, that the UNSC standards, according to which all nations, without exclusion, would condemn terrorism, regardless of the perpetrator, place or motives, was no longer upheld. Lavrov stated, “Russia sees in the American position the use of double standards and a dangerous approach in terms of the Americans moving away from the main principle of condemning terrorism in all its forms”. (2
According to information by Syrian authorities, the toxic gasses that have been involved in today´s rocket attack cause immediate fainting, quiver and death, prompting Syria´s Information Minister al-Zoubi to state, that “this shift in the type and manner of arming the terrorists embodied in using weapons imported from outside Syria across the border with some neighboring countries means that all allegations made by some countries, such as France, UK, Qatar and Turkey on providing logistic and “non-lethal” weapons to the armed terrorist groups in Syria are mere talk to sell the media.”
The escalation of the violence with a chemical weapon constitute a serious escalation in willful and systematic breeches and a further step toward an explosion of international law into anarchy and barbarism.
Since 2001, the USA, together with NATO and allies, have systematically dismantled the progress in international law that has been made since 1945 and the end of the second world war. The political, military and financial support of Jahbat al-Nusra and other militia who are involved in the attempted subversion of Syria constitute a breech against the Convention against the Use of Mercenaries. Also the use of so-called private military contractors to fulfill military duties in conflict areas constitutes a breech of the Convention against the Use of Mercenaries. International lawyer Christopher Black pointed out the irony of calling mercenaries private contractors, saying ” private contractors, as if the were construction workers”. (3
Saudi-Arabia´s and Turkey´s documented use of convicts for military service in Syria constitutes a willful and systematic breech of the Geneva Conventions, which regulate the war times rights of both civilian and military prisoners. (4 -(5 Military interventions under the pretext of humanitarian interventions or the principle of the responsibility to protect, which was used by the USA and NATO to bring about regime change in Libya, constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles enshrined in the Treaty of Westphalia, which is one of the root principles of the UN Charter.
The list of systematic explosions of international law by the USA, NATO and allies continues with breeches against the Convention against Torture by re-branding torture as enhanced interrogation methods, breeches against UN resolutions by blocking Syrian radio and TV channels access to international satellites, (6 and it could be continued ad infinitum.
Today´s use of a chemical weapon by US/NATO and allied backed mercenary forces, and failure of the USA, EU, NATO and allies to unequivocally condemn it as an act of terrorism and a war crime, constitutes but one more explosion of international law into anarchy, barbarism and despotism.
Syria´s Information Minister al-Zoubi elicited the bearing of this aggravation when he stressed that the terrorist crime committed in Aleppo is “an exceptional case, compared to the events in the world at least over the last fifty years” Exceptional, because an internationally banned weapon was being used publicly from an area where Western and Turkish intelligence are operating along side Jahbat al-Nusra members”.
by Nile Bowie
March 7, 2013
The long-term US funding of anti-government programs in Syria has raised questions about the types of groups being supported, and the benefits and arms supplied to militant groups; establishing political stability requires considered dialogue.
It appears that the US State Department under John Kerry will soon shift its focus to helping the rebels establish a full-fledged alternative government on Syrian territory and recognize it as the legal government of Syria. Such a move would legitimize the transfer of heavy weaponry and would allow the US to directly employ air strikes or Patriot anti-missile batteries against Assad’s forces.
Some would argue that these moves could help to marginalize the notable al-Qaeda presence among rebel forces. Pumping more arms and heavier weapons into Syria is unconscionable at this point, and continuing to do so will inevitably bolster the muscle and reach of jihadi and Salafist fighters. The argument that the US and its allies have only armed the “moderate” rebels is a deeply flawed one; weapons are in high demand by all rebel factions and there is little means to effectively prevent arms from gravitating toward hardcore Al-Qaeda fighters.
In his famous 1962 description of irregular warfare operations, US President John F. Kennedy alluded to “another type of warfare,” one that is “new in its intensity, ancient in its origin—war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It preys on unrest.”
After two harrowing years of division, senseless killing and civil war, the scared Syrian nation and its people are well acquainted with these unconventional methods of warfare denounced over 50 years ago.
Yet Western and Gulf states have proven their double standards by enabling radicals elsewhere – lest we forget the presence of Libyan military commander Abdulhakim Belhadj, former leader of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (officially designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department), who was sent to Syria to aid the Free Syrian Army on orders of the entity formerly known as the Libyan National Transition Council (NTC). The track record of allied Western and Gulf states shows that they are more interested in enabling terrorism for their own purposes rather than preventing it.
Since the eruption of violence in March 2011, Syria has endured targeted assassination campaigns, ceaseless suicide bombings and shelling, and massacres where infants have had their throats slit to the spine – the time has come for the opposition to engage the Assad government in dialogue and finally bring about a ceasefire and the total cessation of violence and insurgency.
From the reports of third-party sniper-fire targeting both protesters and security personnel in the southern city of Daraa at the very onset of the conflict, to the horrendous attacks on the students of Aleppo University in January 2013 – those who have critically monitored the situation from the beginning are under no illusions – the influx of armament and mercenary elements from abroad into Syria has brought the situation to where it is today. Western capitals have provided logistics, coordination, political support, and non-lethal aid, Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have openly provided weapons and monthly salaries for rebel fighters, and Turkey has allowed rebel fighters to receive training and arms from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the southeastern part of the country, allowing militants to pass into Syria freely.
There are those who say that Syria is the subject of an internal revolution that is brutally repressed by a malicious dictator, and those who say instead that Syria is being attacked by foreign powers who have deployed mercenaries and extremist fighters from abroad to engage in the destruction of infrastructure and conduct targeted assassinations to bring about an end to the Assad regime. Despite Washington’s concerns of heavy weapons falling into the hands of Al-Qaeda-linked militants, the US-backed campaign to coax regime change in Damascus has from the very onset enabled militants who justify their acts of terror in the name of a perverted interpretation of Islam. Reports in the Washington Post indicate that US support for anti-government groups in Syria began in 2005, transcending two presidential administrations:
“The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama, even as his administration sought to rebuild relations with Assad. Syrian authorities ‘would undoubtedly view any U.S. funds going to illegal political groups as tantamount to supporting regime change,’ read an April 2009 cable signed by the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Damascus at the time. ‘A reassessment of current U.S.-sponsored programming that supports anti-[government] factions, both inside and outside Syria, may prove productive,’ the cable said. The cables report persistent fears among U.S. diplomats that Syrian state security agents had uncovered the money trail from Washington.”The article describes how Washington funnelled about $12 million to anti-government programs in Syria between 2005 and 2010 to recipients affiliated with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Israel, which is now illegally conducting exploratory drilling in the occupied Golan Heights, and the US view the toppling of Damascus as a means of extinguishing the critical conduit between Iran and Hezbollah, the political and militant Shi’a organization centered in Southern Lebanon, in addition to helping isolate the Palestinian resistance.
The non-violent route: Laying aside differences
Both the incumbent Syrian authorities and the opposition must find strength to come to a mutually acceptable compromise. These parties have no other option than to search for a solution, lay down an agreeable constitutional basis for elections, and face each other in international monitored polls once the situation stabilizes. The Syrian people must not have democracy imposed on them, and the victor of this war should not be decided on the battlefield, but by the ballot box.
To gain the confidence of the electorate, election observers from the US, Qatar, Russia, and Iran could be sent to monitor the transition process – if the people of Syria want Assad to remain in power, then the rule of majority must be honored. Militant groups comprised of mostly hard line foreign fighters such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham cannot be expected to participate in a ceasefire, so the true test of a short-term alliance between Assad and the SNC would be in its ability to cooperate in quelling radical militants and restoring stability – such is a perquisite for any kind of transition.
Former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton once threatened Russia and China that they would “pay a price” for their position on the Syrian issue. It should be noted that these powers maintained a balanced approach throughout and advocated dialogue from the start, in addition to stringently adhering to former UN Envoy Kofi Annan’s six point peace plan. Iran should also be given due credit for hosting an International Consultative Conference in August 2012, which brought together representatives of thirty nations to call for ending the flow of foreign arms into terrorist hands inside Syria, proposals to broker a meaningful ceasefire, the coordination of humanitarian aid, and support for Syrian people’s right to reform without foreign interference.
Accommodating diversity in Syrian society
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted in the Washington Post stating,“Syrian society is a beautiful mosaic of ethnicities, faiths and cultures, and it will be smashed to pieces should President Bashar Assad abruptly fall. The idea that, in that event, there would be an orderly transition of power is an illusion. Abrupt political change without a roadmap for managed political transition will lead only to a precarious situation that would destabilize one of the world’s most sensitive regions.” It is clear that the Assad government is more stable than many Western states anticipated, and it continues to enjoy popular support.
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah recently warned against sectarian infighting in Lebanon related to the Syrian civil war, arguing that outsiders are pushing Lebanon “toward civil and religious strife, and specifically Sunni-Shia strife.” Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki also warned that a victory for rebels would “create a new extremist haven and destabilize the wider Middle East.” The Syrian regime will not imminently collapse but if it is brought down by military intervention, the consequences could lead to a highly unpredictable situation where match and tinder can meet at any moment with debilitating consequences for the region. It is time for both parties to convene. It is time to end this war.
Reports published in 2007 in the New Yorker by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh detail how the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia supported a regional network of extremist fighters and terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda with the aim of stomping out Hezbollah and Syria’s Assad in a bid to isolate Iran, who is viewed as an existential threat to the US and its allies in the region. A principal component of this policy shift was the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups, hence the ever-deepening sectarian nature of the Syrian conflict:“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
While the CIA has purportedly claimed to distribute arms only to “secular” and “moderate”rebel forces, Washington insiders from various academic and think-tank circles have openly endorsed bizarre positions in favor of integrating terrorists into Syria’s rebel forces. “Al-Qaeda’s Specter in Syria,” penned by Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Ed Husain, argues in favor of Al-Qaeda terrorists and their inclusion in the Free Syrian Army, stating, “The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervour, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.” Foreign Policy’s, “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists,” penned by Gary Gambill of the heavily neo-conservative Middle East Forum, argues in favor of Al-Qaeda, “Islamists — many of them hardened by years of fighting U.S. forces in Iraq — are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts. Assad has had extraordinary difficulty countering tactics perfected by his former jihadist allies, particularly suicide bombings and roadside bombs.”
While many Western media outlets once likened Syria’s rebels to pro-democracy freedom fighters, it has become more challenging to view them as anything other than Salafist radicals – the former’s existence was amplified specifically to provide cover and legitimacy for the violence and subversion of the latter. As a result of a foreign-backed insurgency, the Assad regime resorted to tactics of shelling and conducing air strikes on rebel strongholds, which were mostly in densely populated urban areas. It should not be denied that these heavy-handed tactics have also led to a substantial and regrettable loss of life.
The Friends of Syria group recently convened in Rome, where the US State Department has pledged $60 million to help the opposition maintain “the institutions of the state” in areas under their control, such as establishing terms of governance, the rule of law, and police forces. Reports have also claimed that the US is also deliberating more open engagement in Syria under newly appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry, however Washington has stopped short of openly providing arms and military training. American and western officials have told the New York Times that Saudi Arabia has recently financed a large purchase of infantry weapons from Croatia and funnelled them to Syrian rebel groups. Although the United States is not credited with providing arms to rebel forces, the New York Times has reported the presence of CIA operatives in southern Turkey since June 2012, who are distributing weapons with the Obama administration’s blessing. US spokesperson Jay Carney was quoted as saying, “We will continue to provide assistance to the Syrian people, to the Syrian opposition, we will continue to increase our assistance in the effort to bring about a post-Assad Syria.”
The Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari has urged the Friends of Syria states to convince the Syrian opposition to sit down for an unconditional national dialogue, which al-Khatib has expressed his willingness to take part in. One could surmise that al-Khatib’s shift toward dialogue indicates that the SNC is feeling less secure and more wary of a possible military defeat or rivalry with radical factions. Such a dialogue would undoubtedly represent a step in the right direction. Despite political differences and two years of deep conflict, these two parties must establish a genuine ceasefire and partnership to restore a climate of normality throughout the country. In this context, both parties must be able to agree on coordinating aid distribution to all parts of the country.
International recognition of a provisional SNC government would only create further divisions at a time when national unity is most needed. Although rebel-held areas are badly isolated and in need of humanitarian supplies, the delivery of aid must be facilitated through direct talks and partnership between Moaz al-Khatib’s Syrian National Council and Bashar Al-Assad’s government.