In perfect Bush-like fashion, President Obama has invented a bogus pretense for military intervention in yet another Middle East country. The president’s claim that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons — and thus crossed Obama’s imaginary “red line” — will likely fool very few Americans, who already distrust their president after the massive NSA spying scandal.
Obama has officially started down a path that inevitably leads to full-scale war. At this point the Obama administration thinks it has already invested too much military, financial, and diplomatic capital into the Syrian conflict to turn back, and each step forward brings the U.S. closer to a direct military intervention.
Much like Obama’s spying program, few Americans knew that the United States was already involved, neck deep, with the mass killings occurring in Syria. For example, Obama has been directly arming the Syrian rebels for well over a year. The New York Times broke the story that the Obama administration has — through the CIA — been illegally trafficking thousands of tons of guns to the rebels from the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. If not for these Obama-trafficked guns, thousands of deaths would have been prevented and the Syrian conflict over.
But even after the gun trafficking story broke, the mainstream media largely ignored it, and continued “reporting” that the U.S. has only been supplying the Syrian rebels with “non-lethal aid,” a meaningless term in a war setting, since all military aid directly assists in the business of killing.
The U.S. media also buried the truth behind the ridiculous chemical weapons claims by the Obama administration, which, like Bush’s WMDs, are based on absolutely no evidence. Having learned nothing from Iraq, the U.S. media again shamelessly regurgitates the “facts” as spoon-fed to them by the government, no questions asked. In reality, however, a number of independent chemical weapons experts have publicly spoken out against Obama’s accusations.
The U.S. media also refuses to ask: on what authority does the United States have to determine the usage of chemical weapons in other countries? This is the job of the UN. What has the UN said on the matter?
“According to the testimonies we have gathered, the [Syrian] rebels have used chemical weapons, making use of sarin gas.”
Again, the “rebels” have used chemical weapons, not the Syrian government, according to the UN representative. Many analysts have pointed out the obvious fact that the Syrian government would have zero military or political motive to use chemical weapons, especially when they have access to much more effective conventional weapons. Obama’s Bush-like lies are too familiar to the American public, who overwhelmingly do not support military intervention in Syria, or giving direct military aide to the Syrian rebels.
What has the UN said on giving military aid to the rebels?
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called the Obama’s decision “a bad idea” and “not helpful.” This is because pouring arms into any country where there is a conflict only increases the bloodshed and risks turning the conflict into a broader catastrophe.
But like Bush, Obama is ignoring the UN, and there’s a logic to his madness. Obama has invested too much of his foreign policy credibility in Syria. His administration has been the backbone of the Syrian rebels from the beginning, having handpicked a group of rich Syrian exiles and molded them into Obama’s “officially recognized” government of Syria, while pressuring other nations to also recognize these nobodies as the “legitimate Syrian government.” Assad’s iron grip on power is a humiliation to these diplomatic efforts of Obama, and has thus weakened the prestige and power of U.S. foreign policy abroad.
More importantly, Obama’s anti-Syria diplomacy required that diplomatic relations between Syria and its neighbors — like Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey — be destroyed. These nations have peacefully co-existed for decades with Syria, but have now agreed — under immense U.S. pressure — to sever diplomatic relations while helping destroy the Syrian government by funneling guns and foreign fighters into the country, further destabilizing a region not yet recovered from the Iraq war. Obama’s Syria policy has turned an already-fragile region into a smoldering tinderbox.
If Obama were to suddenly tell his anti-Syria coalition that he’s realized his efforts at regime change have failed and that he would instead pursue a peaceful solution, his allies and Middle East lackeys would be less willing in the future to prostitute themselves for the foreign policy of the United States; and the U.S. would thus find it more difficult in the future to pursue “regime change” politics abroad. If Obama doesn’t back up his “Assad must go” demand, the U.S. will be unable to make such threats in the future; and U.S. foreign policy is heavily dependent on this type of political bullying.
Furthermore, Obama’s anti-Syria puppet coalition is taking tremendous political risks when it shamelessly follows in Obama’s footsteps, since the U.S. is terribly unpopular throughout the Arab world. This unpopularity is further proof that the “official” Syrian opposition that is asking for U.S. intervention has zero credibility in Syria, since very few Syrians would like to invite the U.S. military to “liberate” their country, especially after the “successful” liberations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
Obama, too, is worried about domestic politics in his own country over Syria. He knows that Americans are sick of Middle East wars, while the American public is also worried that arming the Syrian rebels would mean giving guns to the very same people that America is supposedly fighting a “war on terror” against.
In response to this concern Obama has said that the U.S. will only give arms to “moderate” rebels. A European Union diplomat mockingly responded:
“It would be the first conflict where we pretend we could create peace by delivering arms… If you pretend to know where the weapons will end up, then it would be the first war in history where this is possible. We have seen it in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Weapons don’t disappear; they pop up where they are needed.”
In Syria U.S. weapons will thus end up in the hands of the extremists doing the majority of the fighting. These are the people who will be in power if Syria’s government falls, unless a full U.S. invasion and Iraq-style occupation occurs. It’s difficult to decide which outcome would be worse for the Syrian people.
It’s now obvious that President Obama is escalating the Syrian conflict because his prized rebels have been beaten on the battlefield. Obama has thus chosen the military tactic of brinksmanship, a risky strategy that involves intentionally escalating a conflict in the hopes that either your opponent gives in to your demands (regime change), or your opponent gives you an excuse to invade.
Here’s how former U.S. General Wesley Clark explains Obama’s brinkmanship tactic in a New York Times op-ed, which is worth quoting at length:
“President Obama’s decision to supply small arms and ammunition to the rebels is a step, possibly just the first,toward direct American intervention. It raises risks for all parties, and especially for Mr. Assad, who knows that he cannot prevail, even with Russian and Iranian military aid, if the United States becomes fully engaged. We used a similar strategy against the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in Kosovo in 1999, where I commanded American forces, and showed that NATO had the resolve to escalate.
“The risk of going beyond lethal aid to establishing a no-fly zone to keep Mr. Assad’s planes grounded or safe zones to protect refugees — options under consideration in Washington — is that we would find it hard to pull back if our side began losing. Given the rebels’ major recent setbacks, can we rule out using air power or sending in ground troops?
“Yet the sum total of risks — higher oil prices, a widening war — also provide Syria (and its patrons, Iran and Russia) a motive to negotiate.” [emphasis added]
Clark’s innocent sounding “no-fly zone” is in fact a clever euphemism for all-out war, since no-fly zones require you destroy the enemy’s air force, surface to air missiles, and other infrastructure.
In Libya Obama swiftly turned a no-fly zone into a full-scale invasion and regime change, in violation of international law. A no-fly zone in Syria would also immediately turn into an invasion and “regime change,” with the possibility that the U.S. or Israel would exploit the “fog of war” to attack Iran.
All of this madness could be stopped immediately if Obama publicly announced that the Syrian rebels have lost the war — since they have — and will be cut off politically, financially, and militarily by the U.S. if they do not immediately proceed to negotiations with the Syrian government. But this peaceful approach will instead be ignored in favor of untold thousands more dead, millions more made refugees, and a broader regional fracturing of Middle East civilization.
While the global elite construct underground bunkers, eat organic and hoard seeds in Arctic vaults; the global poor are being slowly starved thanks to high commodity prices and poisoned with genetically modified (GMO) food. Austerity measures aimed largely at the poor are being imposed on all the nations of the world. Weather events grow more deadly and brushfire wars more frequent. An AK-47 can be obtained for $49 in the markets of West Africa. The depopulation campaign of the inbred Illuminatibankers is accelerating.
In 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower, who later warned of a “military-industrial complex”, commissioned a panel of scientists to study the issue of overpopulation. The scientists put forth Alternatives I, II and III, advocating both the release of deadly viruses and perpetual warfare as means to decrease world population.
The first supposition dovetailed nicely with the pharmaceutical interests of the Rockefellers. According to Nexus magazine, the Rockefellers own one-half of the US pharmaceutical industry, which would reap billions developing medicines to “battle” the deadly viruses about to be released.
In 1969 the Senate Church Committee discovered that the US Defense Department (DOD) had requested a budget of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for a program to speed development of new viruses which target and destroy the human immune system. DOD officials testified before Congress that they planned to produce, “a synthetic biological agent, an agent that does not naturally exist and for which no natural immunity could be acquired… Most important is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.” House Bill 5090 authorized the funds and MK-NAOMI was carried out at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Out of this research came the AIDS virus which was targeted at “undesirable elements” of the population. The first AIDS viruses were administered through a massive smallpox vaccine campaign in central and southern Africa by the World Health Organization in 1977. A year later ads appeared in major US newspapers soliciting “promiscuous gay male volunteers” to take part in a Hepatitis B vaccine study. 
The program targeted male homosexuals age 20-40 in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. It was administered by the US Centers for Disease Control which, under its earlier incarnation as the US Public Health Department in Atlanta, oversaw the Tuskegee syphilis experiments on African American males. 
San Francisco has been a target of numerous CIA experiments, due to its high population of left-leaning and gay citizens, which the Illuminati views as “undesirables”. According to Dr. Eva Snead, San Francisco has one of the highest cancer rates in the country. For years, malathion – first developed by the Nazis – was sprayed over the city by helicopters from the CIA’s Evergreen Air, whose Arizona base is used, according to author William Cooper, as CIA transshipment point for Columbian cocaine. The mysterious Legionnaire’s Disease occurs often in San Francisco and the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control bad acid program was based there.
The intellectual force behind the introduction of AIDS was the Bilderberger Group, which became fixated on population control after WWII. Author Cooper says the Policy Committee of the Bilderbergers gave orders to DOD to introduce the AIDS virus. The Bilderbergers are close to the Club of Rome, which was founded on a Rockefeller estate near Bellagio, Italy and is backed by the same European Black Nobility who frequent Bilderberger meetings. A 1968 study by the Club of Rome advocated lowering the birth rate and increasing the death rate. Club founder Dr. Aurelio Peccei made a top-secret recommendation to introduce a microbe that would attack the auto-immune system, then develop a vaccine as a prophylactic for the global elite. 
One month after the 1968 Club of Rome meeting Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. The book hints at a draconian depopulation plan in the works. On page seventeen Ehrlich writes, “The problem could have been avoided by population control…so that a ‘death rate solution’ did not have to occur.” A year later MK-NAOMI was born. Peccei himself authored the Club of Rome’s much-touted Global 2000 report, which President Jimmy Carter pushed on his BCCI shakedown cruise of Africa. Peccei wrote in the report, “Man is now vested with unprecedented, tremendous responsibilities and thrown into the role of moderator of life on the planet- including his own”.
The Bilderbergers were behind the Haig-Kissinger Depopulation Policy, a driving force at the State Department and administered by the National Security Council. Pressure is applied to Third World countries to reduce their populations. Those that do not comply see their US aid withheld or are subject to Pink Plan low-intensity war that targets civilians, especially women of child-bearing age. In Africa famine and brush-fire wars are encouraged. AK-47 rifles can be bought at West African markets for under $50. The same is true in the markets of Peshawar, Pakistan. In 1975, a year after attending a Club of Rome conference on the topic, Secretary of State Kissinger founded the Office of Population Affairs (OPA).
DOD officials testified before Congress that they planned to produce, “a synthetic biological agent, an agent that does not naturally exist and for which no natural immunity could be acquired… Most important is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.”
Latin American OPA case officer Thomas Ferguson spilled the beans on OPA’s agenda when he stated, “There is a single theme behind all our work; we must reduce population levels. Either they do it our way, through nice clean methods or they will get the kind of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran, or in Beirut…Once population is out of control it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it…The professionals aren’t interested in reducing population for humanitarian reasons…Civil wars are somewhat drawn-out ways to reduce population. The quickest way to reduce population is through famine like in Africa. We go into a country and say, here is your goddamn development plan. Throw it out the window. Start looking at your population…if you don’t …then you’ll have an El Salvador or an Iran, or worse, a Cambodia”. 
Ferguson said of El Salvador, “To accomplish what the State Department deems adequate population control, the civil war (run by CIA) would have to be greatly expanded. You have to pull all the males into fighting and kill significant numbers of fertile, child-bearing age females. You are killing a small number of males and not enough fertile females to do the job…If the war went on 30-40 years, you might accomplish something. Unfortunately, we don’t have too many instances of this to study”.
Report from Iron Mountain
In 1961 Kennedy Administration officials McGeorge Bundy, Robert McNamara and Dean Rusk, all CFR and Bilderberger members, led a study group which looked into “the problem of peace”. The group met at Iron Mountain, a huge underground corporate nuclear shelter near Hudson, New York, where CFR think tank The Hudson Institute is located. The bunker contains redundant offices in case of nuclear attack for Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell and JP Morgan Chase.  A copy of the group discussions, known as Report from Iron Mountain, was leaked by a participant and published in 1967 by Dial Press.
The report’s authors saw war as necessary and desirable stating “War itself is the basic social system, within which other secondary modes of social organization conflict or conspire. (War is) the principal organizing force…the essential economic stabilizer of modern societies.” The group worried that through “ambiguous leadership” the “ruling administrative class” might lose its ability to “rationalize a desired war”, leading to the “actual disestablishment of military institutions”.
The report goes on to say, “…the war system cannot responsibly be allowed to disappear until…we know exactly what we plan to put in its place…The possibility of war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power…The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers. War has served as the last great safeguard against the elimination of necessary classes.”
Historian Howard Zinn described this conundrum when he wrote, “American capitalism needed international rivalry- and periodic war- to create an artificial community of interest between rich and poor, supplanting the genuine community of interest among the poor that showed itself in sporadic movements”.
The Iron Mountain gang was not the first to discover the virtues of war. In 1909 the trustees of the Andrew Carnegie Foundation for International Peace met to discuss pre-WWI American life. Many of the participants were members of Skull & Bones. They concluded, “There are no known means more efficient than war, assuming the objective is altering the life of an entire people…How do we involve the United States in a war?”
The Report from Iron Mountain goes on to propose a proper role for those of the lower classes, crediting military institutions with providing “antisocial elements with an acceptable role in the social structure. The younger and more dangerous of these hostile social groupings have been kept under control by the Selective Service System…A possible surrogate for the control of potential enemies of society is the reintroduction, in some form consistent with modern technology and political process, of slavery…The development of a sophisticated form of slavery may be an absolute prerequisite for social control in a world at peace.”
“…the war system cannot responsibly be allowed to disappear until… we know exactly what we plan to put in its place… The possibility of war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power… The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers. War has served as the last great safeguard against the elimination of necessary classes.” Report from Iron Mountain
The Iron Mountain goons, though thrilled by the idea of slavery, listed as other socioeconomic substitutions for war: a comprehensive social welfare program, a giant open-ended space program aimed at unreachable targets, a permanent arms inspection regime, an omnipresent global police and peacekeeping force, massive global environmental pollution which would require a large labor pool to clean up, socially-oriented blood sports and a comprehensive eugenics program. 
The Iraqi genocide fulfilled the dreams of the Club of Rome Zero Population Growth maniacs, while also providing a testing ground for two of the war substitutes proposed by the Iron Mountain fascists: an arms inspection regime and UN peacekeepers. Both concepts gained traction in the international community thanks to the Gulf War.
Let the Iraqi Genocide Begin
Estimates of Iraqi casualties during the Gulf War are sobering. Some organizations like Greenpeace put the death toll at near one million people. It was a war in which the media was denied access on a scale never before seen, so casualty figures vary greatly. According to Tony Murphy, a researcher at the International War Crimes Tribunal, the US attack on Iraq killed 125,000 civilians, while destroying 676 schools, 38 hospitals, 8 major hydroelectric dams, 11 power plants, 119 power substations and half the country’s telephone lines. The attacks occurred mostly at night when people were most vulnerable.
In the months following the war the death rate of Iraqi children under five tripled. Thirty-eight percent of these deaths were caused by diarrhea.  Victor Filatov, a Russian journalist reporting for Sovetskaya Rossiya from post-war Baghdad wrote, “What further bloodshed do these barbarians of the 20th century need? I thought the Americans had changed since Vietnam…but no, they never change. They remain true to themselves.”
According to former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the US was found guilty of nineteen war crimes against Iraq before the International War Crimes Tribunal. The US dropped 88,000 tons of bombs on Iraq during the Gulf War and has rained down countless more bombs since. Many bombs were tipped with armor piercing depleted uranium (DU) warheads, which may account for chronic Iraqi health problems. Dr. Siegwart-Horst Gunther, a German physician who came to Iraq to help its people, became gravely ill when he handled just one cigar-sized fragment from a DU warhead. Dr. Gunther measured the tiny object’s radioactivity to be 11 microSv per hour, whereas an acceptable exposure is no more than 300 microSv per year.  Three hundred tons of DU ammunition was deployed during the war.
Many believe DU is responsible for Gulf War Syndrome, which has killed and permanently injured many US soldiers who fought in the Persian Gulf theater. Since 2000, nearly 11,000 US Gulf War veterans have died from Gulf War Syndrome, while the Pentagon continues to cover up this travesty.
Satanism & Psychotronic Warfare
The US also tested numerous top-secret high-tech weapons systems in the Gulf theatre, while utilizing some old low-frequency favorites. When Iraqi ground forces surrendered, many of them were in a state of delirium and lethargy that could have been induced by extremely low-frequency radio waves, which the US used as a weapon as early as the Vietnam conflict.
Yale University and CIA psychiatrist Dr. Jose Delgado studied mind control for the Company during the 1950’s as part of the MK-ULTRA program. Delgado determined, “Physical control of many brain functions is a demonstrated fact…it is even possible to create and follow intentions…By electronic stimulation of specific cerebral structures, movements can be induced by radio command…by remote control.”
According to a military document written by Colonel Paul Valley and Major Michael Aquino titled From PSYOP to Mindwar: The Psychology of Victory, the US Army used an operational weapons system “to map the minds of neutral and enemy individuals and then to change them in accordance with US national interests”. The technique was used to secure the surrender of 29,276 armed Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army soldiers in 1967 and 1968. The US Navy was also heavily involved in “psychotronic” research.  Many US soldiers who served near the DMZ that divided North and South Vietnam claimed to see UFOs on a regular basis. The Pentagon Papers revealed that an electronic barrier was placed along the DMZ by the secretive JASON Society.
Major Michael Aquino was an Army psyops specialist in Vietnam, where his unit specialized in drug-inducement, brainwashing, virus injection, brain implants, hypnosis, and use of electromagnetic fields and extremely low-frequency radio waves. After Vietnam, Aquino moved to San Francisco and founded the Temple of Set. Set is the ancient Egyptian name for Lucifer. Aquino was now a senior US Military Intelligence official.  He’d been given a Top Secret security clearance on June, 9, 1981. Less than a month later an Army intelligence memo revealed that Aquino’s Temple of Set was an off-shoot of Anton La Vey’s Church of Satan, also headquartered in San Francisco. Two other Set members were Willie Browning and Dennis Mann. Both were Army Intelligence officers.
The Temple of Set was obsessed with military matters and political fascism. It was especially preoccupied with the Nazi Order of the Trapezoid. Aquino’s “official” job was history professor at Golden Gate College. The Temple recruited the same Hells Angels who Billy Mellon Hitchcock had used to dole out his bad CIA acid. Its members frequented prostitutes where they engaged in all manner of sadomasochistic activities.  Director of Army Counter-Intelligence Donald Press revealed that Dennis Mann was assigned to the 306 PSYOPS Battalion and that Aquino was assigned to a top secret program known as Presidio.
Presidio is also the name of a spooky complex in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which Mikhail Gorbachev reportedly frequented as the Soviet Union was falling apart. Was Aquino part of an operation to “map the mind” of the Soviet Union’s last leader and induce him into proposing both glasnost and perestroika, the two free market policies that ultimately led to the Soviet Union’s demise? Remember the curious mark which suddenly appeared on Gorbachev’s forehead? Was he implanted with some sort of microchip mind-control device to make him think “in accordance with US national interests”?
Such Orwellian technology is marketed on a regular basis throughout the world. International Healthline Corporation and others sell microchip implants in the US, Russia and Europe. The Humane Society has adopted a policy of micro-chipping all stray pets. The State of Hawaii requires that all pets be micro-chipped. Six thousand people in Sweden have accepted a microchip in their hand, which they use for all purchases. Trials are also underway in Japan. In July 2002, National Public Radio reported a similar trial beginning in Seattle. Later in 2002, after a rash of suspicious abductions of young girls, BBC reported that a British company plans to implant children with microchips so that their parents can monitor their whereabouts.
Dr. Carl Sanders, a highly acclaimed electronics engineer, revealed that a microchip project he launched to help people with severed spinal cords was taken over by Bill Colby’s Operation Phoenix in a series of meetings organized by Henry Kissinger. Sanders says the optimal spot for a microchip implant is just below the hairline on a person’s forehead, since the device can be recharged by changes in body temperatures, which are most pronounced there. Interestingly, this is the location of the pineal gland or Third Eye.
The 1986 Emigration Control Act grants the President the power to mandate any kind of ID he deems necessary.  Researchers at Southern California have developed a chip which mimics the hippocampus, the part of the brain that deals with memory. Pentagon officials are interested in using it in experiments to create a “super-soldier”.  Another microchip called Brain Gate is being implanted in paralyzed people. It allows them to control their environment by simply thinking. 
In Iraq, psychological warfare gave way to slow genocide. According to UNICEF, as of late 2001, 1.5 million Iraqi children had died as a result of sanctions, while one child in ten died before their first birthday. Thalassemia, anemia and diarrhea were the biggest killers and could have been prevented were it not for a chronic shortage of blood and medicine in Iraq due to the sanctions. UN Committee 661 served as arbiter of what constituted a “dual use” item and therefore banned for import into Iraq. As of 2001, over 1,600 Iraqi contracts with Western companies for medical equipment had been blocked by 661. 
Yale University and CIA psychiatrist Dr. Jose Delgado studied mind control for the Company during the 1950’s as part of the MK-ULTRA program. Delgado determined, “Physical control of many brain functions is a demonstrated fact…it is even possible to create and follow intentions…By electronic stimulation of specific cerebral structures, movements can be induced by radio command…by remote control.”
The Gulf War decimated Iraq’s sewer and water treatment systems. Iraqis were forced to drink polluted water, leading to numerous health problems. Iraq was not allowed to import chlorine to clean the water since 661 deemed it a potential chemical weapon. Electrical power was rationed in three-hour daily increments per household since the Iraqi government couldn’t get the parts it needed to fix its power plants after the US bombed its entire power grid. With the devaluation of the Iraqi dinar and the ban on the export of 2.4 million barrels of oil per day, the average Iraqi lived on $2.50 a month- enough to buy a pair of shoes. The only Iraqis not affected were the wealthy elite, who had long ago stashed their savings overseas in US dollars.
UNICEF estimates that 28% of Iraqi children no longer went to school. Before the war almost all children attended. Often families could only afford to send one child to school because of the cost of simple things like backpacks, shoes and notebooks. Rafah Salam Aziz, Director of Mansour Children’s Hospital, said parents were often forced to make similar decisions about their children’s lives. Aziz said, “Many times it’s easier for a family to let a baby die rather than let the whole family go hungry and get sick.”
In 1996 Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry announced a new military buildup in the Persian Gulf. Soon cruise missiles were again raining down on Baghdad. Many nations now grew weary of both US bombing and the sanctions regime, which was brutalizing the Iraqi people while strengthening the grip of Saddam Hussein. Russian President Boris Yeltsin, whose country signed a deal with Iraq to rebuild its shattered oil sector, said he was disturbed at the use of “extreme and radical force against the Arab world”. The Russian opposition offered a more scalding appraisal. Alexander Lebed stating angrily, “The US is like a strong master who spits on everybody.”
Turkey, Jordan and Syria all expressed unease over the new round of bombing. Even the Saudis, where Islamic fundamentalism was on the rise and two major bombings had occurred at US bases, now refused to allow the US to use its bases to bomb Iraq. Many countries, including France, began openly flaunting the UN embargo against Iraq in the late 1990’s.
Dennis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary of the UN who initially headed the UN Humanitarian Program to Iraq, resigned his post in protest. He said sanctions were demolishing the very class of Iraqi people who wanted to create a better government in the country. He was scornful of the UN Oil for Food Program under which the US received 70% of Iraqi oil. Halliday stated plainly, “We are guilty of committing genocide, through the Security Council, against Iraq.”
Halliday’s 1998 successor was Hans Van Sponeck, who watched as the UN unfurled the UNSCOM arms inspection regime, paid for by Iraqi oil sales. US inspector Scott Ritter confirmed Iraqi suspicions that UNSCOM was gathering intelligence for CIA and Mossad. UNSCOM was just the latest CIA tool. In 1996 the Iraqi government claimed international relief agencies, including the World Food Program, which claimed to be helping the Kurds, were actually CIA operatives attempting to destabilize the country.
In fact the CIA had spent more than $20 million in its support of the Iraqi National Congress, led by long-time CIA surrogate Jalal Talibani’s PKK Kurdish faction.  In January 1997 Iraq uncovered two Mossad spy rings in one month following the attempted assassination of Saddam Hussein’s son.  Hans Van Sponeck had seen enough. He too resigned in protest.
In early 1999 it was revealed that the US had used UNSCOM to plant electronic bugging devices in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. Arms inspector Scott Ritter said the CIA was using UNSCOM to “provoke a crisis”. In December 1998 UNSCOM, faced with the embarrassing accusations of espionage, pulled out of Iraq. On December 15th the US launched a new round of bombing. Ritter says intelligence gathered by UNSCOM was used for targeting. UNSCOM spokesman David Kay resurfaced in 2003 calling for a US invasion of Iraq. He now worked for SAIC, which landed numerous Pentagon contracts to rebuild Iraq.
Dean Henderson is the author of four books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Stickin’ it to the Matrix and Das Kartell der Federal Reserve.To subscribe to Dean’s weekly blog, Left Hook, go to www.deanhenderson.wordpress.com
-  Behold a Pale Horse. William Cooper. Light Technology Press. Sedona, AZ. 1991. p.166
-  Robot’s Rebellion: The Story of the Spiritual Renaissance. David Icke. Gateway Books. Bath, UK. 1994. p.305
-  Cooper. p.166
-  Ibid
-  Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History that Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons and the Great Pyramids. Jim Marrs. HarperCollins Publishers. New York. 2000. p.114
-  Ibid. 116
-  “Child Death Rate Jumps in Iraq”. AP. Great Falls Tribune. 9-24-92. p.8
-  “Depleted Uranium”. Siegwart-Horst Gunther. Covert Action Quarterly. Winter 2001. p.2
-  Cooper. p.369
-  Icke. p.221
-  Cooper. p.361
-  Icke. p.223
-  Inquirer. UK. 10-25-05
-  PhysOrg News. 11-1-95 www.physorg.com/news7746.html
-  “Greetings from Missile Street”. Free Speech TV. Boulder, CO. 12-23-01
-  “US Economic Sanctions Taking Very Human Toll in Iraq”. Great Falls Tribune. 9-13-92.
-  “Slamming Saddam”. Time. 9-16-96. p.31
-  “The Unfinished War”. CNN. 1-6-02
-  Evening Edition. National Public Radio. 9-10-96
-  BBC World News. 1-8-97
Source: Dean Henderson | VeteransToday
Obama Is Making Us De Facto Allies Of Al-Qaida…
Thursday, while he was ringing in Gay Pride Month with LGBT revelers, a staffer, Ben Rhodes, informed the White House press that U.S. weapons will be going to the Syrian rebels.
For two years Obama has stayed out of this sectarian-civil war that has consumed 90,000 lives. Why is he going in now?
The White House claims it now has proof Bashar Assad used sarin gas to kill 100-150 people, thus crossing a “red line” Obama had set down as a “game changer.” Defied, his credibility challenged, he had to do something.
Yet Assad’s alleged use of sarin to justify U.S. intervention seems less like our reason for getting into this war than our excuse.
For the White House decided to intervene weeks ago, before the use of sarin was confirmed. And why would Assad have used only tiny traces? Where is the photographic evidence of the disfigured dead?
What proof have we the rebels did not fabricate the use of sarin or use it themselves to get the gullible Americans to fight their war?
Yet, why would President Obama, whose proud boast is that he will have extricated us from the Afghan and Iraq wars, as Dwight Eisenhower did from the Korean War, plunge us into a new war?
He has been under severe political and foreign pressure to do something after Assad and Hezbollah recaptured the strategic town of Qusair and began preparing to recapture Aleppo, the largest city.
Should Assad succeed, it would mean a decisive defeat for the rebels and their backers: the Turks, Saudis and Qataris. And it would mean a geostrategic victory for Iran, Hezbollah and Russia, who have proven themselves reliable allies.
To prevent this defeat and humiliation, we are now going to ship arms and ammunition to keep the rebels going and in control of enough territory to negotiate a peace that will remove Assad.
We are going to make this a fair fight.
What is wrong with this strategy? It is the policy of an amateur. It treats war like a game. It ignores the lessons of history. And, as it continues a bloodbath with no prospect of an end to it, it is immoral.
In every great civil war of modernity — the Russian civil war of 1919-1921, the Spanish civil war of 1936-1939, the Chinese civil war of 1945-49, one side triumphs and takes power.
The other loses and lives with the consequences — defeat, death, exile.
What is the likely reaction to our escalation from humanitarian aid to military aid? Counter-escalation. Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are likely to rush in more weapons and troops to accelerate the progress of Assad’s army before the American weapons arrive.
And if they raise and call, what does Obama do?
Already, a clamor is being heard from our clients in the Middle East and Congress to crater Syria’s runways with cruise missiles, to send heavy weapons to the rebels, to destroy Assad’s air force on the ground, to bomb his antiaircraft sites.
All of these are acts of war. Yet under the Constitution, Congress alone authorizes war.
When did Congress authorize Obama to take us to war in Syria? Where does our imperial president get his authority to draw red lines and attack countries that cross them?
Have we ceased to be a republic? Has Congress become a mere spectator to presidential decisions on war and peace?
As Vladimir Putin seems less the reluctant warrior, what do we do if Moscow answers the U.S. escalation by delivering on its contract to provide A-300 antiaircraft missiles to Damascus, which can cover half of Israel?
Obama has put us on the escalator to a war already spilling over Syria’s borders into Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, a war that is now sundering the entire Middle East along Sunni and Shia lines.
He is making us de facto allies of the Al-Qaida-like al-Nusra Front, of Hamas and jihadists from all across the region, and of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi just severed ties to Syria and is demanding a “no-fly zone,” which one imagines the United States, not the Egyptian air force, would have to enforce.
Our elites shed tears over the 90,000 dead in Syria. But what we are about to do will not stop the killing, but simply lengthen the duration of the war and increase the numbers of dead and wounded.
At the top of this escalator our country has begun to ascend is not just a proxy war with Iran in Syria, but a real war that would entail a disaster for the world economy.
If the ouster of Assad is what the Sunni powers of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt demand, why not let them do it?
Anti-interventionists should demand a roll-call vote in Congress on whether Obama has the authority to take us into this Syrian war.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.
This article was originally published at Creators
The End of Syria As We Know It?
Beirut — The short answer is Iran and Hezbollah according to Congressional sources. “The Syrian army’s victory at al-Qusayr was more than the administration could accept given that town’s strategic position in the region. Its capture by the Assad forces has essentially added Syria to Iran’s list of victories starting with Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, as well as its growing influence in the Gulf.”
Other sources are asserting that Obama actually did not want to invoke direct military aid the rebels fighting to topple the Assad government or even to make use of American military power in Syria for several reasons. Among these are the lack of American public support for yet another American war in the Middle East, the fact that there appears to be no acceptable alternative to the Assad government on the horizon, the position of the US intelligence community and the State Department and Pentagon that intervention in Syria would potentially turn out very badly for the US and gut what’s left of its influence in the region. It short, that the US getting involved in Syria could turn out even worse than Iraq, by intensifying a regional sectarian war without any positive outcome in sight.
Obama was apparently serious earlier about a negotiated diplomatic settlement pre-Qusayr and there were even some positives signs coming from Damascus, Moscow, and even Tehran John Kerry claimed. But that has changed partly because Russia and the US have both hardened their demands. Consequently, the Obama administration has now essentially thrown in the towel on the diplomatic track. This observer was advised by more than one Congressional staffer that Obama’s team has concluded that the Assad government was not getting their message or taking them seriously and that Assad’s recent military gains and rising popular support meant that a serious Geneva II initiative was not going to happen.
In addition, Obama has been weakened recently by domestic politics and a number of distractions and potential scandals not least of which is the disclosures regarding the massive NSA privacy invasion. In addition, the war lobby led by Senators McClain and Lindsay Graham is still pounding their drums and claim that Obama would be in violation of his oath of office and by jeopardizing the national security interest of the United States by allowing Iran to essentially own Syria once Assad quells the uprising.” Both Senators welcomed the chemical weapons assessment. For months they have been saying that Obama has not been doing enough to help the rebels. “U.S. credibility is on the line,” they said in a joint statement this week. “Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions,” they said, such as using long-range missiles to degrade Assad’s air power and missile capabilities. Another neo-con, Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) said the opposition forces risk defeat without heavier weapons, but he also warned that may not be enough. “The U.S. should move swiftly to shift the balance on the ground in Syria by considering grounding the Syrian air force with stand-off weapons and protecting a safe zone in northern Syria with Patriot missiles in Turkey,” Casey said.
According to some analysts, Obama could alternatively authorize the arming and training of the Syrian opposition in Jordan without a no-fly zone. That appears unlikely according to this observers Washington interlocutors because the Pentagon wants to end the Syrian crisis by summers end, the observer was advised “rather than working long term with a motley bunch of jihadists who we could never trust or rely on. The administration has come to the conclusion apparently that if they are in for a penny they are in for a pound, meaning would not allow Iran to control Syria and Hezbollah to pocket Lebanon.”
Secretary of State Kerry had meetings with more than two dozen military specialists on 5/13/13. The Washington Post is reporting that Kerry believes supplying the rebels with weapons might be too little and too late to actually flip the balance on the Syrian ground and this calls “for a military strike to paralyze Al-Assad’s military capacities.” A Pentagon source reported that the USA, France, and Britain are considering a decisive decision to reverse the current Assad momentum and quickly construct one in favor of the rebels” within a time period not exceeding the end of this summer.
Shortly after the meetings began, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia quickly returned to Saudi Arabia from his palace at Casa Blanca, Morocco after receiving a call from his intelligence chief, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. Bander reportedly had a representative at the White House during the meetings with President Obama’s team. King Abdullah was reportedly advised by Kerry to be prepared for a rapid expansion of the growing regional conflict.
What happens between now and the end of summer is likely to be catastrophic for the Syrian public and perhaps Lebanon. The “chemical weapons-red line” is not taken seriously on Capitol Hill for the reason that the same “inclusive evidence” of months ago is the same that is suddenly being cited to justify what may become essentially an all-out war against the Syrian government and anyone who gets in the way. Hand wringing over the loss of 125 lives due to chemical weapons, whoever did use them, pales in comparison to the more 50,000 additional lives that will be lost in the coming months, a figure that Pentagon planners and the White House have “budgeted” as the price of toppling the Assad government.
“We are going to see a rapid escalation of the conflict”, a staffer on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee emailed this observer: “The president has made a decision to give whatever humanitarian aid, as well as political and diplomatic support to the opposition that in necessary. Additionally direct support to the (Supreme Military Council), will be provided and that includes military support.” The staffer quoted the words of Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes to the media on 5/13/13 to the same effect.
A part of this “humanitarian assistance” the US is going to established in the coming weeks a “limited, humanitarian no-fly zone, that will begin along several miles of the Jordanian and Turkish borders in certain military areas into Syrian territory, and would be set up and presented as a limited bid to train and equip rebel forces and protect refugees. But in reality, as we saw in Libya a Syrian no fly zone would very likely include all of Syria.
Libya’s no-fly zones made plain that there is no such thing as a “limited zone”. Put briefly, a “no-fly zone” means essentially a declaration of all-out war. Once the US and its allies start a no fly zone they will expand it and intensify it as they take countless other military actions to protect its zones until the Syrian government falls. “It’s breathtaking to contemplate how this in going to end and how Iran and Russia will respond,” one source concluded.
The White House is trying to assuage the few in Congress as well as a majority of the American public that it can be a limited American involved and that the no-fly zone would not require the destruction of Syrian antiaircraft batteries. This is more nonsense. During the no-fly zone I witnessed from Libya in the summer of 2011 the US backed it up with all manner of refueling, electronic jamming, special-ops on the ground and by mid-July a kid peddling his bike was not safe. Over the 192 days of patrolling the Libyan no-fly zones, NATO countries flew 24,682 sorties including 9,204 bomb strike sorties. NATO claimed it never missed its target but that was also not true. Hundreds of civilians were killed in Libya by no-fly zone attack aircraft that either missed their targets and emptied their bomb bays before returning to base while conducting approximately 48 bombing strikes per day using a variety of bombs and missiles, including more than 350 cruise Tomahawks.
At a Congressional hearing in 2011, then US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates got it right when he explained which discussing Libya “a no-fly zone begins with an attack to destroy all the air defenses … and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down. But that’s the way it starts.”
According to the accounts published in American media, Obama could alternatively authorize the arming and training of the Syrian opposition in Jordan without a no-fly zone. That appears unlikely because the Pentagon wants to end the Syrian crisis by summers end, the observer was advised “rather than working long term with a motley bunch of jihadists who we could never trust or rely on. The administration has come to the conclusion apparently that if they are in for a penny they are in for a pound.”
In response to a question from this observer about how he thought event might unfold in this region over the coming months, a very insightful long-term congressional aid replied: “Well Franklin, maybe someone will pull a rabbit out of the hat to stop the push for war. But frankly I doubt it. From where I sit I’d wager that Syria as we have known it may soon be no more. And perhaps some other countries in the region also.”
The peace talks are dead because the U.S.-backed rebels are boycotting the negotiations, ruining any hope for peace, while threatening to turn an already-tragic disaster into a Yugoslavia-style catastrophe…or worse.
The U.S. backed rebels are not participating in the talks because they have nothing to gain from them, and everything to lose.
In war, the purpose of peace negotiations is to copy the situation on the battlefield and paste it to a treaty: the army winning the war enters negotiations from a dominant position, since its position is enforceable on the ground.
The U.S.-backed rebels would be entering peace talks broken and beaten, having been debilitated on the battlefield. The Syrian army has had a string of victories, pushing the rebels back to the border areas where they are protected by U.S. allies Turkey, Jordan, and northern Lebanon. Peace talks would merely expose this reality and end the war on terms dictated by the Syrian government.
A rebel leader was quoted in The New York Times revealing this motive for the rebel’s abandonment of peace talks:
“What can we [rebels] ask for when we go very weak to Geneva [for peace talks]?… The Russians and the Iranians and the representatives of the [Syrian] regime will say: ‘You don’t have any power. We are controlling everything. What you are coming to ask for?’”
This is the reality as it exists in Syria, and realistic peace talks would recognize the situation in Syria and end the conflict immediately.
But first the rebel’s supporters — the United States and its lackeys Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar — must acknowledge this reality and demand that the rebels forge ahead with peace talks, on threat of being cut off politically, financially, and militarily.
If this happens, war is over.
But if the war ended tomorrow, Syrian President Bashar Assad, would still be in power, and President Obama has said repeatedly, “Assad must go.” Obama would be further humiliated by his Syria policy if he had to again recognize Assad as president after spending a year recognizing a group of rich Syrian exiles as “the legitimate government of Syria” and after his administration repeatedly announced that the Assad regime had ended over a year ago.
More importantly, if Assad stayed in power, U.S. foreign policy would appear weak internationally, which is one main reason that the U.S. political establishment wants to go “all in” for regime change in Syria: super powers must back up their threats, since otherwise other nations might choose to challenge the United States.
This is the real reason peace talks will not be held. The U.S. and its European allies want regime change in Syria, and they are prepared to allow many more people to die to make it so. This was made clear by the Obama administration. The New York Times reports:
“[Syrian] President Bashar al-Assad’s gains on the battlefield have called the United States’ strategy on Syria into question, prompting the Obama administration to again consider military options, including arming the rebels and conducting airstrikes to protect civilians and the Syrian opposition, administration officials said on Monday.”
The above quote mentions “conducting airstrikes to protect civilians.” This is the infamous language of the UN resolution that allowed U.S.-NATO to intervene in Libya; but Obama immediately overstepped “protecting civilians” and quickly jumped into “regime change,” a gross violation of international law and a Bush-like war crime.
The UN — though especially China and Russia — have learned from the Libya example and will doubtfully ever again approve of a “protect civilian” UN resolution. If the U.S. intervenes in Syria, it will do so with a Bush-style “coalition of the willing,” i.e. U.S. allies.
Obama’s dream of having a post-Assad Syria is further complicated by the fact that Assad is apparently more popular than he has ever been.
Many Syrians that didn’t previously support Assad now do, having concluded that Assad in power is better than their country being obliterated in an Iraq-style invasion, or being dominated by Islamic extremists, as the majority of the Syrian rebel groups are.
Further helping Assad’s popularity is that Israel has bombed Syria recently on multiple occasions, while Syrians watch the unpopular United States funnels massive amounts of weapons to the rebels. As a result, Assad can now successfully portray himself as a defender of Syria’s sovereignty against foreign aggression.
But, Obama will not be deterred. After it became clear that the rebels were losing the war, the U.S. and its European allies removed the remaining legal barriers to further arming the rebels, while the religious leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar — both U.S. allies —assisted in the war effort by calling for Jihad against the Syrian government (the same week the leader of al-Qaeda did).
Behind this frenzy of rebel support lies the sick logic that, in order for successful peace negotiations to take place, the rebels need to be in a stronger battlefield position. Arm the rebels to the teeth for peace!
In response to this twisted logic, Oxfam International — a disaster relief coalition — responded by saying:
“Sending arms to the Syrian opposition won’t create a level playing field. Instead, it risks further fueling an arms free-for-all where the victims are the civilians of Syria. Our experience from other conflict zones tells us that this crisis will only drag on for far longer if more and more arms are poured into the country.”
Ultimately, the Syrian rebels would have already been defeated — and thousands of lives spared — if they had not been receiving support from the U.S. and other countries. The U.S.-backed rebels have said that a pre-condition for peace is “Assad must go;” but this demand does not coincide with the reality on the ground: the rebels are in no position to demand this, and the U.S. is using this unrealistic demand to artificially lengthen an already-bloody war.
Obama can either use his immense influence to end this bloody conflict now by withdrawing support to the rebels, or he can extend the conflict and further tear to shreds the social fabric of the Middle East, while risking a multi-nation war that history will denounce as an easily preventable holocaust.
Until a few weeks ago, political leaders in the United States and Western Europe had claimed with monotonous regularity that the government of Syria was on the verge of collapse. “Assad’s rule is coming to an end. It is inevitable,” Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, told a Senate committee in November 2011. “Assad’s going to be gone; it’s just a question of time,” then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared in November 2012. “I think the regime in Damascus is approaching collapse … it is only a question of time,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said last December. Only three months ago President Barack Obama averred that he was confident the Assad regime in Syria would fall. “It’s not a question of if, it’s when,” he said in Amman, Jordan, on March 22. Similar predictions from mainstream punditry are too numerous to quote.
All this was in stark contrast with our assessments from two years ago (“On current form it is an even bet that [Bashar] will survive, which is preferable to any likely alternative,” I wrote in the May 2011 issue of Chronicles), and from February 2012 (“The regime of Bashar al-Assad is… not in any immediate danger of collapsing; if there is no foreign intervention it may survive”). It was reiterated most recently in March of this year, two weeks before Obama’s statement in Amman (“The rebels are unable to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad, foreign political support and military supplies notwithstanding”).
I was right and Obama, Clinton et al were wrong. The proponents and opponents of Western intervention now agree that the tide has turned. Sen. John McCain, a hawk par excellence, declared that “Bashar al-Assad is winning” while visiting rebel-held territory last month to urge U.S.-led intervention. The fact that Bashar iswinning has prompted other, more levelheaded commentators to insist that we should stay out of Syria. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) warns that our record of arming “rebels” has resulted in a disaster in Libya and elsewhere. Writing in the National Review, Andrew McCarthy (former Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman) ridiculed McCain’s call for yet another war. While rubbing elbows with Syria’s motley jihadists last month, McCarthy wrote, the increasingly senile Arizona Senator said that they “are just trying to achieve the same thing that we have shed American blood and treasure for well over 200 years”:
Yeah, just like in Benghazi. And in Egypt, where a pogrom against Christians is underway, and the Muslim Brotherhood government McCain joins Obama in supporting has just installed a sharia constitution. And in Iraq, where Sunnis and Shiites are back to slaughtering each other under the sharia constitution our State Department helped them write. And in Afghanistan, where, under a similar American-sponsored sharia constitution, the Taliban bides its time while the U.S.-backed Islamist forces turn their guns on their American trainers. And in Turkey, where an Islamic-supremacist regime jails its political opponents, supports terrorist organizations, undermines sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, and gradually suffocates what was once a pro-Western democracy.
“Liberty is not spread by fueling sharia supremacists,” McCarthy concluded – and he used to be a proponent of military intervention, once. The Financial Times also used to favor intervention, but now its columnists admitthat “the fact that Mr. Obama is refusing to respond to calls for ‘tough action’ in Syria is not a sign that he is a weak leader,” it is a sign of his prudence. Writing in the Boston Globe, America’s leading foreign policy realist Andrew Bacevich warned that, on Syria, the U.S. Government “is manifestly clueless and powerless.”
The Syrian rebels are far from powerless, but they are utterly out of their depth. Their most recent announcement that they will not attend the proposed Geneva conference on the crisis unless their fighters receive new supplies of arms and ammunition is a sign of despair. They will not get anti-aircraft weapons they crave because no Western power will deliver such weapons to the bearded human flesh-eaters, the rhetoric in Washington, London and Paris notwithstanding. Their real message is that the fall of Qusayr has changed the equation so radically that the rebels do not want to attend any conference at a time of evident and increasing battlefield weakness. That weakness will be even more evident when Aleppo is cleared of rebel forces, which I predict will happen in the next two to three weeks.
Foreign intervention is bad in principle if no vital American security and economic interests are at stake. In Syria this is manifestly not the case. Foreign intervention is bad in particular if its likely outcome is worse than the status quo. In Syria it is clear that the only likely alternative to Bashar is a nosedive into terrorist jihadist mayhem. That is infinitely worse from the vantage point of U.S. interests, geopolitically as well as morally, than what we have now in Damascus. Bashar is certainly no John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, but he is the least bad option.
Beirut — A number of analysts and security experts who specialize in intelligence and security subjects in Lebanon and France have expressed this week shock at the way many Western authorities, including several in Europe and the United States, are avoiding engagement with the Syrian authorities and thus missing important avenues to help end the crisis in Syria.
This dismay follows increasing evidence of the grave dangers now threatening to turn Syria into a main operations base for anti-Western and anti-sectarian international jihadist groups and organizations. Some specialists spoke to “Afrique Asie” recently and expressed surprise and concern that authorities in the United States and Europe are deliberately ignoring the daily warnings sent out by intelligence and security organizationsin those countries including the Intelligence Community in the US with is comprised of the 16 American intelligence organizations , also referred to as “elements”. These are the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),United States Department of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Security Agency (NSA),National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA),National Reconnaissance Office (NRO),Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA),Army Intelligence and Security Command(INSCOM),Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), United States Department of Energy , Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI), United States Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A),Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI),United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of National Security Intelligence (DEA/ONSI),United States Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), United States Department of the Treasury, and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).
One of France’s leading experts on terrorism, who visited Libya and Syria after the start of the turbulences, concluded:
“It is understandable that the that authorities in the United States and Europe are deliberately exploiting the Syrian revolution to punish President Bashar Al-Assad for his policies of siding with Iran and supporting organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that pose threats on Israeli security. However, the real strangeness lies in the fact that those nations are continuing to provide support, weaponry, military training and funding to the Syrian opposition and the media, with their knowledge that the class dominating the armed Syrian opposition is that of Al-Nusra terrorists who are closely affiliated with Al-Qaeda.”
Discussing the reasons preventing those authorities from changing their stance, the acknowledge expert concluded that Western political authorities, including the White House, believe that the Salafist movement’s attacks can be controlled through countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Hitherto, the relationship with Bashar Al-Assad has proven his independence as well as his adherence to the policies that bound him to Iran and other anti-Israeli organizations. However, French, European and American security officials perceive this differently.
Most Western intelligence apparatuses sounded out their danger sirens pointing to the necessity of cooperating with Syrian security authorities. This is because the Syrian intelligence is still considered the most effective party facing Salafist movements in the Middle East, and the Syrian army is fighting “terrorist/jihadists” on a daily basis. In this context, the Syrian intelligence never lost the penetrations it had into Al-Qaeda and other Syria-based Salafist movements as part of it work of planning to neutralize future terrorist attacks. To this end, Syrian intelligence committed substantial resources and senior officers in pursuit of international terrorists who are currently based in Syria, but who are laying the groundwork for terrorist attacks soon to be executed in European capitals.
While the United States and its Western allies are offering military, media, financial and political aid to thearmed opposition in Syria, allied with Al-Qaeda and like movements, the Syrian intelligence continues to fight against terrorism on behalf of the world, but with no assistance from countries whose interests and people they are work to protect.
One expert posed a rhetorical question, “Imagine that an assassination as big as that of the “Crisis Cell” officers in Syria was executed during the time when we discovered that among the victims was one of the most cooperative Syrian people with the French intelligence services in the fight against terrorism. And what have we done to protect it? Nothing.” However, as the Syrian story puts it, the Americans might well have been involved with his assassination.
In addition to the death of the “Crisis Cell” officers, in July of 2012, in a complex security operation widely believed to have been executed by the Syrian opposition, Western authorities are in pursuit of Syrians officers who helped save the lives of thousands of French and other Europeans over the past years. It is worthy to note here that one of those officers was wounded and almost killed while he was defending Western embassies under attack by” terrorists.”
When the scholar was asked whom he meant by this and replied: “It is obvious Colonel Hafez Makhlouf, the competent expert in combating Salafist terrorism who currently resides in Syria. It was through the efforts of officer Makhlouf that the Syrian authorities captured a number of terrorist cells, and thus, thwarted major operations that were being prepared for execution in Europe in general, and specifically in France.”
For his part, the security expert and former Lebanese Army General Elias Farhat, argued recently that security operations targeting senior Syrian officers do not only affect Syrian security, but are undermine operations for weakening international security and strengthening terrorists around the world. This is because the Syrian role is viewed even by the US Intelligence Community as being effective in fighting “international terrorism”, and had it not been for the cooperation the Syrians provided to Western security services, “terrorist organizations” would have succeeded in many attacks on European capitals.
Regarding the impact of sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe on the Syrian officers for global security, General Farhat argued that what is incomprehensible is the self-targeting process today being carried out by Western powers because what they are doing with the Syrian security authorities is similar to refusing any help offered to save them from the monster of “terrorism.”
According to the Lebanese General, “Western authorities are providing enormous support for the armedopposition in Syria and they continue targeting senior Syrian officers, with sanctions, as well as planning and executing assassinations against the very peoples who helped save the lives of many Europeans. By doing so inlight of the internal security crisis in Syria, these authorities are curbing all future prospects for Syriancooperation.”
Indeed, Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, who was largely responsible for security cooperation to combat international terrorism between the Syrians and the West in the past decade, was subject to the sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe. In addition, the “Crisis Cell” operation, which participated in the assassination ofagents who were undoubtedly related to the West, resulted in the death of a number of Syrian officers who were responsible for some key security cooperation between Syria and the West. The West is killing and sanctioning many of those who provide it with help.
Walid Zeitouni, a former Lebanese Army General and an intelligence and extremist movements specialist, claims that imposing sanctions on Syrian Generals and senior security officers by the United States and Europe “is suicide carried out by Western governments. These sanctions can only be categorized under stupidity, forthe assassination of the members of the most prominent cell in Syrian security was indisputably executed by Western intelligence agents. Moreover, imposing sanctions on Colonel Hafez Makhlouf came simultaneous to him achieving a lot of security accomplishments not only in favor of Syria, but also for the benefit of international security and that of the West in particular.
The West killing senior Syrian intelligence officers who are some of the key individuals fighting terrorists who are enemies of the West while claiming to fight terrorism while they are taking measures to intensify political, economic, security and media pressure on Syria and its officers and leaders, is self-destructive for these countries.
It is these Syrians are considered among the most effective forces combating global terrorism. While Al-Qaeda and the West are working hand-in-hand in their fight the Syrian army, the West is also busy conspiring against Syria, while engaging in, and aspiring for, the formulation of yet more sanctions against the population of Syria in order to achieve a purely politically motivated regime change. These sanctions are in fact resulting in the rise to power of fundamentalist groups promoting terrorism.
Moreover, there is no benefit for Europe in such a policy, as it targets those who offer help by killing some of their officers, imposing sanctions on others, and aspiring to transfer others to the International Criminal Court. Those being punished are the same people helping fight terrorism on behalf of the world – as with the cases of Colonel Hafez Makhlouf, Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, and the officers of the “Crisis Cell”.
In both the Makhlouf and Mamlouk’s cases, both were blacklisted and sanctions were imposed on them by the United States and Europe, preparatory to transferring them to the International Criminal Court. However, this did not detour either gentleman from continuing to combat terrorist organizations funded by the West to fight President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
These organizations are working in parallel and currently are planning terrorist and security attacks in Western capitals, despite the fact that a number of Western and Jordanian officers have repeatedly certified that Colonel Makhlouf achieved numerous successes in the field of security, especially in the fight against international terrorism. Makhlouf’s efforts resulted in saving the lives of many Westerners who were targeted in their home towns by Al-Qaeda’s assets in Syria who operate a planning center. Makhlouf also arrested a number of senior terrorists in Damascus who confessed to planning for operations that were halted through the information offered by the Syrians to the West via intermediary security organizations in the Middle East. When the French requested that the cooperation with the Syrians be restored, their request was turned down, pending the French governments ending its fighting alongside the terrorists in Syria.
Brigadier-General Mahmoud Matar, who was involved in person during the Cold War in a Lebanese-Western security operation that led to foiling a Russian KGB operation to steal a Mirage Airplane from Lebanon to Russia, told “Afrique Asie”:
“It is unfortunate that the extensive presence of Western security agents in Syria is serving the aim to fight the opponents of terrorism, which is wrong. However, I expect that the West would conduct a comprehensive review of its policy in Syria, and that security cooperation between the West and President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime be restored, since the situation is now even worse for the West than it is for Syria.”
This is one subjects that is reportedly being analyzed by the by US Intelligence Community. It is to be hoped that Washington and Brussels listen and act appropriately. If so they will avoid a steep price for their currently flawed policy.
Why Washington and Tel Aviv Want Hezbollah to Keep Fighting in al-Qusayr…
Homs Province, Syria…
During a tour of some of the neighborhoods in Homs, Syria’s third largest city after Aleppo and Damascus, with a pre-conflict population of approximately 800,000 (nearly half Homs residents have fled over the past two years) located maybe about 22 miles NE of the current hot-spot of al-Qusayr, this observer engaged is a few interesting conversations. More accurately labeled diatribes–with some long bearded Sunni fundamentalists who claimed they came from Jabhat al Nusra, aka Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahl ash-Shām, “Front of Defense for the People of Greater Syria”), and were preparing to return to al Qusayr to fight “the deniers of Allah”!
It is the strategic crossroads town of al-Qusayr, and its environs, which whoever controls, can block supplies and reinforcements to and from Damascus and locations north and east. For those seeking the ouster of Syria’s government, including NATO countries led by Washington, were their “allies” to lose control of al-Qusayr it would mean the cutting off of supplies from along the Lebanese border, from which most of the local opposition’s weapons flow and fighters have been smuggled over the past 26 months. If the Assad regime forces regain control of the city, Washington believes they will move north and conquer current opposition positions in Homs and Rastan, both areas being dependent on support from Lebanon and al-Qusayr. Some analysts are saying this morning, with perhaps a bit of hyperbole that as al-Qusayr goes so goes Syria and the National Lebanese Resistance, led by Hezbollah.
If government forces can retake the city it will put an end to the Saudi-Qatari green light, in exchange for controlling al-Qusayr, of the setting up a Salafist emirate in the area which would constitute a threat to the nearly two dozen Shia Lebanese inhabited villages of the Hermel region. If the Syrian army re-takes al-Qusayr, it would also avoid the likelihood of a full-fledged sectarian war on both sides of the border.
Meeting with a few self-proclaimed al Nusra Front militiaman last week, in Homs, one who spoke excellent British English they had plenty to say to this observer about current events in al Qusayr to which they planned to return the next day to fight enemies “by all means Allah gives us”. One added, when asked if they had confronted Hezbollah: “Of course but Hezbollah can’t defeat us. Eventually they will withdraw from Syria on orders from Tehran. But first enshallah we will bleed Hezbollah with thousands of cut throats”, he boasted raucously as nearby kids cheered and gave V for victory signs, smiles, giggles and cackling all around.
Such Jihadist rants are music to more than a few US congressional and White House ears these days, as once more in this region, a major US-Israeli carefully calibrated regime change project, appears to be falling short.
This week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted overwhelmingly to arm elements of the Syrian opposition with a recommendation to “provide defense articles, defense services, and military training” directly to the opposition throughout Syria, who naturally, will “have been properly and fully vetted and share common values and interests with the United States”. History teaches that the vetting part would not happen if the scheme is implemented, despite only a few in Congress objecting.
Perhaps lacking some of his father Ron Paul’s insights into US hegemonic plans for this region, Senator Rand Paul did object to the measure and he fumed at his colleagues: ”This is an important moment. You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda. It’s an irony you cannot overcome.”
According to the Hill Rag weekly, veteran war-hawks Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, flashed a knowing smile but gave no rebuttal, perhaps realizing that Senator Paul is a bit untutored on the reality of current Obama Administration policy in Syria generally, and for al-Qusayr, in particular.
Contrary to the shock and anger expressed by Senator Paul, American policy in Syria is to de facto assist allies of al Qaeda including the US “Terrorist-listed” Al-
Their victory according to US Senate sources would be a severe blow and challenge to Iran’s rising influence in the region and Iran’s leadership of the increasing regional and global resistance to the Zionist occupiers of Palestine in favor of the full right to return of every ethnically cleansed Palestinian refugee.
While Congress was considering what else to do to help the “rebels”, on 5/22/13, no fewer than 11 so-called “World powers” foreign ministers, including Turkey and Jordan, met in Amman to condem, with straight faces, even, tongues in cheek, the “flagrant intervention” in Syria by Hezbollah and Iranian fighters.” They urged their immediate withdrawal from the war-torn country. In a joint statement, the “Friends of Syria” group called “for the immediate withdrawal of Hezbollah and Iranian fighters, and other regime allied foreign fighters from Syrian territory.”
Not one peep of course, about the Salafist-Jihadist-Takfuri fighters from more than 30 countries now ravaging Syria’s population. The truth of the matter is that the governments represented by their foreign ministers this week in Amman, will follow the US lead which means they will assist, despite some cautionary public words, virtually any ally of al-Qaeda whose fighting in Syria may be seen as weakening the Assad government and its supporters in Iran and Lebanon.
According to one long-term Congressional aide to a prominent Democratic Senator from the West Coast, while the Amman gathering described Hezbollah’s armed presence in Syria as “a threat to regional stability”, the White House could not be more pleased that Hezbollah is in al-Qusayr.” When pressed via email for elaboration, the Middle East specialist offered the view that the White House agrees with Israel that al-Qusayr may become Hezbollah’s Dien Bein Phu and the Syrian conflict could well turn into Iran’s “Vietnam”. ..Quite a few folks around here (Capitol Hill) think al-Qusayr will remove Hezbollah from the list of current threats to Israel. And the longer they keep themselves bogged down in quick-sand over there the better for Washington and Tel Aviv. Hopefully they will remain in al-Qusayr for a long hot summer and gut their ranks in South Lebanon via battle field attrition and Israel can make its move and administer a coup de grace.”
The staffer followed up with another email with only one short sentence and a smiley face:
“Of course the White House and its concrete wall-solid ally might be wrong!”
The dangers for Hezbollah are obvious – that it may be drawn ever deeper into a bottomless pit of conflict in Syria that could leave it severely depleted and prey to a hoped for death-blow from Israel.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and other party officials have dismissed that possibility.
The next few weeks may tell.
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has drawn a line in the sand over Syria, the government of which he is determined to protect from overthrow. Not since the end of the Cold War in 1991 has the Russian Bear asserted itself so forcefully beyond its borders in support of claims on great power status. In essence, Russia is attempting to play the role in Syria that France did in Algeria in the 1990s, of supporting the military government against rebels, many of them linked to political Islam. France and its allies prevailed, at the cost of some 150,000 dead. Can Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pull off the same sort of victory?
Even as Damascus pushes back against the rebels militarily, Putin has swung into action on the international and regional stages. The Russian government persuaded U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to support an international conference aimed at a negotiated settlement. Putin upbraided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his country’s air attacks on Damascus. Moscow is sending sophisticated anti-aircraft batteries, anti-submarine missiles and other munitions to beleaguered Assad, and has just announced that 12 Russian warships will patrol the Mediterranean. The Russian actions have raised alarums in Tel Aviv and Washington, even as they have been praised in Damascus and Tehran.
The Syrian regime has been on a military roll in the past few weeks. It has made a bloody push into the hinterlands of Damascus, fortifying the capital. With Hezbollah support, it has assaulted the rebel-held Qusair region near northern Lebanon, an important smuggling route for the rebels and the key to the central city of Homs. The Baath government needs to keep Homs in order for Russia to resupply the capital via the Syrian port of Latakia on the Mediterranean. The Syrian government’s victories would not have been possible without Russian and Iranian help.
Regionally, a Moscow-Tehran axis has formed around Syria that is resisting Qatari and Saudi backing for the rebels. The increasing dominance of rebel fighting forces in the north by radical groups such as the al-Nusra Front, which has openly affiliated itself with al-Qaida, has resulted in a falloff of support for the revolution even in Saudi Arabia. Most Syrians who oppose the government are not radicals or even fundamentalists, but the latter have had the best record of military victories. Russian characterizations of the rebels as radical terrorists are a form of war propaganda; however, they have been effective. The Saudi and Jordanian plan to create a less radical southern opposition front at Deraa has met with a setback, since the regime recaptured that city last week. Doha and Riyadh are reeling from the Russia-backed counteroffensive.
At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pulled off a coup two weeks ago by persuading Kerry to support the international conference on Syria, to which both the Baath government and the rebels would be invited, as a way station toward a negotiated settlement of the conflict (Russia’s holy grail). The agreement represented a climb-down for the Obama administration, which had earlier insisted that Assad leave office as a prerequisite to a resolution, language that the joint Russian-American communique issuing from the Kerry-Lavrov meeting in Moscow conspicuously avoided. Lavrov, a South Asia expert and guitar-playing poet, speaks as though what happened in Yemen, with a negotiated solution and a government of national unity, is a plausible scenario for Syria. But so much blood has been spilled in the latter that a military victory by one side or the other now seems far more likely.
When sources in the Pentagon leaked the information that explosions in Damascus on May 5 were an Israeli airstrike, Putin appears to have been livid. He tracked down Netanyahu on the prime minister’s visit to Shanghai and harangued him on the phone. The two met last week in Moscow, where Putin is alleged to have read Netanyahu the riot act. Subsequently, the Likud government leaked to The New York Times that its aim in the airstrike had been only to prevent Syrian munitions from being transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon, not to help in overthrowing the Baath government. The Israelis were clearly attempting to avoid further provoking Moscow’s ire, and wanted to send a signal to Damascus that they would remain neutral on Syria but not on further arming of Hezbollah.
Putin, not visibly mollified by Netanyahu’s clarification, responded by announcing forcefully that he had sent to Syria Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles and was planning to dispatch sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft batteries. Both U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Israeli military analysts protested the Russian shipments. Although Netanyahu went on insisting that Israel would bomb Syria at will when it suspected supplies were being sent to Hezbollah, Putin had clearly just raised the risks of such intervention.
Russia’s motives have sometimes been attributed to the profits it realizes from its arms trade with Syria, going back to the Soviet era, but that business is actually quite small. Others have suggested that Syria’s leasing to Russia of a naval base at Tartous, Russia’s only toehold on the Mediterranean, is a consideration. Rather, Russia’s support of Assad is part of its reassertion on the world stage as a great power with areas under its control. Putin wants to raise Russia from the world’s ninth- to fifth-largest capitalist economy. Smarting from the aggressive American expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and the planting of U.S. bases in Central Asia, Moscow is determined to recover its former spheres of influence. In addition, some senior Russian military analysts see “color revolutions” as a ploy by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow unfriendly governments and then to plunder the resulting weak states of their resources, a tactic they fear menaces Russia itself. Drawing a line at Syria, in this view, is a way of underscoring that Putin’s own neo-authoritarian regime will not go quietly.
Russia is only a 24-hour drive from Aleppo, Syria’s northernmost metropolis. Having crushed a Muslim fundamentalist uprising in Chechnya and Dagestan at the turn of the century, and having stood up a friendly Chechen state government in the aftermath, Moscow is wary of the spread of radical Muslim movements in the nearby Levant. Moreover, some 10 to 14 percent of Syrians are Christians, many of them belonging to the Eastern Orthodox branch that predominates in Russia itself. The Russian Orthodox Church, a key constituency for Putin, has opposed the overthrow of the secular Baath government, seeing it as a protector of those coreligionists.
The thinking of the Russian foreign ministry is clear from its Saturday press release on the revival of the radical Sunni insurgency in Iraq in recent weeks. Complaining about what it termed terrorist attacks in Mosul and Baghdad, the ministry’s website said, according to a translation done for the U.S. government’s Open Source Center, that “We are particularly concerned about growing sectarian tensions in Iraq, which are turning into a direct armed confrontation between radical elements in the Shi’a and Sunni communities. This is largely due to the crisis situation in neighboring Syria and the spread of terrorist activities of militants operating there.” In other words, Russia sees the Syrian revolution as dominated by al-Qaida-linked groups such as the al-Nusra Front. Moscow views the civil war as a destabilizing event with the potential for radicalizing the Middle East, which it views as its soft underbelly.
The momentum of the Syrian rebels has palpably slowed in the last month, as Putin’s riposte has stiffened the resolve in Damascus and given its military the wherewithal to regain territory. The Russian president is weaving a protective web around his client, fending off the Wahhabi winds of Muslim fundamentalism blowing from the Arabian Peninsula. He has also pushed back against opportunistic Israeli intervention, worried that it might further destabilize Damascus. At the same time, he has impressed on Washington the need for a negotiated settlement, an idea that President Obama, long skittish about sending troops into further possible Middle East quagmires, has begun to tolerate. Putin’s supply of powerful new weapons systems to Assad’s military, and his dispatch of warships from the Russian Pacific fleet through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, make clear that the full force of Russian military might is, if need be, at the service of its Baath client. Putin’s gambit may or may not prove successful, but he is indisputably demonstrating that the age of the sole superpower and of American unilateralism is passing in favor of a multipolar world.
Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.
Source: Juan Cole | TruthDig
Report and Appeal to the International community to support a process of dialogue and reconciliation in Syria between its people and Syrian government and reject outside intervention and war.
BY Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace laureate. Spokesperson for Mussalaha International
Peace delegation to Lebanon/Syria l-llth May, 2013,
After a 10 days visit to Lebanon and Syria, leading a 16 person delegation from 8 countries, invited by Mussalaha Reconciliation Movement, I have returned hopeful that peace is possible in Syria, if all outside interference is stopped and the Syrians are allowed to solve their own problems upholding their right to self-determination.
An appeal to end all violence and for Syrians to be left alone from outside interference was made by all those we met during our visit to Syria. We have tried to forward it to the International community in our Concluding Declaration(l).
During our visit we went to refugee camps, affected communities, met religious leaders, combatants, government representatives, opposition delegations and many others, perpetrators and victims, in Lebanon and Syria.
1. Visits to refugee camps: In Lebanon we visited several refugee camps, hosted by Lebanese or Palestinian communities. One Woman said: “before this conflict started we were happy and had a good life (there is free education, free healthcare, subsidies for fuel, in Syria ,) and now we live in poverty”. Her daughter and son-in-law (a pharmacist and engineer) standing on a cement floor in a Palestinian refugee camp, with not even a mattress, told us that this violence had erupted to everyone surprise’s and spread so quickly they were all still in shock, but when well armed, foreign fighters came to Homs, they took over their homes, raped their women, and killed young males who refused to join their ranks, so the people fled in terror. They said that these foreign fighters were from many countries like Libyans, Saudis, Tunisians, Chechens, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Emiratis, Lebanese, Jordanians, Turkish, Europeans, Australian, and these gangs are financed and trained by foreign governments. They attach suicide vests around peoples’ bodies and threaten to explode them if they don’t do what they are told. One refugee woman asked me ‘when can we go home’? (To my great delighted a few days later in Damascus I met a woman working on a government programme which is helping refugees to return to Syria and over 200 have returned to date).
Religious and government leaders have called upon people not to flee Syria and it is to be hoped many will heed this call, as after seeing so many Syrian refugees living in tents and being exploited in so many ways, including sexually, I believe the best solution is the stability of Syria so its people feel safe enough to stay in Syria. If refugees continue to flee Syria then surrounding countries could be destabilized, causing the domino effect and destabilizing the entire Middle East.
Many people have fled into camps in surrounding countries like Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon, all of whom are trying to manage the huge influx of Syrian refugees. Although the host countries are doing their best to cope they are overwhelmed by refugee numbers. (UNHCR’s official figure of refugees is one million). Through our meetings we have been informed that Turkey invites Syrian refugees into the country and forbid them to go back home. It is documented that Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan are mistreated. Some young Syrian refugee girls are sold for forced marriage in Jordan. From OHCHR reports we know that more than 4 million Syrians are displaced inside their own country, living in great need.
A representative from Red Cross, told us that there is freedom to do their work throughout Syria for all NGO and the Syrian Red crescent in co-ordination with the Ministry of Social affairs and under such dire circumstances, they are doing their best, providing services to as many people as possible. However there is a great shortage of funds for them to cope with this humanitarian tragedy of refugees and internally displaced population. The economic sanctions, as in Iraq,are causing great hardship to many people and all those whom we met called for them to be lifted. Our delegation called for the lifting of these illegal US-led sanctions that target the Syrian Population for purely political reasons in order to achieve regime change.
2- Hospitals: We visited the hospitals and saw many people injured by shootings, bombings, and armed attacks. A moderate Sunni Imam told me how he was abducted by jihadists, who tortured him, cut off his ear, tried to cut his throat, slicing his legs, and left him for dead. He said when he goes back to his mosque they will slaughter him. He told us “these men are foreign fighters, jihadists from foreign countries, well armed, well trained, with money, they are in our country to destroy it. They are not true Muslims but are religious extremist/fundamentalists terrorizing, abducting, killing our people”. The government spokesman also confirmed that they have in detention captured foreign fighters from 29 countries, including Chechens, Iraqis, and many others. The Ministry of Health showed us a documentary on the terrible killings by Jihadists and the terror caused by these foreigners with the killing of medics and destruction of medical infrastructure of the Syrian State which has made it difficult to answer the needs of the population.
3- Meeting with Opposition: Our delegation participated in an open forum with many representatives of internal opposition’s parties. One political opponent who was in prison 24 years under the Assad regime, and has been out for 11 years, wants political change with more than 20 other internal opposition components, but without outside interference and the use of violence. We met with ‘armed’ opposition people in a local community who said they had accepted the governments offer of amnesty and were working for a peaceful way forward. One man told me he had accepted money from Jihadists to fight but had been shocked by their cruelty and the way they treated fellow Syrian muslims considering them as not real Muslims. He said foreign Jihadists wanted to take over Syria, not save it.
The 10th May a part of our delegation headed to Homs, invited by the opposition community of Al Waar city where displaced families from Baba Amro, Khalidiyeh and other rebel’s strongholds seek refuge. The Delegation saw all the conditions of this city and is studying a Pilot Project for Reconciliation and peaceful reintegration between this community and the surrounded non rebel communities (Shia and Alaouites) with whom 15 days ago an agreement of non belligerence has been signed through the auspices of Mussalaha.
4 – Meeting with Officials: Our Delegation met, and spoke, at the Parliament, and also with the Governor, Prime Minister and 7 other Ministries. We were given details of the new Constitution and political reforms being put in place, and plans for elections in 2014. Government Ministers admitted that they had made mistakes in being slow to respond to legitimate demands for change from civil community but these were now being implemented. They told us when the conflict started it was peaceful for change but quickly turned into bloodshed when armed men killed many soldiers.
In the first days soldiers were unarmed but when people started asking for protection the government and military responded to defend the people and in self defence.
When we enquired from the Prime Minister regarding the allegation that the Syrian Government had used Sarin gas, he told us that as soon as news came from Aleppo that allegedly gas had been used, his government invited immediately the UN to come into investigate, but heard nothing from them. Most recently however, a UN investigator, High Commissioner Carla Del Ponte, has confirmed that it was rebels, not Syrian government, who used Sarin gas. During meeting with Justice Minister, we requested that a list of 72 non-violent political dissidents currently detained be released. The justice Minister said after checking those listed were indeed non-violent political dissidents, he would, in principal, agree to the release of these nonviolent detainees. He also informed us they they do not implement the death penalty and it is hoped that when things settle in Syria they will move to have the death penalty abolished. We also asked the Justice Minister (an international lawyer) about Syrian Government’s Human rights abuses, namely the artillery shelling into no-go areas being held by jihadists and armed opposition. The Minister accepted those facts but alleged that the Government had a duty to clear these areas. We suggested there was a better way to deal with the problem than artillery shelling but he insisted that the government had responsibility to clear the areas of rebel forces and this was the way in which they were doing it
The Ministers and Governor said that President Assad was their President and has their support. There were many people we spoke to who expressed such sentiments. However, some young people said they support the opposition but in order to protect the Unity of Syria from outside destruction, they will support the government and President Assad, until the election next year and then they will vote for the opposition. They said the Doha Coalition in Qatar does not represent them and that no one outside Syria has a right to remove President Assad but the Syrian people through the elections next year. The journalists in Syria are in great danger from the religious extremist/fundamentals,and during my visit to a television station a young journalist told me how his mother was killed by jihadists and he showed me his arm where he had been shot and almost killed.
5- Meeting with religious leaders: We attended in the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus a prayer gathering led by the Grand Mufti of the Syrian Arab Republic, Dr. Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun and the Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham with the delegate of Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X Yazigi, and clerics of all traditions. The Assembly prayed for the peace and unity of Syria and the non-interference of outsiders in their country. They stressed the conflict in Syria is not a religious conflict, as Muslims and Christians have always lived together in Syria, and they are,(in spite of living with suffering and violence much of which is not of their own making), unified in their wish to be a light of peace and reconciliation to the world. The Patriarch said that from the Mosque and Christian churches goes out a great movement of peace and reconciliation and asked both those inside and outside Syria, to reject all violence and support the people of Syria in this work of dialogue, reconciliation and peacemaking.
The Muslim and Christian Spiritual Leaders are very conscious if the religious extremist/fundamentalists gain momentum and control Syria, the future of those who are not supportive of fundamentalists like moderate Muslims, Christians, minorities, and other Syrians is in great danger. Indeed the Middle East could loose its precious pluralistic social fabric with the Christians, like in Iraq, being the first to flee the country. This would be a tragedy for all concerned in this multi-religious, multi-cultural secular Syria, once a light of peaceful conviviality in the Arab world.
Following many authorized reports in the mainstream Medias and our own evidences I can stress that the Syrian State and its population are under a proxy war led by foreign countries and directly financed and backed mainly by Qatar who has imposed its views on the Arab League. Turkey, a part of the Lebanese opposition and some of the Jordan authorities offer a safe haven to a diversity of jihadist groups, each with its own agenda, recruited from many countries. Bands of jihadists armed and financed from foreign countries invade Syria through Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon porous frontiers in an effort to destabilize Syria. There are an estimated 50,000 foreign jihadist fighters terrorizing Syria. Those death squads are destroying systematically the Syrian State infrastructures (Electricity, Oil, Gas and water plants, High Tension Pylons, hospitals, schools, public buildings, cultural heritage sites and even religious sanctuaries). Moreover the country is submerged by snipers, bombers, agitators, bandits. They use aggression and Sharia rules and hijack the freedom and dignity of the Syrian population. They torture and kill those who refuse to join them. They have strange religious beliefs which make them feel comfortable even perpetrating the cruelest acts like killing and torture of their opponents. It is well documented that many of those terrorists are permanently under stimulant like Captagon. The general lack of security unlashes the terrible phenomenon of abduction for ransoms or for political pressure. Thousands of innocents are missing, among them the two Bishops, Youhanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, many priests and Imams.
UN and EU economic sanctions as well as a severe embargo are pushing Syria to the edge of social collapse. Unfortunately the international media network is ignoring those realities and is bent on demonizing, lying, destabilizing the country and fuelling more violence and contradiction.
In summary: the war in Syria is not as depicted a civil war but a proxy war with serious breaches of International laws and the Humanitarian International laws.. The protection of the foreign fighters by some foreign countries among the most powerful gives them a kind of an unaccountability that pushes them with impunity to all kind of cruel deeds against innocent civilians. Even war conventions are not respected incurring in many war crimes and, even, crimes against Humanity.
During our visit to Syria, our delegation was met with great kindness by everyone and I offer to each one who facilitated or hosted our Delegation my most sincere feelings of gratitude. We witnessed that the Syrian people have suffered very deeply and continue to do so. The entire population of 23 million people are under tremendous threat of continued infiltration by foreign terrorists. Many are still stunned by the horrors and suddenness of all this violence and worried their country will be attacked and divided by outside forces, and are all too aware that geopolitical forces are at work to destabilize Syria for political control, oil and resources. One Druze leader said ‘if westerns want our Oil – both Lebanon and Syria have oil reserves – let us negotiate for it, but do not destroy our country to take it’. In Syria memories of next door Iraq’s destruction by US/UK/NATO forces are fresh in people’s minds, including in the minds of the one and a half million Iraqis who fled Iraqi’s conflict, including many Christians, and were given refuge in Syria by the Syrian Government.
The greatest hope we took was from Mussalaha, a non political movement from all sections of Syrian society, who have working teams throughout Syria and is proceeding through dialogue to building peace and reconciliation. Mussalaha mediates between armed gunmen and security forces, help get release of many people who have been abducted, and bring together all parties to the conflict for dialogue and practical solutions. It was this movement who hosted us, under the leadership of Mother Agnes-Mariam, Superior of Saint James’ Monastery, supported by the Patriarch Gregory III Laham, head of the Catholic Hierarchy of Syria.
This great civil community movement building a peace process and National Reconciliation from the ground up, will, if given space, time, and non-interference from outside, help bring Peace to Syria. They recognize that there must be an unconditional, all inclusive political solution, with compromises and they are confident this is happening at many levels of society and is the only way forward for Syrian peace.
I support this National Reconciliation process which, many Syrian believe, is the only way to bring Peace to SYRIA and the entire Middle East. I am myself committed to this peaceful process and hope that the International Community, the Religious and Political Leaders as well as any person of good will will help Syria to bypass violence and prejudice and anchor in a new era of Social peace and prosperity. This cradle of civilizations where Syria occupies the heart is an enormous spiritual heritage for humanity, let us strive to establish a non war zone and proclaim it an OASIS of Peace for the Human Family.
Nobel peace laureate. www.peacepeople.com
Peace people, 224 Lisburn Road, Belfast. Bt9.
Refugee Camps As War Zones…
Homs Palestinian Refugee Camp, Syria…
Historically, Palestinian refugees, wherever they have sought temporary sanctuary following the ethic cleansing of their country by the 19th Century Zionist colonial enterprise, and pending their Return to Palestine, have insisted on avoiding local and international conflicts while seeking a modicum of interim civil rights from the host countries.
This was true at the beginning of the Lebanese Civil war, in Jordan during the run up to Black September,
the 1991 Kuwait crisis as well as the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and obtains especially today in the current crisis in Syria. For a number of reasons including poor tactical decisions by their leadership they have not always succeeded, and consequently they have paid s steep price in lives, jobs, housing and expulsions from host countries.
In Syria, the largest Palestinian refugee camp, Yarmouk (approximately 125,000 residents), and the second largest of the 14 camps, Khan al-Sheeh (approximately 45,000 before the crisis which has swelled its population by 26,000 mainly from Yarmouk camp) have become virtual war zones with large sections of the camps being overrun by gunmen fighting in support of the “Free Syrian ‘Army.” All but two of the camps in Syria have been infiltrated by opposition forces and consequently have been targeted by government forces seeking to destroy the rebels. At times the camp residents have resisted both sides by demanding that the camps strict neutrality be respected. Engaging initially in peaceful protects when outsiders invaded, some protests turned violent when their demands for camp neutrality were rejected.
Khan al-Sheeh, whose residents are from tribes and clans in northern Palestine, and who lost 22 camp residents to Zionist occupier gunfire during the May 2011 Nakba Day events on the Golan Heights, will be a formidable foe if they take up arms which they have not done for the past 33 years. In January 2013, the Syria conflict entered into the camp when opposition forces – a combination of Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al-Nusra Front fighters arrived and insisted on recruits, offering $ 200 per month cash, free cigarettes, a uniform plus boots and an AK-47.
For the past five months, again like Yarmouk, Khan al-Sheeh and the other camps in Syria has been caught in the crossfire as opposition fighters try to advance toward the capital, while regime forces used cannons and rocket fire to block their advance, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries. This week, so far in vain, the camp popular committees yet again appealed to both sides to accept a ceasefire within any Palestinian camp in Syria and Lebanon, the latter currently experiencing increased challenges for this country’s 12 camps to stay out of the conflict.
Pressuring Lebanon’s camps to join Syria’s civil war
Lebanon’s widely respected independent leftist daily, As-Safir, has reported that veteran security and intelligence officers of the Lebanese security services are claiming to have information, but not precise details regarding number and location, of “organized Takfiri (Sunni) networks” in Lebanon. The head of one security service told As-Safir that “the monitoring of the terrorist networks cannot be very detailed since they are solely located in the Palestinian camps, mainly in Ain el Helweh.”
This statement, like others these days in the Lebanese sectarian media, appears intended to incite the public against the refugees forcing them to join the fighting. Another officer closely working on the Lebanese government “terrorism file” claims, again without offering any probative or material evidence, that the “only serious faction in Lebanon right now consists of the Ziad al-Jarrah Units that are affiliated with the Abdullah Azzam battalions” . Both have some Palestinian gunmen. Abdullah Azzam is the most experienced group and it is present in Ain el Helweh…” The officer indicated that he agrees with the general theory that has it that as long as the military situation in Syria remains unsettled, the Lebanese Palestinian camps are open to all possibilities, including Palestinian armed involvement.
Other calls are being heard from Beirut, Saida, Tyre and up north in Tripoli, for Palestinians to comply with the fatwas being issued for all Sunni to fight the Bashar Assad regime and to build a “Sunni army” patterned after the civil war era PLO forces. There is virtually not known significant sentiment favoring this dangerous call. However, in all of the above noted areas, some Palestinians, mainly unemployed youngsters have been lured by offers of cash to take part in training, much like occurred before the 26 month old Syria conflict.
Some salafist-jihadist types in Lebanon, especially near Tripoli’s Bedawi, and Nahr al Bared camps, as well as Ein el Helwe down south in Saida, are pushing among Palestinian youth the argument that if Palestinians join the war in Syria they will have the power to take their internationally guaranteed civil rights that all refugees on earth receive except Palestinians in Lebanon. Part of the argument being pitched is that they are not going to get even elementary civil rights here in Lebanon from Israelis, the UN or the international community, and certainly not from the EU or the Americans. Palestinians in Lebanon’s camps are being lectured that they will get civil rights here only when they take them which is their right and their jihadist religious duty..
These arguments will fail, with few exceptions, among the quarter million Palestinian refugees actually still in Lebanon, as they have in the past. But the Palestinians decent here in Lebanon into deepening sectarian and religious divisions is worrisome. Scholars and political analysts and even elements the National Lebanese Resistance are counseling that an effective, moral, religious, and political measure that could bring Sunni and Shia together in Lebanon while thwarting the schemes being hatched to get the Palestinians involved in the Syrian crisis would be as follows:
For the Lebanese Parliament to use 90 minutes of its ample amount of free time, in as much as the Parliamentary elections will not take place next month as scheduled and the current Resistance government will remain in power both in Parliament and effectively at the Grand Serail.
By using 20 minutes of the proposed 90, recommended by the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign here, Lebanon’s Parliament can in one fell swoop reach out to the Sunni community and the Christian community (about 90% of Palestinians in Lebanon are Sunni and approximately 10 % Christian) by quickly repealing, employing a quick and tidy yea-nay vote, the 2001 racist law that forbids home ownership for Palestinian refugees here. This law outlawing the home ownership civil right for Palestinians only, as expressed to this observer by the two initial sponsors still in Parliament, was only ever meant as a 2001 election year gimmick to garner anti-Palestinian votes and not ever intended to be implemented.
History teaches us that the 2001 law was in fact part of the vast and continuing anti-Palestinian “pay-back” for the PLO’s seven year involvement in the fifteen-year Lebanese Civil (1975-1990) war until its leadership, in what many in the camps here objected to and continue to view as a cataclysmic error, ignominiously withdrew from Lebanon in the late summer of 1982) under Zionist and Reagan administration pressure and false promises of an immediate Palestinian homeland.
With the remaining 70 minutes, the Resistance dominated Parliament could reach out to the Sunni and Christian communities as noted above, and grant Palestinian refugees in Lebanon the same right to work that every refugee everywhere has, including those under the apartheid state of occupied Palestine. The same right, as everyone has when their passport is stamped at any Lebanese immigration or border post.
This single act by Lebanon’s Parliament, would help repair Shia-Sunni relations globally and would damp down and expose for what they are, the extremist Salafist, Jihadist, Wahhabist incitements to religious hatred— intra-Muslim and Christian. It would also keep Palestinians out of the Syrian conflict according to several Palestinian NGO’s here in Lebanon.
Allowing Palestinians in Lebanon the internationally guaranteed right to work, would also, according to studies by the UN International Labor Organization and other academic studies, substantially build up Lebanon’s fragile economy by creating more than twice the number of jobs that Palestinians could work at, including the currently banned 32 professions.
It’s not hard to find critics of the Assad government in the Governorate (Muhafazat) of Homs or for that matter, to varying degrees in Syria’s other thirteen Governorates according to Syrian analysts interviewed by this observer and reports from human rights groups including lawyers representing dissidents in Syria. However, after nearly 27 months of turmoil, the public opinion pendulum is markedly shifting back in support of the current regime.
One international political result was registered at the United Nations this past week when a US-Qatari-Saudi drafted General Assembly Resolution that was designed to increase pressure on the Assad government stumbled badly and fell far short of what the Saudi Ambassador to the UN and other US allies predicted would be an overwhelming vote in favor.
Effect of shift in popular opinion in Syria
Over the past four or five months it has become increasingly clear that public opinion in Syria is shifting for reasons that include, but are not limited to the following:
While inflation at the grocery stores in probably the most common complaint heard from a cross-section of society here, the population is adapting somewhat to higher prices and it appears to credit the government for efforts, some successful, to soften the impact of the illegal US-led sanctions that target this same Syrian population for purely political reasons to achieve regime change.
While Syrians demand dignity and freedom from oppressive security forces and an end to corruption, as all people do in this region and beyond, they are witnessing a return to near normalcy with respect to supplies of electricity, benzene, mazout fuel oil, bus schedules, schools, and a host of public services such as garbage collection, street sweeping, park maintenance, and sympathetic traffic cops who are rather understanding of short-cuts taken by drivers and pedestrians due to “the situation”.
In addition, public service announcement and even text messages demonstrate that the government is aware of the degree of suffering among the population, accept partial blame, and are focusing on remedial measure and crucially, ending the crisis with its horrific bloodshed. One observes here a definite trend of the pulling together of a high percentage of Syrians who share a very unique history and culture and who are deeply connected to their country and who are increasingly repelled by the continuing killing from all sides including the recent barbarisms of body mutilations and summary executions videotaped and broadcast on utube by jihadist elements. The latter who these days come from nearly three dozen countries, paid for and indoctrinated by enemies of Syria’s Arab nationalism and deep rooted pillar of resistance to the occupation of Palestine.
In addition, many among Syria’s 23 million citizens, who initially supported the uprising following government reaction to event in Deraa in March 2011, now have serious second thoughts about who exactly would replace the current government. Events in Syria are also making plain that the army is still loyal to the Assad government, and according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, is actually gaining experience and strength as well as the well-known fact that as western diplomats are admitting, the “opposition militias” are hopelessly fractured, turning one another, many essential mafia outfits, and beginning to resemble their fellow jihadists from Libya, Chechnya and in between.
Opinion in Damascus and surrounding areas visited this past week, confirms this observers experience the past five months of a sharp and fairly rapid shift in opinion that now strongly favors letting the Syrian people themselves decide, without outside interference, whether the Assad regime will stay, and indeed, whether, the Baathist party will continue to represent majority opinion, not through wanton violence but rather via next June’s election. Many express confidence in the run up to this critical vote, noting that the election will be closely monitored by the international community to assure fairness.
Perhaps aided by the current glorious May weather, a certain optimism, that was more scarce in the past, pervades many neighborhoods.
For different reasons, foreign powers, including the USA, Turkey, European Union, the UK Jordan and even the majority population of the six Gulf Cooperation Council family run countries, according to Pew Research, are shifting their earlier positions which were based in part of the US administration, NATO, and Israeli assurances that the Assad government would surely fall quickly, “A matter of days, not weeks” US President Obama promised. That was two years ago.
As noted above, this trend has accelerated since the UN General Assembly vote with last weeks which did not go as planned on the biased and politicized non-binding draft resolution on Syria.
The public reaction in Syria and across the Middle East is substantially that the “Friends of Syria” non-binding GA resolution contradicts the reality on the ground, backs terrorism in Syria and hinders the international efforts to help achieve a political solution to the crisis in this country. Only 107 states voted in favor of the resolution, 12 against while 59 countries, mostly from Africa and Latin America, abstained from voting.
One reason the vote fell short of the 130 favorable votes that the basically same resolution garnered the past two times is that it is widely viewed as ignoring the crimes and atrocities committed by the armed jihadist groups in Syria and the flow of thousands of international terrorists backed by the West, the Gulf states and Turkey who provide them with weapons and money. According to the Russian delegate, backed by several other speakers, “the resolutions ignores all the terrorists’ heinous crimes and denounces what it called the escalation of the attacks by the Syrian government”. Afterward one Latin American Permanent Representative told Inner City Press that the count would have been below 100 if not for some “last minute arm-twisting.” As it turned out, 15 countries didn’t vote at all, opting to “get coffee,” as one African Permanent Representative put it before the vote.
Syria’s Ambassador al-Jaafari exposes a hoax in the Gulf
Syria’s permanent Envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said his country regretted the adoption of a biased and unbalanced UN resolution, thanking the countries that rejected the resolution “for their responsible positions which support the UN principles and the international law articles”. He noted that the decrease in the number of countries that voted in favor and the increase of numbers of those who abstained from voting indicates the growing international understanding of the reality of what is happening in Syria due to the foreign interference, support of terrorism, the spread of extremism and incitement besides the refusal of dialogue.
“We rely on the UN and its member states to support Syria and its people against the culture of extremism and terrorism, and to encourage the comprehensive national dialogue to peacefully resolve the Syrian crisis.” he said. In a statement released after the vote on the UN draft resolution on Syria, al-Jaafari He said that the French delegation had foiled the issuance of a number of UN press releases to condemn the terrorist acts committed by al-Qaeda-linked armed groups in Syria which claimed the lives of thousands of Syrians as it foiled a UN release to condemn the attempt of assassination of the Syrian Premier.
After Qatar’s ambassador spoke in favor of the resolution his country drafted (and re-drafted several time), Ja’afari revealed that there existed an e-mail, from the representative of the Syrian opposition given to Syria’s embassy in Qatar, showing Qatar’s involvement in the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade. He read out a phone number from the e-mail as several Gulf diplomats grimaced or scowled, and three left the Chamber.
Visibly stunned, the UK Permanent Representative Lyall Grant called the whole matter “deeply confusing”. Another Permanent Representative, from a militia contributing country, said that if true, it’s “very problematic.” The reasons include the fact that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had just thanked Qatar for its roles in the release of the UN Peacekeepers the earlier kidnapping of whom the Qatari government may have planned, paid for and executed.
Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky said he would not disclose any more about the “negotiations to free the peacekeepers or who was behind the crime.”
Score a major diplomatic victory for Syria’s UN Ambassador as public opinion shifts in favor of the Assad government and pressure as well as certain optimism builds in the run-up to the Geneva II conference being organized by the White House and the Kremlin.
The tempo of events in Syria has accelerated in recent weeks. The government forces have scored significant battlefield victories over the rebels, and this has provoked a mixture of war provocations and peace offers from the U.S. and its anti-Assad allies.
With Obama’s blessing Israel fighter jets recently attacked Syria on three occasions; in one massive air strike on a military installation in Damascus 42 Syrian soldiers were killed. Shortly thereafter Obama finally agreed to a peace conference with Russia, which had been asking for such talks for months.
Obama is entering these talks from a weakened position; the Syrian government is winning the war against the U.S.-backed rebels, and success on the ground is the trump card of any peace talks. Obama and the rebels are in no position to be demanding anything in Syria at the moment.
It’s possible that Obama wants to avoid further humiliation in his Syria meddling by a last minute face-saving “peace” deal. It’s equally likely, however, that these peace talks are a clever diplomatic ruse, with war being the real intention. It’s not uncommon for peace talks to break down and be used as a justification for an intensification of war, since “peace was attempted but failed.”
And Obama has plenty of reasons to pursue more war: he would look incredibly weak and foolish if Syria’s president were to stay in power after Obama’s administration had already announced that Assad’s regime was over and hand picked an alternative government of Syrian exiles that the U.S. — and other U.S. allies — were treating as the “legitimate government of Syria.”
Here’s how the BBC referred to Obama’s Syrian puppet government:
“… the Syrian opposition’s political leadership – which wanders around international capitals attending conferences and making grand speeches – is not leading anyone. It barely has control of the delegates in the room with it, let alone the fighters in the field.”
If an unlikely peace deal is reached, these Syrian exiles — who only a tiny minority of the rebel fighters actually listen to — will be the ones to sign off on the deal.
Many politicians in the U.S. are still clamoring for war in Syria, based on the unproven accusation that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the rebels. In actuality, however, the UN so far has only indicated that the exact opposite is true: there is significant evidence the U.S.-backed rebels used chemical weapons against the Syrian government.
Of course this fact only made the back pages of the U.S.media, if it appeared at all. Similarly bad news about the U.S.-backed rebels committing large scale ethnic/religious cleansing and numerous human rights violations didn’t manage to make it on to the front pages either. And the numerous terrorist bombings by the U.S.-backed rebels that have indiscriminately killed civilians have likewise been largely ignored by U.S. politicians and the media.
The U.S. position is weakened further by the fact that the majority of the rebel fighters are Islamic extremists, who are fighting for jihad and sharia law, not democracy. The Guardian reported recently:
“Syria’s main armed opposition group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), is losing fighters and capabilities to Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist organization with links to al-Qaida that is emerging as the best-equipped, financed and motivated force fighting Bashar al-Assad’s [Syrian] regime.”
The New York Times adds:
“Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”
But even with all these barriers to the U.S. dictating its terms to the Syrian government, Obama has trump cards of his own: the U.S. and the Israeli military.
It’s possible that the Israeli airstrikes on Syria were used as a bargaining chip with the proposed peace conference in Russia. If Obama threatened to bomb Syria into the Stone Age there is plenty of evidence —Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya — to back up this threat.Following through with this kind of threat is actually considered intelligent foreign policy to many politicians in the U.S., since a country not aligned with the U.S. will have been weakened and fragmented as an opposing force, lowering the final barrier to war with Iran.
U.S. foreign policy is now completely dependent on using the threat of annihilation. As U.S. economic power has declined in relation to China and other countries, the economic carrot has been tossed aside in favor of the military stick. Plenty of U.S. foreign policy “experts” are demanding that Obama unsheathe the stick again, lest this foundation of U.S. foreign policy be proven to be just talk and no action.
This is the essence of U.S. involvement in Syria, which is risking regional war that could include Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with the potential to drag in the bigger powers connected to these nations, the U.S. and Europe on one hand and Russia and China on the other.The fate of the already-suffering Middle East is hanging in the balance.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine, Professor Richard Falk, came to Lebanon last week on an unofficial visit to survey opinion while fact finding the condition in Palestinian refugee’s camps.
It was the Professors first visit to Lebanon since the fateful summer of 1982. Back then, en route by sea to Beirut, which was under Israeli siege and blockade, Falk was Vice-Chair of the Sean McBride Commission of Inquiry into Israeli crimes against Lebanon. Mid –way between Cyprus and Lebanon, the Zionist navy, in a blatant act of piracy on the high seas, intercepted, circled and demanded the passenger list from the vessel.
Eventually, under reported American pressure via US Envoy Morris Draper’s telephoned profanity to Tel Aviv, the pirates allowed Falk’s delegation to disembark at the port of Jounieh, just north of Beirut. Draper, who like so many US diplomats, claims he finally “saw the light after retiring”, told this observer that “I never swore so much in my life as I did at those SOBS during that summer of 1982 and after I learned the details of Ariel Sharon’s choreography of the Sabra-Shatila massacre!” Ambassador Draper added, “The world will never know the extent of Israeli crimes committed against Lebanon and its refugees until Washington threatens to cut off all aid until Tel Aviv opens up its archives on this period.”
Professor Falk, as he mentioned during several events here, including a first-rate conference on the status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and their struggle for the most elementary civil rights to work and to own a home, organized by the Institute of Palestine Studies, came to Lebanon not to offer counsel to Lebanon’s sects or even to the Palestinians. (The IPS, (http://www.palestine-studies.org) founded in 1969, is considered by this observer and many others, as the most reliable and authoritative source of information on Palestinian affairs and the Arab-Israel conflict.)
Falk came to listen and to learn. He did both. He listened intently to each speaker, scribing hurried notes regarding the current conditions of Palestinian refugee, including education and health status, in Lebanon’s 12 camps and two dozen “gatherings,” reports that were presented by several academics and NGO’s based here.
Falk and others in attendance at the briefings found the findings sobering and alarming. They included but are not limited to, the following.
There are currently 42,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria who have been forced into Lebanon as a result of the crisis in Syria. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – UNRWA -reported to the IPS workshop, that they expect 80,000 Palestinians by the end of the year. Others estimate the December 2013 number will exceed 100,000. According to figures, forwarded to Professor Falk by the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, supplied by refugee camp committees, approximately 6,000 Palestinians who fled Syria remain in Lebanon’s Bekaa |Valley, close to the Syrian borders, in two main gatherings, al-Jalil (4,216 refugees) and central Bekaa (2,352). In the North, Baddawi camp hosts 4,116 and Nahr al Bared 2,016. In Beirut, Burj al-Barajneh camp hosts 2,928 additional refugees from Syria, Shatila and the surrounding areas 2,800, and Mar Elias 862. In the South, 8,549 refugees arrived to Ain al-Hilweh and 2,400 are dispersed around Saida. Mieh Mieh camp hosts 1,512, with an additional 2,160 in Wadi al-Zaineh. Further south to Tyre, Palestinian refugees from Syria are distributed among Shabriha (184), Rashidieh (1,370), Al Bass (478), Burj al-Shemali (2,800), Qasimiyeh (372), and Jal al-Bahr (128).
Falk knew, before gracing Lebanon with his visit, that UNWRA is basically out of money and cannot continue to meet its mandate for aiding Lebanon’s Palestinians even less those arriving from Syria at the rate of more than two dozen families per day. On 5/5/13, the popular committee representative at Jalil Camp near Baalbec reported that they receive on average 8 additional families per day, with dozens now living in the Jalil camp cemetery.
Palestinian children in Lebanon, Falk was advised, unfortunately provide textbook examples of the fact of life that it is difficult to concentrate on school when ones stomach is growling with hunger. And it’s even harder to stay in school when there’s even a remote chance to work odd jobs and earn money for food – something education doesn’t immediately offer. One new local initiative is the Meals for Schools, whose organizers hope serve food to impoverished schoolchildren in Lebanese slum areas. One idea is to give coupons for meals to schools. Unfortunately the scope will not include Palestinian children “at this time due to limited funding”, according to one AUB student hoping to help children stay in school by helping them to have breakfasts.
Palestinian refugee children have limited access to the public educational system in Lebanon. Only 11 per cent these “foreign” children can access free public education in Lebanon while most refugees can’t afford the high tuition fees of private schools. Palestinian refugees who attend one of the 58 UNRWA begin at age seven since UNWRA cannot afford pre-school level education. Consequently, for Palestinians here, while the elementary sector comprises more than 60% of students, the number drops to 28% in intermediate and only 10% at the secondary level. While the attendance rate for 7 year olds is 98.6%, by the time they reach age 11 attendance falls to 93.4%. But from this level, the primary level school completion rate cascades to only 37%, due to astronomical dropout rates. The above figures reveal that Palestinian education levels have been indeed progressively dropping in recent years. This is further supported by the passing rate in the Brevet Official exams (official diploma qualifying entry into secondary) which was in some schools as low as 13.6% in some schools according to the UNRWA results of Brevet exams, despite the average passing rate in UNRWA schools being 43% for the 2009-10 academic year.
Professor Falk was briefed on myriad realities including the fact that Palestinians camps in Lebanon remain sites of control and surveillance by the Lebanese Army. People’s mobility and access to construction materials have been restricted by the army check points at the entrance of camps. Palestinian refugees are forbidden by law – since 2001 – to own or inherit real estate in Lebanon; consequently when a Palestinian dies, even if she or he inherited property between 1948-2001, before a wave of revenge led to the 2001 racist law, the property goes to Sunni Muslim Dar al-Fatwa one of the richest real estate holding entities in Lebanon. Accused of deep corruption by some, their leadership has a history of opposing full civil rights for Palestinian refugees here remain opposed to home ownership.
The UN’s humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, reported this week that seven million people need humanitarian assistance in Syria. “The needs are growing rapidly and are most severe in the conflict and opposition-controlled areas” of the civil-war ravaged country, the global body’s humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told the U.N. Security Council. Amos cited data showing there are 6.8 million people in need — out of a total population of 20.8 million — along with 4.25 million people internally displaced and an additional 1.3 million who have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
Falk was briefed on most recent household surveys of Palestinian refugees carried out by the American University of Beirut which show that two thirds of Palestine refugees are poor. The extreme poverty rate in camps (7.9%) is almost twice of that observed in gatherings (4.2%). The study also developed a Deprivation Index based on components of welfare which included components such as good health, food security, and adequate education, access to stable employment, decent housing, and ownership of essential household assets. The Deprivation Index showed that 40% of Palestine Refugees living in Lebanon are deprived. The study reported that 56% of refugees are jobless and only 37% of the working age population is employed (Hanafi et al. 2012). It is unsurprising that the poor socio-economic situation often encourages students to leave school to get a paid job.
Despite the importance of education fewer Palestinian refugee students are actually interested in continuing their higher education. Lack of motivation to learn, is believed to be one of the main reasons for the high dropout rates. Palestinian refugees’ access to Lebanon’s public university is limited by their status as foreigners, and their access to private universities is restricted by a lack of resources to pay tuition fees (Hroub, 2012).
The old cliché that stated that “The Palestinians are the most educated Arab nation”, is just a myth today. This educational hemorrhage among young Palestinians has been attributed to a number of factors such as the deteriorating socio-economic conditions amongst Palestinian refugees and the growing disillusionment with schooling and the benefits it brings. Palestinian students also suffer from an education acculturation as they are forced to learn only the Lebanese curriculum without being able to access the country’s system. The following section examines these three main challenges.
Statistics indicate that just under half of the classrooms in public schools have less than 15 students per class while 20 % are overcrowded with 26 to 35 students per class. However, in UNRWA schools, the average number of students per classroom is 30 making them the most crowded classrooms in Lebanon.
With respect to the UN refugee agency, (UNHCR) the current situation in both Syria and among the more than 450,000 Syrian in Lebanon is only marginally better than the conditions of arriving Palestinians. As Maeve Murphy, UNHCR’s Senior Field Coordinator in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, explained to this observer and others during a visit on 5/5/13, near the Nicolas Khoury Center in Zahle, Lebanon, amidst sea of hundreds of Syrians, some waiting for three months or longer just to get registered, the UN refugee agency is also unable to meet its mandate for the same reason as UNRWA and the World Food Program and others. Ms. Murphy reported that over 453,000 Syrians have either registered with the U.N. agency or are waiting to register. An additional several hundred thousand people are thought to be refugees but haven’t approached the U.N.
Complicating the desperate situation of Palestinian and Syrian refugees seeking sanctuary in Lebanon is the fact that millions of Syrian refugees face food rationing and cutbacks to critical medical programs because oil-rich Gulf states have failed to deliver the funding they promised for emergency humanitarian aid, an investigation by James Cusick for The Independent on Sunday has found. Pledges for $ 650 minion in donations from various sources including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, made during the January 2013, Kuwait UN emergency conference, have yet to materialize.
The World Food Program (WFP), the food aid arm of the UN, says it is spending $19m a week to feed 2.5 million refugees inside Syria and a further 1.5 million who have fled to official camps in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. By July, the WFP says, there is no guarantee that its work on the Syrian crisis can continue. A spokesman told the UK Independent, “We are already in a hand-to-mouth situation. Beyond mid-June – who knows?”
The emergency conference in Kuwait – hosted by the Emir of Kuwait and chaired by Mr Ban Ki Moon – promised to bring a “message of hope” to the four million Syrian refugees. Mr Ban proclaimed the outcome a shining example of “global solidarity in action”. The reality has been markedly different. Oxfam recently issued an appeal: “The League of Arab States must urge all Arab countries that have pledged to the Syrian crisis, to be transparent and to share information about their commitments, and mechanisms for fulfilling their pledges.”
Mousab Kerwat, Islamic Relief’s Middle East institutional funding manager, said: “It’s better for countries to stay away from donor conferences than to attend and make pledges they don’t intent to keep. As a minimum, they should communicate where their pledges have gone in a transparent process.
If Professor Falk was weary as he left Lebanon from all the data, visits, and wrenching experiences he was presented with, it would be understandable. But the humanitarian and scholar he showed no signs of fatigue but rather appeared to be energized by the experience. Given his history as a supporter of resistance to occupation and oppression, Richard Falk’s assurances that he will continue his work armed with the above sampling of data offers new hope for Palestinian and Syrian refugees from Syria and to those who support their Right and Responsibility to Return to Palestine.
It remains to be seen who will be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016. After this week’s congressional hearings on Benghazi it is certain that Hillary Clinton—the worst Secretary of State in American history—will not be that person. If this country’s political system has some spark left, the Libyan scandal will also come to define the Obama presidency.
The Department of State and the White House did their utmost to conceal the true nature of the attack last September 11, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. It was a brazen act of Islamic terrorism, carried out by hard-core jihadists, of course, but the Administration was understandably loath to admit that its former Libyan protégés were the culprits. The result was an elaborate, conspiratorial subterfuge. It entailed penalizing a senior career diplomat—Gregory Hicks, the Deputy Mission Chief in Tripoli—who refused to go along with the Administration’s patently absurd claim that the attack was the result of a spontaneous demonstration sparked off by an “anti-Islamic” video posted on YouTube.
Last Wednesday, Hicks testified before the House Oversight Committee that he called an acting assistant secretary to dispute Susan Rice’s claim—made on Sunday news shows five days after the attack—that the outrage was caused by the clip. He said he was “stunned” by the claim, because he knew that the video was actually a “nonevent” in Libya. “My jaw dropped,” he said. “I was embarrassed.” Hicks was immediately rebuked for his misgivings, and told in no uncertain terms to drop that line of questioning. He got a call from Beth Jones, an acting assistant secretary to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to stop doubting Washington’s stance that the attack was spurred by a protest: “The sense I got is that I needed to stop my line of questioning.” All efforts to get military help to the consulate were rebuffed, according to Hicks, and special forces in Tripoli wanting to help were “furious.”
Hicks further said that, within weeks, his performance was criticized by superiors: he received a “blistering critique” of his management style. This was a classic case of punishing the potential whistle-blower, not for speaking out—Hicks had remained silent until the hearing—but for doing his job. Hicks also revealed that Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff, told him that he could not speak to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)—who went to Libya on a fact-finding mission—unless a State Department attorney was in attendance. Hicks called the attorney “the minder,” send to monitor what was being said.
The end result was a demotion of Hicks. As Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) noted, his testimony provided proof conclusive that Hillary Clinton was personally involved in trying to suppress information about the true nature of the attack.
Mark Thompson, under-secretary at the Department of State’s counterterrorism bureau, provided evidence that supported Hick’s account—and then some more. He testified that the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), was not allowed to respond to the attack. Thompson noted that FEST was specifically created to respond to just such attacks. This tallies with Hicks. “Is anything coming?” he asked a defense attaché at the embassy in Tripoli as he worked to coordinate a response during the attack. “Will they be sending us any help? Is there something out there?” There was nothing, by the will of Washington.
Following Hick’s testimony House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) asked the White House and State Department to release all emails related to the attack which House committees were able to see, but not keep or share, during their investigation: “Last I remember, the President said, and I’ll quote, ‘Would be happy to cooperate with the Congress in any way the Congress wants.’ Well, this is his chance to show his cooperation so that we can get to the truth of what happened in Benghazi.” Boehner is asking for two sets of emails which show that the White House tried to change the initial characterization of the attack in Benghazi from a potential terrorist attack by Islamic terrorists to a spontaneous demonstration in reaction to the amateur film: “The truth shouldn’t be hidden from the American people behind a White House firewall.”
The first set of emails, sent one day after the attack, provide evidence that a senior State Department official told her superiors that in his final message Stevens said the attack “was conducted by Islamic terrorists.” This was four days before Susan Rice said went on Meet the Press and other Sunday news shows to claim that the attack was the result of a spontaneous demonstration. The second set of emails concerns frantic exchanges between the White House and State Department officials, where the former “insisted on removing all references to the terrorist attack to protect the State Department for providing inadequate security.”
According to Boehner, “somebody clearly decided they didn’t like the references to Islamic terrorism and made changes in this document.”
Contrary to administration claims that the mistaken description of the nature of the attack reflected “the best intelligence at the time,” we now know that the talking points that led to Susan Rice’s statement were revised 12 times. Early drafts contained references to Al Qaeda but they were later deleted. Especially damning is the fact that State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland pressed the CIA to delete references to the agency’s earlier warnings. As ABC News reported on Friday, the original paragraph read:
The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April [2012[, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador's convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.
Nuland wrote that the lines “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned …” The offending paragraph was duly deleted. It is now also known that then-CIA Director David Petraeus voiced surprise when he learned three days after the attack that officials had deleted all prior references to Al Qaeda and jihadists, leaving only the word “extremists.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney nevertheless maintains that “what we said and what remains true to this day is that the intelligence community drafted and redrafted these points.” He stood by claim that White House involvement was minimal: “the only edits made by anyone here at the White House were stylistic and non-substantive. They corrected the description of the building or the facility in Benghazi from consulate todiplomatic facility and the like.” On the same day State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell asserted that Rice’s comments were based on the intelligence community’s “best assessment that there was not any evidence of months-long pre-planning or pre-meditation, which remains their assessment.”
This is no mere spinmaster’s misrepresentation, it is a lie. On the basis of numerous off-the-record conversations with those in the know, I can aver that it never was the intelligence community’s true assessment, and it is not its assessment now.
The truth of the matter is that Obama and his team remain hell-bent on constructing user-friendly jihadists, and they will not allow the reality to get in the way of their construct. Egypt, the pivotal Arab nation, has already paid the price, as well as Libya and Tunisia. Syria may be next. Boston was but a minor sideshow, in terms of blood but not in terms of impact, in the unfolding tragedy. We have the most jihad-friendly administration the non-Muslim world has ever known.
What is it that makes young men, reasonably well educated, in good health and nice looking, with long lives ahead of them, use powerful explosives to murder complete strangers because of political beliefs?
I’m speaking about American military personnel of course, on the ground, in the air, or directing drones from an office in Nevada.
Do not the survivors of US attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere, and their loved ones, ask such a question?
The survivors and loved ones in Boston have their answer – America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That’s what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston bomber has said in custody, and there’s no reason to doubt that he means it, nor the dozens of others in the past two decades who have carried out terrorist attacks against American targets and expressed anger toward US foreign policy. 1 Both Tsarnaev brothers had expressed such opinions before the attack as well. 2 The Marathon bombing took place just days after a deadly US attack in Afghanistan killed 17 civilians, including 12 children, as but one example of countless similar horrors from recent years. “Oh”, an American says, “but those are accidents. What terrorists do is on purpose. It’s cold-blooded murder.”
But if the American military sends out a bombing mission on Monday which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Tuesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Wednesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and the military then announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” … Thursday … Friday … How long before the American military loses the right to say it was an accident?
Terrorism is essentially an act of propaganda, to draw attention to a cause. The 9-11 perpetrators attacked famous symbols of American military and economic power. Traditionally, perpetrators would phone in their message to a local media outlet beforehand, but today, in this highly-surveilled society, with cameras and electronic monitoring at a science-fiction level, that’s much more difficult to do without being detected; even finding a public payphone can be near impossible.
From what has been reported, the older brother, Tamerlan, regarded US foreign policy also as being anti-Islam, as do many other Muslims. I think this misreads Washington’s intentions. The American Empire is not anti-Islam. It’s anti-only those who present serious barriers to the Empire’s plan for world domination.
The United States has had close relations with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar, amongst other Islamic states. And in recent years the US has gone to great lengths to overthrow the leading secular states of the Mideast – Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Moreover, it’s questionable that Washington is even against terrorism per se, but rather only those terrorists who are not allies of the empire. There has been, for example, a lengthy and infamous history of tolerance, and often outright support, for numerous anti-Castro terrorists, even when their terrorist acts were committed in the United States. Hundreds of anti-Castro and other Latin American terrorists have been given haven in the US over the years. The United States has also provided support to terrorists in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iran, Libya, and Syria, including those with known connections to al Qaeda, to further foreign policy goals more important than fighting terrorism.
Under one or more of the harsh anti-terrorist laws enacted in the United States in recent years, President Obama could be charged with serious crimes for allowing the United States to fight on the same side as al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Libya and Syria and for funding and supplying these groups. Others in the United States have been imprisoned for a lot less.
As a striking example of how Washington has put its imperialist agenda before anything else, we can consider the case of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord whose followers first gained attention in the 1980s by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. This is how these horrible men spent their time when they were not screaming “Death to America”. CIA and State Department officials called Hekmatyar “scary,” “vicious,” “a fascist,” “definite dictatorship material”. 3 This did not prevent the United States government from showering the man with large amounts of aid to fight against the Soviet-supported government of Afghanistan. 4 Hekmatyar is still a prominent warlord in Afghanistan.
A similar example is that of Luis Posada who masterminded the bombing of a Cuban airline in 1976, killing 73 civilians. He has lived a free man in Florida for many years.
USA Today reported a few months ago about a rebel fighter in Syria who told the newspaper in an interview: “The afterlife is the only thing that matters to me, and I can only reach it by waging jihad.” 5 Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have chosen to have a shootout with the Boston police as an act of suicide; to die waging jihad, although questions remain about exactly how he died. In any event, I think it’s safe to say that the authorities wanted to capture the brothers alive to be able to question them.
It would be most interesting to be present the moment after a jihadist dies and discovers, with great shock, that there’s no afterlife. Of course, by definition, there would have to be an afterlife for him to discover that there’s no afterlife. On the other hand, a non-believer would likely be thrilled to find out that he was wrong.
Let us hope that the distinguished statesmen, military officers, and corporate leaders who own and rule America find out in this life that to put an end to anti-American terrorism they’re going to have to learn to live without unending war against the world. There’s no other defense against a couple of fanatic young men with backpacks. Just calling them insane or evil doesn’t tell you enough; it may tell you nothing.
But this change in consciousness in the elite is going to be extremely difficult, as difficult as it appears to be for the parents of the two boys to accept their sons’ guilt. Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, stated after the Boston attack: “The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks … We should be asking ourselves at this moment, ‘How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?’” 6
Officials in Canada and Britain as well as US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice have called for Falk to be fired. 7
President Kennedy’s speech, half a century ago
I don’t know how many times in the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy made his much celebrated 1963 speech at American University in Washington, DC. 8 I’ve heard or read that if only he had lived he would have put a quick end to the war in Vietnam instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years, and that the Cold War might have ended 25 years sooner than it did. With the 50th anniversary coming up June 13 we can expect to hear a lot more of the same, so I’d like to jump the gun and offer a counter-view.
Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims such as the allegation that “American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war … that there is a very real threat of a preventative war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union” … [and that] the political aims – and I quote – “of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries … [and] to achieve world domination … by means of aggressive war.”
It is indeed refreshing that an American president would utter a thought such as: “It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write.” This is what radicals in every country wonder about their leaders, not least in the United States. For example, “incredible claims such as the allegation that ‘American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war’.”
In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States had unleashed many different types of war, from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts against leaders and actual military combat – one or more of these in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British Guiana, Iraq, Congo, Haiti, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil. This is all in addition to the normal and routine CIA subversion of countries all over the world map. Did Kennedy really believe that the Soviet claims were “incredible”?
And did he really doubt that that the driving force behind US foreign policy was “world domination”? How else did he explain all the above interventions (which have continued non-stop into the 21st century)? If the president thought that the Russians were talking nonsense when they accused the US of seeking world domination, why didn’t he then disavow the incessant US government and media warnings about the “International Communist Conspiracy”? Or at least provide a rigorous definition of the term and present good evidence of its veracity.
Quoting further: “Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint.” No comment.
“We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people.” Unless of course the people foolishly insist on some form of socialist alternative. Ask the people of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, British Guiana and Cuba, just to name some of those in Kennedy’s time.
“At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends …” American presidents have been speaking of “our friends” for many years. What they all mean, but never say, is that “our friends” are government and corporate leaders whom we keep in power through any means necessary – the dictators, the kings, the oligarchs, the torturers – not the masses of the population, particularly those with a measure of education.
“Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides.”
Persistent, yes. Patient, often. But moral, fostering human rights, democracy, civil liberties, self-determination, not fawning over Israel … ? As but one glaring example, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, perhaps the last chance for a decent life for the people of that painfully downtrodden land; planned by the CIA under Eisenhower, but executed under Kennedy.
“The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.”
See all of the above for this piece of hypocrisy. And so, if no nation interfered in the affairs of any other nation, there would be no wars. Brilliant. If everybody became rich there would be no poverty. If everybody learned to read there would be no illiteracy.
“The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war.”
So … Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, and literally dozens of other countries then, later, and now, all the way up to Libya in 2012 … they all invaded the United States first? Remarkable.
And this was the man who was going to end the war in Vietnam very soon after being re-elected the following year? Lord help us.
This is not to put George W. Bush down. That’s too easy, and I’ve done it many times. No, this is to counter the current trend to rehabilitate the man and his Iraqi horror show, which partly coincides with the opening of his presidential library in Texas. At the dedication ceremony, President Obama spoke of Bush’s “compassion and generosity” and declared that: “He is a good man.” The word “Iraq” did not pass his lips. The closest he came at all was saying “So even as we Americans may at times disagree on matters of foreign policy, we share a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families.” 9 Should morality be that flexible? Even for a politician? Obama could have just called in sick.
At the January 31 congressional hearing on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, Senator John McCain ripped into him for his critique of the Iraq war:
“The question is, were you right or were you wrong?” McCain demanded, pressing Hagel on why he opposed Bush’s decision to send 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the so-called ‘surge’.
“I’m not going to give you a yes-or-no answer. I think it’s far more complicated than that,” Hagel responded. He said he would await the “judgment of history.”
Glaring at Hagel, McCain ended the exchange with a bitter rejoinder: “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you are on the wrong side of it.” 10
Before the revisionist history of the surge gets chiseled into marble, let me repeat part of what I wrote in this report at the time, December 2007:
The American progress is measured by a decrease in violence, the White House has decided – a daily holocaust has been cut back to a daily multiple catastrophe. And who’s keeping the count? Why, the same good people who have been regularly feeding us a lie for the past five years about the number of Iraqi deaths, completely ignoring the epidemiological studies. A recent analysis by the Washington Post left the administration’s claim pretty much in tatters. The article opened with: “The U.S. military’s claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends.”
To the extent that there may have been a reduction in violence, we must also keep in mind that, thanks to this lovely little war, there are several million Iraqis either dead, wounded, in exile abroad, or in bursting American and Iraqi prisons. So the number of potential victims and killers has been greatly reduced. Moreover, extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place in Iraq (another good indication of progress, n’est-ce pas? nicht wahr?) – Sunnis and Shiites are now living more in their own special enclaves than before, none of those stinking mixed communities with their unholy mixed marriages, so violence of the sectarian type has also gone down. On top of all this, US soldiers have been venturing out a lot less (for fear of things like … well, dying), so the violence against our noble lads is also down.
One of the signs of the reduction in violence in Iraq, the administration would like us to believe, is that many Iraqi families are returning from Syria, where they had fled because of the violence. The New York Times, however, reported that “Under intense pressure to show results after months of political stalemate, the [Iraqi] government has continued to publicize figures that exaggerate the movement back to Iraq”; as well as exaggerating “Iraqis’ confidence that the current lull in violence can be sustained.” The count, it turns out, included all Iraqis crossing the border, for whatever reason. A United Nations survey found that 46 percent were leaving Syria because they could not afford to stay; 25 percent said they fell victim to a stricter Syrian visa policy; and only 14 percent said they were returning because they had heard about improved security.
How long can it be before vacation trips to “Exotic Iraq” are flashed across our TVs? “Baghdad’s Beautiful Beaches Beckon”. Just step over the bodies. Indeed, the State Department has recently advertised for a “business development/tourism” expert to work in Baghdad, “with a particular focus on tourism and related services.” 11
Another argument raised again recently to preserve George W.’s legacy is that “He kept us safe”. Hmm … I could swear that he was in the White House around the time of September 11 … What his supporters mean is that Bush’s War on Terrorism was a success because there wasn’t another terrorist attack in the United States after September 11, 2001 while he was in office; as if terrorists killing Americans is acceptable if it’s done abroad. Following the American/Bush strike on Afghanistan in October 2001 there were literally scores of terrorist attacks – including some major ones – against American institutions in the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific: military, civilian, Christian, and other targets associated with the United States.
Even the claim that the War on Terrorism kept Americans safe at home is questionable. There was no terrorist attack in the United States during the 6 1/2 years prior to the one in September 2001; not since the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. It would thus appear that the absence of terrorist attacks in the United States is the norm.
William Blum speaking in Wisconsin, near Minnesota
Saturday, July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. Peacestock is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace in an idyllic location near the Mississippi, just one hour’s drive from the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Peacestock is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 115, and has a peace-themed agenda. Kathy Kelly, peace activist extraordinaire, will also speak.
You can camp there and be fed well, meat or vegetarian. Full information at:http://www.peacestockvfp.org 11
- William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapters 1 and 2, for cases up to about 2003; later similar cases are numerous; e.g., Glenn Greenwald, “They Hate US for our Occupations”, Salon, October 12, 2010 ↩
- Huffington Post, April 20, 2013; Washington Post, April 21 ↩
- Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon’s Black Budget (1990), p.149-50. ↩
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II ↩
- USA Today, December 3, 2012 ↩
- ForeignPolicyJournal.com, April 21, 2013 ↩
- The Telegraph (London), April 25, 2013; Politico.com, April 24 ↩
- Full text of speech ↩
- Remarks by President Obama at Dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library ↩
- Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2013 ↩
- Anti-Empire Report, #52, December 11, 2007 ↩