Obama weighs new aid for Syria terrorists; sets joint military plan with Saudis
29 March, 2014 – Shia Post
The United States is considering allowing shipments of portable air defense systems to Syrian opposition groups, a U.S. official said Friday, as President Barack Obama sought to reassure Saudi Arabia’s king that the U.S. is not taking too soft a stance in Syria and other Mideast conflicts.
A Washington Post report said Saturday that the U.S. is ready to step up covert aid to Syrian armed groups under a plan being discussed with regional allies including Saudi Arabia.
The plan includes CIA training of about 600 Syrian opposition forces per month in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar, foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius wrote on Thursday. That would double the forces currently being trained in the region.
The Obama administration was debating whether to use U.S. Special Operation forces and other military personnel in the training, something Syrian mercenaries have argued would carry less political baggage than the CIA, according to the column.
The Obama administration has been criticized by some in Congress for failing to do more in Syria, where 140,000 people have been killed so far, millions have become refugees and thousands of foreign gunmen have been trained since 2011.
Washington was also considering whether to provide the armed opposition with anti-aircraft missile launchers, known as MANPADS, to stop President Assad’s air force, the column said. Saudi Arabia wanted U.S. permission before delivering them, it said.
The plan, which was still being formalized, also called for vetting of opposition forces for “extremist links” during and after training, according to Ignatius.
Qatar has offered to pay for the first year of the program, which could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the column. The program would try to stabilize Syria by helping local councils and police in areas not under Assad’s control and seek to establish safe corridors for humanitarian aid, it said.
Saudi rulers are hoping for the United States to shift its position on support for Syrian armed opposition, whom Riyadh has backed in their battle to oust President Bashar al-Assad. …more
ISIS seizes town from Nusra in Hassakeh province
31 March, 2014 – The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Militants from the Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS have taken over the town of Markada in Hassakeh province in fighting with the Nusra Front and other Islamist militias, according to pro-opposition media and an activist group. The reports said that a local commander of ISIS, a Turkish national, was killed in the fighting, which claimed the lives of five ISIS fighters and approximately 40 Nusra Front members.
The town lies on the highway linking the cities of Hassakeh and Deir al-Zor.
ISIS is engaged in fighting against the Nusra Front and its allies, as well as a separate campaign against the YPG Kurdish militia.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that it could confirm at least 16 ISIS fatalities in the infighting, while the other side’s losses remained undetermined.
Also in Hassakeh province, the Kurdish YPG wrested control of a village, Jazaa, from ISIS, which suffered at least 14 fatalities during three days of fighting.
In Raqqa province to the east, where ISIS enjoys its strongest presence in the country, the Observatory said the group alerted residents via minarets in the town of Raqqa to “open their windows and open up closed places” as the group was planning to carry out the second stage of the demolition of a local shrine. …more
Western Imperialism’s Creative Destruction in Syria
Finian CUNNINGHAM – 18 Februay, 2014 – Strategic Culture Foundation
US-led Western regime change in Syria might be described as a process of creative destruction. Like Schumpeter’s economic concept of cyclical creative destruction, so too Washington’s political machinations in Syria seem to be playing out likewise.
We begin with the premise that the humanitarian crisis in Syria over the past nearly three years is largely as a result of a Western covert proxy war inflicted on that country. The objective is to destabilize, terrorize and eventuate regime change in the Arab country…
The crisis afflicting Syria with over 130,000 dead and nearly nine million people displaced from their homes – nearly 40 per cent of the total population – would not be occurring if it were not for the infiltration of that country with massive flows of weapons, fighting funds and foreign mercenary brigades. US and NATO Special Forces, along with Western military intelligence, have worked with Saudi, Qatari, Jordanian, Israeli and Turk allies to foment this externally driven insurgency. All under the cover of an Arab Spring revolt.
The highly criminal process has attempted to destroy a sovereign country in order to create a new political order, one that is bereft of the existing political establishment under President Bashar Al Assad. This new order brought about by regime change would be amenable to Western interests in terms of Middle East politics and oil economics. In particular, the desired pro-Western regime would deny Russia, China and Iran of an important ally in the Mediterranean.
Western desire for regime change in Syria is well documented, according to American journalist Seymour Hersh, going back to at least 2007 when the George W Bush Presidency conceived of a plan to undermine the Syrian-Iranian resistance against Washington’s regional hegemony. Other historical studies argue that Western plans for regime change in Syria hark even further back to the 1950s when Dwight Eisenhower was US president.
Last year, former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that he was approached two years before the outbreak of latest conflict in Syria in March 2011 by British political figures, who told him of a plot to unseat the Syrian government.
So, our premise of Western regime change being the driver of conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria is on solid ground.
By contrast, the alternative premise of the events in Syria being the result of a «popular pro-democracy uprising against Assad» is a nebulous narrative emanating from Western governments and the Western mainstream media. That narrative does not stand up to scrutiny. A modified version to accommodate the contradiction that the «uprising» has become driven largely by Al Qaeda-linked brigades goes along the lines that the initial pro-democracy movement has somehow been «hijacked by extremists». But an objective study of the conflict shows that the extremists were always dominant, and that these extremists have been bankrolled, directed and armed by the US-led axis of NATO and regional allies from the outset.
The divergence of these narratives – one based on reality, the other based on propaganda to serve political interests – is reaching a watershed over the humanitarian issue of besieged Syrian cities. The main location currently in focus is the city of Homs, Syria’s third urban centre after the capital, Damascus, and the second city of Aleppo.
In total across Syria, there is reckoned to be some 250,000 civilians trapped in siege situations, according to the United Nations. The conditions for these civilians have deteriorated alarmingly with reports of starvation and privation from lack of basic utilities and medicines.
But which party is responsible for the sieges and the humanitarian suffering? Typically, the Western governments and the Western news media are blaming the Syrian authorities and army for imposing blockades. As with much of their narrative, there is scant factual evidence to support and it seems to rely on assertion and innuendo. …more
Geneva conference: Russia to put an end to American illusions
21 February, 2014 – Ghaleb Kandil – Volrairenet.com
U.S. bets to initiate Russian pressure on the Syrian delegation at the Geneva Conference, to bring it to change its principled positions have failed. The disappointment of Washington appeared in the results of the tripartite meeting in Geneva on Friday between Russia, the United States and Lakhdar Brahimi. At this meeting, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, showed great firmness in opposing the Americans and the bias international envoy.
The negotiations in Geneva proves the absence of any compromise already agreed, as some political and diplomatic circles believed at the beginning of the conference. It should be clear to all analysts that the relationship between Russia and the Syrian state is built on a strong partnership and alliance, and not on orders, as is the case in the relationship between the Syrian opposition and their American, Arab and Western masters.
The Syrian crisis is the space in which the partnership between Russians and Americans is being formed. In its efforts to regain its place in the international scene, Russia is based on a solid rock: the resistance provided by the Syrian state, the advance of his troops on the ground and broad popular support that even the worst enemies of Syria can no longer deny.
In its efforts to build this new international partnership, Russia is equal with the West, even if at the beginning of the conference, she closed her eyes to the withdrawal of the invitation to Iran and limiting the representation of the Syrian opposition to the only delegation of the National Coalition. The Russians put an end, Friday, to the U.S. illusions, by fully supporting the position of the Syrian government delegation is uncompromising in priorities: the fight against terrorism must come before any other political issue, because it is the pillar of any future inter-Syrian agreement.
Washington is trying to impose the concept developed by Richard Haass of an international partnership… led by the United States! This is what the Americans are trying in Syria. But this attempt goes against the current balance of power on the ground, which allow the Syrian government, which draws its strength from its army and the support of a large part of the population, to put the world before two alternatives: a compromise built on a partnership in the fight against terrorism, supported by strong international resolutions against all states involved in supporting terrorist movements; or a military solution with the own resources of the Syrian state, which would impose a fait accompli on the field.
Through its information and opinion polls, the West knows that the popularity of President Bashar al- Assad is unwavering. The fact that the Syrian president is the target of the United States has only reinforced his popularity and his image of a Syrian popular leader who resists terrorism and defends the independence and sovereignty of his nation.
Russia wanted to send a strong message of solidarity with Syria, its people and its leader, which has attracted the admiration of the free men of the world with his will to resist. …more
Valued ‘Ally’ Saudi Arabia Supports Terrorism, Urges US War in Syria
John Glaser 18 February, 2014
Saudi Arabia, the brutal authoritarian theocracy that the democracy-promoting Washington claims as one of its closest allies, has a bit of a history of pressuring the U.S. into Middle East wars. The 1991 First Gulf War to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait was fought largely in defense of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom also encouraged the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003. And the Saudi king has repeatedly urged Washington to attack Iran to secure Saudi interests in the Sunni-Shia regional divide.
Saudi Arabia also has a rather incriminating and duplicitous history of harboring Islamic extremists of the al-Qaeda, jihadist type. They helped the U.S. fund the mujahideen in Afghanistan. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis (and they were directed by a Saudi, named Osama bin Laden). There is even a classified record that members of Congress have claimed indicates the Saudi government’s role in the 9/11 attacks.
Since the start of Syria’s civil war, foreign jihadists have been flooding the country – many of them coming from Saudi Arabia. Al Monitor reports:
Estimates of the number of Saudis fighting in Syria range as high as 2,500. Some are hardened veterans of earlier jihads in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq. A few are compatriots of Osama bin Laden. Others traveled to Syria from the kingdom, despite individual travel bans imposed for dissident activities at home. Some traveled directly through major Saudi airports, leading many observers to conclude they were encouraged by the authorities to leave the kingdom and go fight Assad. For over two years, the Saudi government seemed to turn a blind eye to travel by its citizens — even political dissidents — to Syria.
Kuwait, which has close ties to the Saudi government, “is a major source of private funding for Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official arm in Syria,” Al Monitor reports.
“True to its origins as a Western intelligence asset, al-Qaeda is helping to create an illusion in Syria that will enable US weapons supply to the militants to continue,”
Re-inventing al-Qaeda as ‘good guys,’ huh?
4 February, 2014 – By Finian Cunningham – PressTV
The titular head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has reportedly disavowed the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Videos emerged over the weekend of the Egyptian-born leader denying any organizational links with the ISIS.
The British Guardian reported that the move by the top al-Qaeda commander was an attempt to “reassert control” over the disparate militant groups fighting in Syria.
Later in the same report, the newspaper inadvertently hinted at the real motive for the initiative. “The internecine fighting – among the bloodiest in the three-year conflict – has undermined the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and dismayed western powers pushing for peace talks,” reported the Guardian.
Forget the bit about “dismayed western powers pushing for peace talks.” That’s hogwash. The key phrase is “internecine fighting has undermined the uprising [sic] against President Bashar al-Assad.”
By “uprising,” the Guardian is euphemistically referring to the covert criminal war sponsored by the West against the Syrian government and its people. This is not an uprising or civil war; it is Western state-sponsored terrorism for regime change using foreign mercenaries of varying affiliation to al-Qaeda – the latter itself being historically a Western, Saudi intelligence creation from the late 1970s onwards.
The political problem for the West is that it cannot be seen to be overtly supporting the al-Qaeda brigades. That would very publicly destroy the last vestiges of the so-called War on Terror and 9/11 propaganda myth.
Previously, Washington and its allies have got around that contradiction by claiming that they have been supporting “moderate rebels” in Syria as opposed to the backbone of foreign mercenaries belonging to al-Qaeda. That sleight of hand ran into terminal problems when the “moderates” of the so-called Free Syrian Army were decisively pushed out of the picture at the end of last year by the “extremists.” …more
The war against Syria and the illusion of compromise
By Ghaleb Kandil – 2 February, 2014 – Voltaire.net
Some politicians believe that Russia and the United States agreed on compromises in the region, and that everything that happens politically and militarily in Syria is part of a scenario to implement these arrangements.
In fact, international relations are going through a transitional period that will see the outlines of a new balance of power. These new equilibrium were able to emerge through the resistance of the Syrian state against the colonial aggression led by the United States. It is clear that the US unilateral post-domination era is under construction. The rules of the new Cold War are not yet definitively drawn. Recognition by the United States at the end of its unilateral hegemony is accompanied by continued attempts to influence the new equations that are emerging.
It is in this context that fit US and Western pressures and interference in the backyard of Russia. Ukraine crisis is the best example of this attitude, as well as the continuation of the partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, to prolong the bloodshed in Syria, in the hope of changes for the benefit their agents of balance of power relations underlie all coming political compromise.
These are the realities emerging from the Geneva II Conference, where Americans have negotiated indirectly with the Syrian official delegation, through a delegation established by its ambassador in Damascus Robert Ford. It is in this same context that was taken the decision to exclude Iran from this conference, which was a message to Russia, worthy of the time of the unilateral hegemony through orders given to the Secretary General of the United Nations. The reform of this organization and the rebalancing of relations within it are also unavoidable conditions for establishing a multipolar world.
In this transitional period, the confrontation continues to develop new relations between international powers, and Syria is the mirror of the new international order. The belief in the existence of supposed international arrangements and a serious American will to fight against terrorism, is a pure illusion. Worse, it can distort the calculations and produce erroneous analyzes. …more