|The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned on Monday that the European countries will “pay the price” if they send weapons to the opposition militant groups inside Syria.“Europe will pay the price as its depth will turn to be fertile ground for terrorism in case the Europeans send weapons to the militant groups in Syria,” he told the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Noting that Europeans adopt a hostile attitude towards the Syrian government, especially France and the UK, the Syrian President stressed that arming the militant groups in Syria will transfer terrorism to Europe.“The militants will return to their countries with extremist ideology and high battle skills,” he said.
President Assad made it clear that “Europeans deliver weapons to terrorists… Some distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fighters, as they have made a difference a couple of years ago between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban and a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Al-Qaeda. Is that reasonable?” he wondered.
On the relations with France and Britain, Assad expressed beliefs that the two states have a problem how to deal with – in their opinion – the disturbing Syrian role in the region.“They, along with the U.S., look for puppets that enforce their interests and we refused to be as such. We’ve always been independent and free. France and Britain are historically colonial powers. Probably they have not forgotten that. They act in this region through representatives and collaborators.”“What is happening in Syria is a chance for those states to push a non-submissive state towards the brink and to look for a new president who says ‘yes’ (to their orders). They have not found and they will not find in the future,” Assad stressed.
Regarding the situation on ground, the Syrian President confirmed that what is going on is not a war of an army against another army.
“Our army instead acts against gangs… The hunt for the terrorists has a high price. We have no doubt that we will eliminate the terrorists on our soil completely, he promised, reiterating that the real problem is the destruction created.
Assad also slammed that accusations that the government is responsible for the destruction, recalling that it started reforms prior to the protests that were claimed to be peaceful.
“In fact, we won great victories in a few months in different regions, which are perhaps more important than al-Qusayr. But they haven’t been reported. No one else is fighting in such areas as the Syrian army. There are also local vigilante groups which defend their own areas together with the army. That is one reason for our success.”
Anwsering a question on whether any insurgent is believed to be a terrorist, the Syrian President stated that it is illegal in all countries to carry weapons to kill innocent people, to terrorize citizens, to do harm and to steal.
“In all countries of the world, anyone who carries weapons – except armed forces and police – to harass and kill people, is defined as terrorist, and armed people in Syria are carrying weapons just to do that. Whether he has an extremist or criminal motive, the terrorist deserves the name. Therefore, we distinguish between terrorists and the opposition, which is political and has a political program. Killing and slaughtering are nothing but terrorism,” the Syrian President elaborated.
Assad predicted that the crisis could take a long time due to “the external factor that is trying to prolong it politically and militarily.”
“It may be that one of the major powers initiates this process, but no one will be able to stop it at a certain point. There are today in the Middle East new social boundaries – religious and national, in addition to the policy limits… No one can imagine the new regional map. It will probably be a map for innumerable wars in the Middle East and possibly elsewhere, which none can stop it.”
On the foreign interference, the Syrian President said there is a big difference between cooperation among states and the interference in the internal affairs of a state with the intent to undermine its stability.
“States shall cooperate in a will to ensure their sovereignty, independence, freedom of their decisions and their stability. The relationship between Syria, Russia, Iran, and other countries that are on the Syrian side, is a relationship of cooperation which is guaranteed and protected by international law… The interference is a blatant violation of international law and the sovereignty of the country; they (western states) want to destabilize the country and spread chaos and backwardness.”
Turning to the al-Nusra front terrorist group fighting against the Syrian army and its source of weapons and money, Assad believed the group is a branch of Al Qaeda which represents the same ideology.
“You can find it in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan,” he said to the German journalist.
Moreover, the Syrian President justified bombarding residential areas by stating that the Syrian army hunts the terrorists wherever they go, and they often use residential areas as human shields.
“This is evidenced by the fact that most of the victims are members of the military. The civilians who were killed are victims of terrorists who were executed, enforced and used as human shields. Large numbers of civilian victims were killed by suicide attacks and car bombs,” Assad added.
“The White House announced that 150 deaths occurred in a period of one year. Militarily, conventional weapons can kill in one day a lot more than that number. Weapons, which are used for mass destruction, are capable of killing hundreds of thousands at once. For this reason they are used. It is therefore illogical to use chemical weapons to kill a number of people that can be achieved by using conventional weapons,” he said confidently.
“We have not said that we possess chemical weapons, or that we do not possess. Chemical weapons are weapons of mass destruction. Had Paris, London and Washington have only one evidence for their claims, they would have submitted this to the world,” he went on to say.
“The terrorists are those who use chemical weapons, we have asked the UN to send a commission to the place where the terrorists have used chemical weapons – and that was in Aleppo. French and British governments have blocked this request. If the commission came, it would have found that terrorists have used chemical weapons. Everything that is said about the use of chemical weapons is a continuation of the lies about Syria. It is an attempt to justify more military interference,” Assad stressed.
Regarding the dialogue with the Syrian opposition, Assad said that he will sit down at a table with all opposition groups which carry no weapons, do not support terrorism and have a political program.
About the political solution for the Syrian crisis, the president voiced that there will be no problem if the opposition acts independently and nationally.
“Yet, the opposition abroad presents its reports to Western foreign ministries and their intelligence apparatuses,” he believed.
“The side which funds them provides them with the decisions. For us, opposition means to represent a part of the population and not a foreign state. To be a genuine opposition, you have to live on the Syrian soil with its people as well as its problems and needs of life. Only then, this opposition can be part of a political process.”
Assad expressed hopes that the Geneva Conference will be an important station to advance dialogue in Syria and to ban weapons being smuggled to the country and terrorists being infiltrated.
Britain and France reconsidered sending arms to the militants in Syria as they both lifted the arms embargo on the opposition militant groups.
U.S. had already decided to provide the militants in Syria with developed weapons, but Secretary of State declared that no official steps will be taken before G8 summit.
By: Ibrahim al-Amin
Published Monday, June 17, 2013
Iran’s presidential election poses some important and uncomfortable questions to its Arab neighbors across the Gulf: How has the Islamic Republic’s theocratic political system succeeded in maintaining its religious and ethnic diversity and developing its economic and technological abilities in the face of modern history’s most restrictive financial sanctions?
The election surprised many with its 70 percent turnout and the overwhelming victory of Hassan Rouhani in the first round, the reasons for which will have to be carefully considered over the coming days. It’s clear that Rouhani was the candidate most different from current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
One has to ask why is it that none of the conservatives candidates were willing to pull out in order to put forward a united front, knowing full well that the other side was gaining in the polls. One theory may be that the conservatives, who are more influential in state affairs, had decided that a change of course was necessary.
The conservatives’ miscalculation may also be due to an underestimation of their rivals, even though the reformists were clearly gaining momentum during the campaign period. By all appearances, the Iranian public had grown weary of Ahmadinejad’s leadership, particularly his economic policies and his tense relations with the West and the Gulf Arab countries. The question remains, however, can Rouhani remain true to the Islamic revolution’s principles while at the same time satisfying the needs of the people?
Even with all the difficulties the country is facing, it is clear that Iran’s democratic experiment has been successful to a large degree. Despite the Arab Spring and the recent protests in Turkey, Tehran did not hesitate to go forward with the presidential election, which could easily have been exploited by one side or another to undermine the regime as a whole.
And, of course, everyone is waiting to see what the new president plans to do on the Syrian front. For those who are betting on an Iranian retreat from the region’s burning issues, I advise them to take advantage of the opening that a Rouhani presidency may provide to find a political settlement that would stem the relentless bloodshed.
Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
Is president Obama setting the stage for a “humanitarian intervention” by casually accusing the Syrian president of killing his own people?
“Following a deliberative review, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year,”
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said in a statement. “Our intelligence community has high confidence in that assessment given multiple, independent streams of information.”
“Obama has give notice to President Bashar Al Assad of ‘enormous consequences’ for having crossed the ‘red line’” by allegedly using chemical weapons.
Money and Weapons for Al Qaeda
A WMD saga modeled on Iraq based on fabricated evidence is unfolding. The Western media in chorus relentlessly accuse the Syrian government of premeditated mass-murder, calling upon the “international community” to come to the rescue of the Syrian people.
“Syria crosses ‘red line’ on chemical weapons. How will Obama respond?”
The Syrian “opposition” is calling upon the US and its allies to implement “a no fly zone”.
In turn, the White House has acknowledged that the red line “has been crossed”, while emphasizing that the US and its allies will “increase the scope and scale of assistance” to the rebels.
The chemical weapons pretext is being used to justify further military aid to the rebels, which in large part have been decimated by Syrian government forces.
These defeated opposition rebel forces –largely composed of the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusrah– are supported by Turkey, Israel, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
US-NATO-Israel have lost the ground war. Their Al Nusrah Front fighters, which constitute the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance, cannot, under any circumstances, be rapidly rebuilt through a renewed flow of US-NATO military aid.
The Obama administration is in an impasse: its foot soldiers have been defeated. A “no fly zone” would, at this stage, be a risky proposition given Syria’s air defense system, which includes the Russian S-300 SAM system.
Al Nusra Front “Freedom fighters”
US-NATO Are Training “Opposition” Rebels in the Use of Chemical Weapons
The chemical weapons accusations are fabricated. In a bitter irony, the evidence amply confirms that the chemical weapons are being used not by Syrian government forces but by the US supported Al Qaeda rebels.
In a twisted logic whereby realities are turned upside down, the Syrian government is being accused of the atrocities committed by the US sponsored Al Qaeda affiliated rebels.
The Western media is feeding disinformation into the news chain, casually refuting its own news reports. Confirmed by various sources including CNN, the Western military alliance has not only made chemical weapons available to the Al Nusrah Front, it has also sent in military contractors and special forces to train the rebels:
The training [in chemical weapons], which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.
The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American. (CNN, December 09, 2012, emphasis added
While the news report does not confirm the identity of the defense contractors, the official statements suggest a close contractual relationship to the Pentagon:
The US decision to hire unaccountable defense contractors to train Syrian rebels to handle stockpiles of chemical weapons seems dangerously irresponsible in the extreme, especially considering how inept Washington has so far been at making sure only trustworthy, secular rebels – to the extent they exist – receive their aid and the weapons that allies in the Gulf Arab states have been providing.
It also feeds accusations that the Syrian Foreign Ministry recently made that the US is working to frame the Syrian regime as having used or prepared for chemical warfare.
“What raises concerns about this news circulated by the media is our serious fear that some of the countries backing terrorism and terrorists might provide the armed terrorist groups with chemical weapons and claim that it was the Syrian government that used the weapons,” the letters said.”( John Glaser, Us Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels, Antiwar.com, December 10, 2012, emphasis addded)
Lets be under no illusion. This is not a rebel training exercise in non-proliferation of chemical weapons.
While president Obama accuses Bashar Al Assad, the US-NATO military alliance is channeling chemical weapons to Al Nusrah, a terrorist organization on the State Department blacklist.
In all likelihood, the training of Al Nusrah rebels in the use of chemical weapons was undertaken by private military contractors.
The United Nations Independent Mission confirms that Rebel Forces Are in Possession of Sarin Nerve Gas
While Washington points its finger at president Bashar al Assad, a United Nations independent commission of inquiry confirmed in May 2013 that the rebels rather than the government have chemical weapons in their possession and are using sarin nerve against the civilian population:
U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.
The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte. [see image right]
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.
“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added, speaking in Italian. (“U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator,” Chicago Tribune, May, 5 2013, emphasis added)
Turkish Police Report: US Supported Al Nusrah Terrorists Possess Chemical Weapons
According to Turkey’s state media agency Zaman, the Turkish General Directorate of Security (Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü):
[Police have] ceased 2 kg of sarin gas in the city of Adana in the early hours of yesterday morning. The chemical weapons were in the possession of Al Nusra terrorists believed to have been heading for Syria.
Sarin gas is a colourless, odorless substance which is extremely difficult to detect. The gas is banned under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.
The EGM [Turkish Police] identified 12 members of the AL Nusra terrorist cell and also ceased fire arms and digital equipment. This is the second major official confirmation of the use of chemical weapons by Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria after UN inspector Carla Del Ponte’s recent statement confirming the use of chemical weapons by the Western-backed terrorists in Syria.
The Turkish police are currently conducting further investigations into the operations of Al-Qaeda linked groups in Turkey. (For further details see Gearóid Ó Colmáin, Turkish Police find Chemical Weapons in the Possession of Al Nusra Terrorists heading for Syria, Global Research.ca, May 30, 2013)
Who has Crossed the “Red Line”? Barack Obama and John Kerry are Supporting a Terrorist Organization on the State Department List
What is unfolding is a diabolical scenario –which is an integral part of US military planning– namely a situation where opposition terrorists of the al Nusrah Front advised by Western defense contractors are actually in possession of chemical weapons.
The West claims that it is coming to the rescue of the Syrian people, whose lives are allegedly threatened by Bashar Al Assad.
Obama has not only “Crossed the Red Line”, he is supporting Al Qaeda. He is a Liar and a Terrorist.
The forbidden truth, which the Western media has failed to reveal, is that the US-NATO- Israel military alliance is not only supporting the Al Nusrah Front, it is also making chemical weapons available to its proxy “opposition” rebel forces.
The broader issue is: Who is a threat to the Syrian people? Syria’s President Bashar al Assad or America’s President Barack Obama, who has ordered the recruitment and training of terrorist forces which are on the US State Department blacklist.
In a bitter irony, according to the US State Department Bureau of Counter-terrorism, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, not to mention Senator John McCain could be held responsible for “knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, al-Nusrah Front”:
The Department of State has amended the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 designations of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) to include the following new aliases: al-Nusrah Front, Jabhat al-Nusrah, Jabhet al-Nusra, The Victory Front, and Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant. The consequences of adding al-Nusrah Front as a new alias for AQI include a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, al-Nusrah Front, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons. (emphasis added)
The State Department advisory acknowledges that from November 2011 to December 2012:
“Al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed. ….
The advisory also confirms that “the United States takes this action [of blacklisting the Al Nusrah Front] in the context of our overall support for the Syrian people. … ”
What it fails to mention is that the Obama administration continues to channel money and weapons to Al Nusrah in blatant defiance of US counter-terrorism legislation.
Washington’s “Go-Between”: General Salem Idriss
Chief commander of the Free Syrian Army Brigadier General Selim Idriss speaks during a press conference at the EU Parliament in Brussels on March 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/JOHN THYSWashington’s “Go Between” is the Head of the FSA Supreme Military Council Brigadier General Salem Idriss [right], who is permanent liaison with the Al Nusrah military commanders.
Secretary of State John Kerry meets representatives of the Syrian opposition. US officials meet with General Idriss. The latter, acting on behalf of the Pentagon, channels money and weapons to the terrorists. This model of supporting Al Nusra is similar to that implemented in Afghanistan in the 1980s whereby the Pakistani military government of General Zia Ul Haq would funnel weapons to jihadist “Freedom Fighters” in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.
US support to terrorists is always sent through a trusted intermediary. According to an Obama administration official: “While the United States may have leverage with General Idris, it has no ability to control some jihadists — like the Nusra Front, which is also fighting Syrian government forces.” (New York Times, May 23, 2013)
John McCain Enters Syria, Mingles with US Sponsored Terrorists
Meanwhile, Senator John McCain “entered Syria [early June] from the country’s border with Turkey and stayed there for several hours … McCain met with assembled leaders of Free Syrian Army units in both Turkey and Syria.” See image below John McCain together with General Salem Idriss)
The Contradictory Role of the United Nations Security Council
In late May 2013, the UN Security Council added Al Nusrah to the UNSC “Al-Qaida Sanctions List.” Yet at the same time, the Security Council decision casually dismissed the fact, amply documented, that three permanent members of the Council, namely Britain, France and the US continue to provide military aid to the Jabbat Al Nusrah Front, in defiance of international law and the UN Charter.
THE TERRORIST DESIGNATION OF AL NUSRAH BY THE US STATE DEPARTMENT
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson December 11, 2012
STATEMENT BY VICTORIA NULAND, SPOKESPERSON
Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa’ida in Iraq
The Department of State has amended the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 designations of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) to include the following new aliases: al-Nusrah Front, Jabhat al-Nusrah, Jabhet al-Nusra, The Victory Front, and Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant. The Department of State previously designated AQI as an FTO under the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under E.O. 13224 on October 15, 2004. The consequences of adding al-Nusrah Front as a new alias for AQI include a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, al-Nusrah Front, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons.
Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed. Through these attacks, al-Nusrah has sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes. AQI emir Abu Du’a is in control of both AQI and al-Nusrah. Abu Du’a was designated by the State Department under E.O. 13224 on October 3, 2011, and by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 on October 5, 2011. Abu Du’a also issues strategic guidance to al-Nusrah’s emir, Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, and tasked him to begin operations in Syria.
The United States takes this action in the context of our overall support for the Syrian people. We have provided approximately $50 million in non-lethal assistance to the unarmed civilian opposition and nearly $200 million in humanitarian assistance to those affected by the violence in Syria. The violent, sectarian vision of al-Nusrah is at odds with the aspirations of the Syrian people, including the overwhelming majority of the Syrian opposition, who seek a free, democratic, and inclusive Syria and have made clear their desire for a government that respects and advances national unity, dignity, human rights, and equal protection under the law – regardless of faith, ethnicity, or gender. Extremism and terrorist ideology have no place in a post-Asad Syria, and all responsible Syrians should speak out against al-Qa’ida and other extremist elements. By opting for the use of force against its own people, the Asad regime has created the circumstances that attract the violent extremists of al Qa’ida, who seek to exploit civil strife for their own purposes. The sooner the political transition to a post-Asad Syria begins, the better it will be for the Syrian people and the region.
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee Amends Entry of One Entity on Its Sanctions List
On 30 May 2013, the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities approved the amendments specified with underline in the entry below on its Al-Qaida Sanctions List of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2083 (2012) adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.
B. Entities and other groups and undertakings associated with Al-Qaida
QE.J.115.04. Name: AL-QAIDA IN IRAQ
Name (original script): القاعده في العراق
A.k.a.: a) AQI b) al-Tawhid c) the Monotheism and Jihad Group d) Qaida of the Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers e) Al-Qaida of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers f) The Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers g) The Organization Base of Jihad/Country of the Two Rivers h) The Organization Base of Jihad/Mesopotamia i) Tanzim Qa’idat Al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn j) Tanzeem Qa’idat al Jihad/Bilad al Raafidaini k) Jama’at Al-Tawhid Wa’al-Jihad l) JTJ m) Islamic State of Iraq n) ISI o) al-Zarqawi network p)Jabhat al Nusrah q) Jabhet al-Nusra r) Al-Nusrah Front s) The Victory Front t) Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant ( ﺍﻠﺷﺍﻢ ﻷﻫﻝ ﺍﻟﻨﺻﺮﺓ ﺠﺑﻬﺔ ) u) Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant F.k.a.: na Address: na Listed on: 18 Oct. 2004 (amended on 2 Dec. 2004, 5 Mar. 2009, 13 Dec. 2011, 30 May 2013) Other information: Review pursuant to Security Council resolution 1822 (2008) was concluded on 25 May 2010.
The Committee’s Al-Qaida Sanctions List is updated regularly on the basis of relevant information provided by Member States and international and regional organizations. This is the thirteenth update of the List in 2013. An updated List is accessible on the Committee’s website at the following URL: http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/aq_sanctions_list.shtml.
|Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the Western countries for arming foreign-backed militants fighting the Syrian government, warning that such move contradicts basic human values since the armed groups are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
During a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday, Putin said: “You will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras. Are these the people you want to support? Is it them who you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to humanitarian values that have been preached in Europe for hundreds of years.”
Putin was referring to video footage surfaced on the Internet last month of a militant eating what appeared to be the heart of a dead Syrian soldier. In an interview with Time magazine on May 14, the cannibal militant, known by his nom de guerre Abu Sakkar, confirmed that the video is real and that he did indeed take a bite of the soldier’s lung. Human Rights Watch said it was a war crime.
Putin said that Russia by contrast was arming the legitimate government of Syria “We are not breaching any rules and norms and we call on all our partners to act in the same fashion,” he said.
Speaking after a difficult meeting with Putin in Northern Ireland, Cameron claimed both men were in agreement on the need to end the human catastrophe of the Syrian crisis. But there was little to suggest the two men made progress on how to convene a fresh Syrian peace conference in Geneva, let alone who should attend, or its agenda.
“There are very big differences between the analysis we have of what happened in Syria and who is to blame but where there is common ground is that we both see a humanitarian catastrophe,” Cameron said.
“What I take from our conversation today is that we can overcome these differences if we recognize that we share some fundamental aims: to end the conflict, to stop Syria breaking apart, to let the Syrian people decide who governs them and to take the fight to the extremists and defeat them,” he said.
الإثنين، 17 حزيران، 2013
أكد الناطق الرسمي باسم الخارجية الروسية الكسندر لوكاشيفتش أن روسيا لن تسمح بفرض منطقة حظر جوي في سوريا. وقال لوكاشيفتش في مؤتمر صحفي “نحن لن نسمح بسيناريو كهذا”، مشيراً إلى أن “جميع هذه المناورات حول مناطق الحظر الجوي والممرات الإنسانية سببها عدم احترام القانون الدولي”. وأشار لوكاشيفتش إلى أن موقف روسيا “واضح ومبدئي” حيال فرض حظر جوي. وتابع “لقد شاهدنا كيف تفرض هذه المناطق وكيف طبقت القرارات في ليبيا.. لا نريد أن يتكرر ذلك في الأزمة السورية.. لن نسمح بهذا السيناريو”. كما أوضح أن عقد توريد منظومة “اس ـ 300″ إلى سورية وقع في وقت سابق، مشيراً إلى أن العقد لم ينفذ حتى هذه اللحظة، مشدداً على أن روسيا لا تخرق القوانين الدولية عبر توريد الأسلحة إلى الحكومة السورية. وتابع لوكاشيفتش أن قرار ارسال قوات حفظ سلام روسية إلى منطقة هضبة الجولان عوضاً عن الكتيبة النمساوية لم يتم اتخاذه بعد. وأكد المسؤول الروسي على أن الشرط الرئيسي لذلك هو “موافقة كل من سورية وإسرائيل والأمم المتحدة على ذلك.. عندها كونوا على ثقة بأن قواتنا ستنفذ مهمتها بإخلاص
By MAtt Carr Infernal Machine 15 June 2013
Galvanised by the reversals inflicted on the Syrian rebels in recent weeks, their foreign supporters have decided to lay the groundwork for further madness and folly. Two weeks ago Britain and France, the old colonial powers, managed to browbeat the European Union into abrogating its weapons embargo on Syria.
This, Hague informed the public with the deadpan expression of a fool or an accomplished liar, was intended to contribute to the peace conference in Geneva next month, by bolstering ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels.
Now, the Imperium has announced that the US is to start sending lethal weapons to the rebels.
This decision has been taken after some hesitation, possibly because of divisions within the US foreign policy establishment about its limited and risky strategic options in Syria, and the reticence of the US public about getting involved in yet another ‘quagmire’ in the Middle East.
In doing so Obama has accepted the prescriptions of Republican swamp people like Lindsey Graham and the psychotic John McCain, a man who has never seen an Arab or Muslim country that he didn’t want to bomb into smithereens. The Noble Prize winner also has the support of that faux-humanitarian elder statesman Bill Clinton, who told McCain himself last week
‘Some people say, ‘OK, see what a big mess it is? Stay out!’ I think that’s a big mistake. I agree with you about this. Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying, as long as you don’t over-commit — like, as long as you don’t make an improvident commitment.’
That is really quite a dumb statement, especially when addressed to a man who has made ‘improvident commitments’ something of a speciality, at the McCain Institute for International Leadership – a truly laughable concept.
Obama’s decision is further proof that his peace prize may go down as one of the worst decisions ever taken by the Swedish academy. It is based on a combination of lying and manipulation that is so gross and so hollow on virtually every level, that it defies belief that those involved could even think that anyone will take it seriously.
The US says that it has ‘conclusive evidence’ that Assad’s forces used sarin on at least four occasions, killing between 100 and 150 people. David Cameron says that Assad has used it twice, on the basis of tests carried out by none other than the joint intelligence committee at Porton Down, which definitively settles the matter.
Well I haven’t seen any evidence at all, but all this has a horrible stench of fabrication and deja vu. Why would Assad regime use sarin gas against the rebels, when it has been doing perfectly well with the conventional weapons that it already has? If he was going to use sarin, why would he use it in such low quantities? Why would he want to give the ‘international community’ a pretext to attack him?
There are no credible answers to any of these questions, but neither the US, British or French governments appear to have even asked them. Both Cameron and the US have nevertheless dismissed allegations from the UN Independent Commission on Syria last month that the Syrian rebels themselves may have used chemical weapons.
The US declared itself to be ‘highly sceptical’ about these allegations, even though it ‘knows’ that the allegations against Assad are true. And Cameron also says he has seen no ‘credible evidence’ that rebels have used sarin.
Of course Syrian rebels may not have used it. But it’s certainly in their interest to make it look as though Assad does, and they clearly understand they understand the essential tropes that Western governments use prepare the public for the neo-imperialist ‘interventions’ of the early 21st century.
Firstly, cultivate security fears about ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in the hands of ‘brutal dictators’ that might end up in the hands of ‘terrorists’. Prove – or at least allege – that said dictators have used these weapons ‘against their own people’ in order to suggest that they might use them against ‘us.’
Usually suggestions are enough, because the ‘risk averse’ post 9-11 climate means that you don’t actually have to prove that these imaginary weapons would be used by hypothetical terrorists or ‘rogue states’ – just the possibility is sufficient to act as a trigger for intervention.
This process is preferably managed and legitimized by presenting it as a joint decision taken by the ‘international community’, rather than by a handful of powerful governments, in order to lock the target country into an intrusive inspections/sanctions regime that few governments will ever accept – least of all the governments that are actually imposing it.
Once these structures are in place, it then becomes possible to escalate the level of demands so that the regime can be accused of non-compliance, and such reticence or defiance can then be used to get the UN Security Council to rubber stamp whatever measures are felt to be necessary.
This legalistic scam is rarely sufficient in itself. Morality is also required. It’s necessary to keep the public in a constant state of moral blackmail by highlighting and sometimes exaggerating atrocities and killings of civilians – by the target regime only – in order to induce a mood of desperate guilt and humanitarian empathy, accompanied by agonized exhortations that ‘we’ must ‘ do something’ or ‘stop the massacre’ – regardless of who is doing the massacres.
The public doesn’t actually have to come out into the streets for this manipulation to be effective, let alone go off to Baghdad or Damascus to fight the good fight. But it needs to be brought to that pitch of horror and indignation when it can breathe a collective sigh of relief that something is at least being ‘done’ to ‘stop the killing’, whether it’s weapons shipments, no fly zones or bombing.
It’s not surprising therefore, that in the same week that the US announced its decision to start sending weapons, the UN published statistics showing that 99, 901 people have been killed in Syria. Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, cited these statistics as evidence that ‘civilians are bearing the brunt’ of the violence in Syria.
These conclusions, as McClatchy News points out, are not borne out even by the figures of the resolutely anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Syrian Observatory claims that 96,431 people have died in Syria, of whom 24,617 are members of the Syrian security forces and 17,031 members of pro-government militias – 43.2 percent of the total.
Civilian noncombatants came next, at 35,479, or 36.8 percent of the total, while deaths of anti-Assad fighters totaled 16,699, or 17.3 percent.
These statistics, if accurate, suggest that there is a war taking place in Syria, not a one-sided ‘massacre’ perpetrated by the regime that ‘we’ must ‘do something’ about.
So we should be clear about this. Obama’s decision to send weapons will not ‘shorten’ the war. It is not humanitarian. It will not save lives. It will not bring about peace or reconciliation for Syria, or victory for the Syria rebels, or the end of Assad’s regime. It will not bring democracy, negotiation or boost the ‘moderates.’
These weapons will go, as they did in Afghanistan, to the most effective fighters, and if they happen to consist of heart-eating ‘jihadists’, and groups that kill 15-year-old boys for blasphemy and carry out sectarian massacres, so be it.
If ‘stopping the killing’ was a priority, then the governments that are planning to send these weapons would use all their influence to bring the ‘moderate’ rebels to the negotiating table and give the conference in Geneva a chance of success, in order to help facilitate a framework for some kind of political settlement to be decided by Syrians, without interference from any foreign power.
But neither the US nor its allies in the region are interested in this. Cameron may talk about cultivating rebels concerned with ‘ a positive, democratic and pluralistic Syria’ because it is convenient and pretty to use that kind of language. But what the British government wants is what the US wants: to bring down Assad and establish a pliant regime in his place; to move on to Iran and Hezbollah and to reshape the Middle East in their own interests, no matter how many deaths it takes in Syria or anywhere else.
And what Obama has done will only fan the flames of a proxy war in Syria that has already sucked in countries throughout the whole region, and may yet end up turning what is already a terrible tragedy into a catastrophic regional war.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, rounded on Britain on Sunday, accusing David Cameron of betraying humanitarian values by supporting Syrian rebels with “blood on their hands”.
In harsh and undiplomatic language, Mr Putin accused the UK and other Western powers of attempting to arm rebels who “kill their enemies and eat their organs”. He insisted that Russia would continue to arm what he said was the recognised “legitimate government” in Syria and called on other countries to respect the same rules.
Mr Putin’s comments, ahead of Monday’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland, suggest that earlier British hopes of a softening of Russia’s position on Syria were misplaced. After around an hour of bilateral talks with David Cameron in Downing Street, Mr Putin’s spokesman told The Independent that the two sides remained as far apart as ever.
“There are very serious disagreements in terms of who is guilty and who is to blame,” he said. Asked what the impact of the American decision to arm Syrian rebels would be on potential peace talks, he added: “It makes it harder.”
In a press conference after the talks, Mr Cameron admitted that “President Putin and I have our disagreements on some of the issues”, but insisted the G8 could bring “new momentum and leadership” to start negotiations in Syria.
“What I take from our conversation today is that we can overcome differences if we recognise that we share some fundamental aims: to end the conflict, to stop Syria breaking apart, to let the Syrian people choose who governs them and to take the fight to the extremists,” he said.
“If we leave Syria to be fought over between a murderous dictator and violent extremists we will all pay the price,” he added.
But when Mr Putin was asked by British journalists about comments by Mr Cameron last year – that those supporting President Assad had the blood of Syrian children on their hands – he reacted angrily. He said: “One does not need to support people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras. Are these the people you want to support?
“Is it them you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to humanitarian values that have been preached in Europe for hundreds of years.”
Mr Putin was referring to video footage on the internet of one rebel fighter eating what appeared to be the heart of a government soldier.
Downing Street sources said the talks had gone better than the press conference suggested.
Mr Cameron denied that Britain wanted to arm extremists within the Syrian opposition and defended the lifting of the EU arms embargo on supplying weapons to the rebels.
“We, rightly, changed the terms of the EU arms embargo because it was almost saying there was some sort of equivalence between Assad on the one hand and the official Syrian opposition on the other,” he said.
“The Syrian opposition have committed to a democratic, pluralistic Syria that will respect minorities, including Christians.”
In an interview with the BBC last night, Mr Cameron went further and said that Western powers needed to arm the rebels precisely to prevent the opposition being dominated by extremists.
“If we don’t work with the Syrian opposition then we shouldn’t be surprised when the only parts of the Syrian opposition that are proving effective are the most extreme and the most dangerous,” he said.
“I want to avoid that. One of the things I hope I will be able to agree with President Putin – although we come at this from a different angle – is that we’ll all be better off if we can expel al-Qa’ida extremists from Syria.”
But ahead of Monday’s G8 summit, Mr Cameron appears increasingly isolated domestically over his enthusiasm for greater British involvement in Syria.
At least five cabinet ministers have expressed their private opposition to the plan, while a significant number of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs have indicated that they would be prepared to vote against the Government if it is put to a vote in the House of Commons.
Nick Clegg stressed on Sunday that no UK decision on arming the rebels appeared imminent. The Deputy Prime Minister told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “At this point we’re not providing arms. If we wanted to, we would do it. We clearly don’t think it is the right thing to do now or else we would have decided to do it.”
Describing the provision of non-lethal equipment, which is the current strategy, Mr Clegg insisted it was possible for the UK to take a different position from that of the Americans.
“We need to work in concert with our allies but we do not need to do the identical thing,” he said.
Other senior figures called on Mr Cameron to stay out of the conflict. The Conservative MP Julian Lewis warned against Britain getting involved in the “snakepit” of the Syrian conflict, and predicted the Prime Minister would struggle to get MPs to agree to arm the rebels.
“I have little doubt that the Prime Minister would struggle to get this approved by Parliament because so many of us think it’s not in the British national interest to get involved with this snakepit,” he said.
The former head of the Army, Lord Dannatt, also cautioned that supplying arms to the Syrian opposition could turn into a “much larger intervention”.
He said: “I’m very much in the camp of those who would not wish to be involved and intervene in any shape or form.
“Goodness, if we’ve learned anything in the last few years, it is that we don’t get involved in another intervention without having a very clear idea of what we’re going to do, who we’re going to help, what the plan is, and what the exit strategy is. Surely we’ve not all forgotten those lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan so quickly?”