Will U.S. Partition Syria?

Will U.S. Partition Syria?

By Sharmine Narwani

U.S. strategy seems to be shifting toward creating a buffer state between Iran and Israel.

May 13, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – BEIRUT—Given the rhetoric of most U.S. policymakers, one might conclude that the conflict in Syria is about establishing freedom and democracy in the Levantine state. But no genuine aspiration for democracy ever came from a line-up of allies that includes countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, and Turkey. Seen from the Middle East, American intervention here appears to be aimed at putting the last genuinely independent Arab state under Washington’s sphere of influence—and cutting off a key Iranian ally in the region.

Today, after six years of regime-change operations that failed to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and install a compliant regime in Damascus, the west’s strategy seems to be shifting toward partitioning Syria. Specifically, the new U.S. policy would seek to sever the unimpeded geographic line between Iran and Israel by creating a buffer entity that runs through Iraq and Syria.

But here’s the twist: in Syria’s northeast/east and in Iraq’s northwest/west, where the Islamic State once occupied a vast swathe of territory, ISIS has helped to enable this U.S. goal by delineating the borders of this future buffer zone.

The only question is which U.S. “asset” will rule that buffer zone once it is liberated from ISIS. Would it be Sunni Arabs of the sectarian variety? A declassified 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report seemed to suggest this option when it confirmed U.S. and Western support for the establishment of a “Salafist Principality” on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Or will it be a Kurdish-ruled zone? U.S.-Kurdish machinations have, after all, borne a similar Shia-thwarting buffer on Iran’s western border with Iraq, with the creation of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) headed by the famously opportunistic and corrupt Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani.

Either way, what transpired is this: ISIS occupied the areas flanking Syria and Iraq’s northern border. The U.S.-led coalition has had a presence in these territories for several years, without impairing ISIS control. At the right time, under U.S. cover, Kurds are moving in to “recapture” them.

Kurds constitute a minority in all these governorates, which is how the presence of ISIS became a valuable U.S./Kurdish strategic asset. ISIS’s invasion of these areas is delineating the borders of the new entity and depopulating it—creating an opportunity for Washington to champion the Kurds as the primary “liberating” force within those borders, after which Kurds can claim this territorial bounty.

“This is conquest masquerading as liberation,” says Assyrian writer Max Joseph, who explains how KDP Peshmerga forces disarmed Assyrian Christians and Yezidis two weeks before ISIS invaded in August 2014, then retreated from their promise to protect those populations just as ISIS entered Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains.

In the immediate aftermath of the ISIS invasion, Reuters quoted a KRG official saying: “Everyone is worried, but this is a big chance for us. ISIL gave us in two weeks what Maliki couldn’t give us in eight years.”

“By disarming and disabling communities who live in territories the Kurdish leadership have designs on controlling, then letting a ready-made aggressive foreign force invade and uproot native communities, forcing them to flee, KRG forces backed by Western airstrikes will be seen as ‘retaking’ land never even theirs,” explains Joseph.

Two years later, in July 2016, the KRG’s Peshmerga ministry gave credence to those claims by announcing that “Peshmerga forces will not withdraw from areas they have recaptured from the Islamic State.”

This is nothing less than an attempt to establish “Kurdistan,” a nation for the historically stateless Kurds, which has long-envisioned swallowing up parts of Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran.

Some context helps explain the current situation. The KDP-ruled Kurdish entity in Iraq currently governs vast areas stretching from Iran’s western border to the Turkish border, stopping short east of Mosul and Kirkuk (an oil-rich city it openly covets). But the KDP has aspirations that run through Mosul to the western province of Nineveh—the historic home of a Christian Assyrian population—which would create a contiguous line across the north of Iraq to the Syrian border.

Last week, the “Kurdistan” flag was hoisted above all government buildings in Kirkuk—a move deemed unconstitutional and opposed by local non-Kurdish leaders and the Iraqi government alike.

A Syrian-Kurdish Entity?

In Syria, one can see a picture developing that mirrors Iraq’s experiences with the Kurds, Americans, and ISIS. Under U.S. patronage, areas occupied by the terror group are allowed to be “recaptured” by Kurdish forces, with a smattering of subordinate Arab Sunni forces to lend broader legitimacy.

Kurdish-controlled territory now traverses much of Syria’s three northern governorates where Kurds remain a minority—Hasakah, Raqqa, and Aleppo—and has earned the wrath of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has sent in troops and Arab proxies to break this “Kurdish corridor,” placing him in direct confrontation with the objectives of Washington, his NATO ally.

The Kurdish Nationalist Party (PYD) and its military wing. the People’s Protection Units (YPG), have unilaterally declared Hasakah a federal Kurdish state, a designation that is unrecognized by the Syrian government and other states. But Kurds barely make up 40 percent of the governorate’s population, which consists of Assyrians, Arabs, Armenians, Turkmen, and other ethnic groups as well. Likewise, in Aleppo, the most populous of Syria’s 14 governorates, where 40 percent of Syrian Kurds reside, Kurds make up only 15 percent of the population and are a majority only in Afrin and Ayn al-Arab (Kobane).

Meanwhile, Kurdish nationalists identify all of Hasakah and northern Raqqa/ Aleppo as “Rojova”—or Western Kurdistan—even though significant Kurdish populations live outside these areas and significant non-Kurdish populations live within them. Furthermore, many of these Kurds are not of Syrian origin, but fled Turkey last century after several failed uprisings against that state. The entire Kurdish population of Syria amounts to about 10 percent (although figures are slightly disputed both upward and downward). Hundreds of thousands of Kurds have since fled the conflict in Syria for safer shores. And there is not a single contiguous line of Kurdish majority-populated areas from the northeast to northwest of Syria.

Yet the U.S. is storming ahead with Project Buffer State, erecting military bases left, right, and center, in violation of Syria’s sovereignty and international law. Various news reports claim the Pentagon and its 1,000 or so troops in Syria have established up to six bases in the north of the country—in the Rmelan region near the Iraqi border, in Qamishli (Hasakah), Kobane (Aleppo), and now in Tabqa, several dozen kilometers west of the ISIS capital of Raqqa.

But the American plan to storm Raqqa has stalled due to Turkey’s refusal to be excluded, and its objection to Syrian Kurdish involvement. Washington wants its Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) allies to liberate the city, but this group consists mainly of YPG Kurds who are aligned with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a Turkish and U.S.-designated terrorist group. The U.S. pretends these Kurdish militias are the only fighting force that can defeat ISIS. Never mind that the Syrian army and its allied troops have been defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants around the country for years.

The inconvenient fact is, besides the Kurds—not all of whom back the U.S. project on the Syrian-Iraqi border—no forces have fought ISIS and other terrorist groups more successfully than the Syrian army and its Iranian, Russian, and Hezbollah allies.

By contrast, ISIS actually expanded and strengthened after the U.S.-led coalition began its strikes against the terror group. Recall ISIS trekking in plain sight across the Syrian border from Iraq to capture Palmyra—or tankers filled with ISIS oil crossing over to Turkey with nary a U.S. strike. It wasn’t until the Russian air force entered the fray and shamed the U.S. coalition that ISIS began to suffer some defeats. Washington had only really contained ISIS within the borders it was shaping, not struck any serious blows to the group.

After all, it is Washington’s awkward alliance in the region—Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Britain, France, Israel—that has supported the growth of ISIS and like-minded extremists. U.S. President Donald Trump even went so far as to accuse his predecessor Barack Obama of being “the founder of ISIS.”

Certainly, Obama watched as his Turkish NATO ally allowed ISIS freedom of movement across its borders and purchased its stolen oil in bulk. We also now know via email leaks that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was aware that U.S. anti-ISIS coalition allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding ISIS.

Why would Washington tolerate allied support of the very terrorist group it claims to want to destroy? By portraying ISIS as the worst of all terror groups, al-Qaeda and its affiliates—by far the most efficient fighting force against the Syrian army and its allies—were able to fly under the radar to fight for regime change. Furthermore, a globally demonized ISIS has also provided justification for direct Western action that might otherwise have been impossible after “humanitarian interventions” lost their allure, post-Libya. Finally, this supposedly very dangerous ISIS was able to invade and occupy, for great lengths of time, territories on the Syrian-Iraqi border that would create the boundaries for a buffer state that could eventually be “liberated” and led by Western-controlled proxies.

Stealing Syria

If the U.S. forges ahead with plans to lead its Kurdish allies into the Raqqa battle it will risk further alienating Turkey. Don’t expect ISIS to be defeated, however. Instead, expect ISIS to be driven southward toward Deirezzor and other eastern points along Iraq’s border, where the terror group’s presence can act yet again as a U.S. strategic asset—specifically, by moving the fight away from Washington’s Kurdish project in the north and hindering the ability of Iraqi militias to cross the border in aid of Syrian troops.

That’s not such a leap. Deirezzor is where U.S. fighter jets bombed the Syrian army for an hour straight last September, killing over 100 Syrian forces. The strikes enabled ISIS to capture several strategic points around Deirezzor airport, which the Syrian state was dependent on to protect populations in the ISIS-besieged area. The Pentagon swore it was an error, the Syrians and Russians swore it was not.

Meanwhile, in Syria’s south, U.S.-backed militants, aided by Jordanians, Saudis, and the usual Western suspects,  are rallying their forces to expand the ground battle inside Syria.

Why the sudden surge of activity? Mainly because the Syrian government and its allies have, since the liberation of East Aleppo in January, succeeded in pushing back terrorists in key areas, regaining strategic territory, and striking reconciliation and ceasefire deals in other parts of the state.

“Western states with the United States at their head interfere in favor of the terrorists whenever the Syrian Arab Army makes a significant advance,” Assad observed in a recent interview.

But the U.S. overestimates its capabilities. With few troops on the ground, radical militants as allies, and pushback from Syria, Iran, Turkey, Russia, and Iraq, Washington will face a steep climb ahead.

In fact, all U.S. gains could be abruptly reversed with this one Kurdish card. Nothing is more likely to draw Syrians, Iraqis, Turks, and Iranians together than the threat of a Kurdish national entity that will seek to carve itself out of these four states. And as the U.S. tries to establish “self-rule” by its allies in the northeast of Syria, it will once again be confronted with the same crippling infighting that comes from foisting an un-organic leadership onto populations.

Syria will become an American quagmire. Washington simply cannot manage its partition plans with so few troops on the ground, surrounded by the terror forces it so recently spawned, as able adversaries chip away at its project. Stealing Syria will not be an easy trick.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Mideast geopolitics, based in Beirut.

This article was first published by The American Conservative

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Who Is Destroying Syria?

The Arab Gulf States, Israel, and Turkey all prefer anarchy to Assad.

By Philip Giraldi

May 08, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  The United Nations Charter, to which all member states are signatories and which prevails over all other treaties and agreements, states that the organization is obligated to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and nonmilitary action to “restore international peace and security.”

The justices at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 concluded that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

The U.S. Constitution’s Article I states that only Congress has the authority to declare war, with the understanding that, per Article II, the president is empowered to respond to a “sudden” or imminent threat only if there is no time to pass such a declaration. An Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)amended in 2016 grants the president blanket authority to respond militarily to threats against the United States, but only if they originated with al-Qaeda and “associated forces.”

So how is it that on April 6 the United States attacked a fellow member state in the United Nations that has an internationally recognized sovereign government? That member state posed no imminent threat, had not attacked the United States, and was not at war with Washington. Nor did that member state consist of or support al-Qaeda or an associated group, and it was not under sanction from the United Nations Security Council to authorize any other member state to act against it. On the contrary, that member state was actively fighting several terrorist groups as defined by the U.S. government that had occupied its sovereign territory.

I am, of course, referring to the cruise-missile attack on Syria, which many critics are belatedly recognizing to be illegal under both international and U.S. law. But illegality being related to the ability to enforce the law, there has been little apparent desire on the part of the United Nations to bring Washington to heel, and the U.S. would surely use its Security Council veto to stop any undesirable UN action.

The United States has been backing various schemes to undermine and force “regime change” on Baathist rule in Syria since 2006, well before the so-called Arab Spring brought protests to the streets of Damascus. More recently, Washington has been arming and training so-called rebels against the Bashar al-Assad regime, ostensibly in unrealistic hopes that some kind of transition to a moderate, pro-Western regime might take place. Current White House policy appears to consist of putting pressure on ISIS and al-Qaeda-linked al-Ansar, which the Syrian government is fighting, while also demanding the replacement of Assad to permit resumption of all-party peace talks. Apart from those general markers, there has been little attention paid to what might happen on day two, after Assad is gone. Reasonable concerns that the vacuum created might be filled by radical Islamists have largely been ignored.

But even if the United States policy is a muddle, there are others in the region who know what they want and are pretty sure what they have to do to get there. Saudi Arabia and Qatar also have been fighting an unsanctioned and illegal war against Syria with very little in the way of pushback from the international community. They have been hostile to Syria’s government for two decades and began bankrolling and arming dissidents inside the country after fighting began in 2011. Their reasoning is that Syria has become an ally of Iran and Lebanese Shi’ites, including Hezbollah, threatening to create a ring of Shi’ite-dominated territories that will cut across the middle of the Arab Middle East and empower the government in Tehran, which the Saudis in particular see as their regional enemy. It is also possible that the Saudi export of militant Wahhabism also plays a role; Syria, which like Iraq before it is tolerant of most religions, is often accused of being both unacceptably secular and supportive of heretics.

So the Saudis would like to see a Syria in which the Sunni Arabs are dominant, which will presumably lead to discrimination against Shi’ites, Alawites, and Christians—as well as a severing of political ties with Iran. In reality, a broken Syria would likely turn out much like neighboring Iraq, with minorities in trouble and a lack of effective central control. But that would be all right with Riyadh, as it would mean the alliance with Iran would be de facto dissolved. Whether the Syrians would benefit from the change is immaterial as perceived through the optic of Saudi interests.

Turkey would also like to see Assad gone and a Syria in chaos. On April 25, Ankara attacked Kurdish targets in both Syria and Iraq, including members of the YPG militia, who are U.S.-trained and -supplied allies against ISIS. Twenty YPG militiamen were reported killed. The Turks claim that virtually all armed Kurdish groups are terrorists, allied with Turkey’s domestic terrorism problem, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). Turkey particularly fears that Syria will permit the creation of a Kurdish-dominated entity along their mutual long and difficult-to-defend border. It wants Assad out because it has accused him, perhaps rightly, of supporting the incursions of Kurdish terrorists, but it chooses to ignore the fact that the current problems with the Kurds were in part initiated by the government of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish leader needed a credible enemy for internal political reasons, to discredit a largely Kurdish party that opposed him.

Turkey has supported ISIS in the past, including treating their wounded in Turkish hospitals and allowing them to regroup in safe havens inside Turkey, mostly because the terrorist group is a foe of the Kurds. It has also been plausibly claimed that Ankara supplied the sarin that was used in several attacks on Syrian civilians that have been conveniently blamed on the government in Damascus. The shoot-down of a Russian fighter bomber in December 2015 may have also been a crude attempt to draw the U.S. and NATO into a war against Assad and Moscow. Ironically, playing both sides in an all-too-visible attempt to bring down Assad has destroyed any credibility that Erdogan has. And weakening Syrian central-government control and de facto handing power over to a ragtag of rebels and local tribesmen will virtually guarantee the emergence of a Kurdish statelet, but Ankara is apparently not thinking that far ahead.

Finally, there is Israel. Israel, unlike Syria’s other adversaries, has been seeking to destabilize its neighbor for more than 20 years and has little or nothing to do with either Iran or the Kurds. The Yinon Plan of 1982, drafted when hard-right politician Menachim Begin was prime minister, was outlined in a paper entitled “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s.” It maintained that Israel’s security would be guaranteed only if its neighbors were to be somehow forced or otherwise induced to come apart and return to their tribal, ethnic, and religious constituencies, which had been arbitrarily combined into individual nation-states by the imperial powers after World War I. The Yinon Plan included recommendations for military action to accomplish what might not be done more clandestinely, including an Israeli invasion of Syria to break the country down into Alawite, Druze, Sunni, and Christian communities. A fragmented Arab world creating a “Balkanized” weak-state system for the region, combined with relocation of the Palestinians to Jordan, would remove all the threats to Israel’s survival.

The Yinon Plan never became official Israeli government policy. But it might be seen as a blueprint for the regional actions subsequently undertaken by Tel Aviv, which have persistently sought to weaken Arab governments perceived as being too powerful or threatening. A second paper, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” followed in 1996, during the prime ministry of Benjamin Netanyahu. It was authored by a group of American neoconservatives that included Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, and Meyran and David Wurmser. It advocated a policy of preemption for Israel and was particularly focused on Iraq and Syria as enemies. Once critic described the document as endorsing “a mini-cold war in the Middle East, advocating the use of proxy armies for regime changes, destabilization and containment.”

More recently, Israeli officials have made clear that they would prefer to have “moderate rebels” in control in Syria than the Assad government. They have reportedly provided medical care for wounded militants, possibly including ISIS. It would appear that there is a de facto truce between the Israeli military and ISIS, as ISIS reportedly apologized when one of its associated groups fired on IDF units in the Golan Heights back in November.

Israel has carried out a number of air strikes against Syrian bases and military units, most recently a missile attack near Damascus on April 27. There are also reports that it is already using its new U.S.-provided F-35 stealth fighters for combat missions against Syria.

Israel would prefer to have a fragmented political situation across its border rather than a unified and capable government. The former constitutes an easily containable threat, while the latter will no doubt continue efforts to regain most of the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied in 1967 and continues to hold. So the choice for the Israeli government is a simple one—and it does not include whatever the United States might currently be envisioning. It is, in fact, much closer to what Turkey and the Saudis want.

Daniel Larison has frequently warned that the U.S. is encumbered with allies that are allies in name but not in reality. In terms of actual national interests, it should be observed that the Saudis, Qataris, Turks, and Israelis are all currently (or have been recently) in bed with terrorist groups that the United States is pledged to destroy. All of them have either directly attacked or arranged for surrogates to attack the legitimate Syrian government, which is opposing ISIS and al-Ansar on the battlefield. Turkey has also attacked Kurdish militiamen allied with and trained by Washington.

The Trump administration will certainly not pressure Israel to change course when the president travels to Jerusalem later this month. Apart from anything else, Trump will be aware that Republicans in Congress have launched an Israel Victory Caucus and that all 100 senators have recently signed a letter to the United Nations demanding that it abandon its “anti-Israel bias.” So there is no wiggle room there. Nor will The Donald squeeze President Erdogan when he arrives in Washington next week, for fear that the already feckless and foundering Syria policy will become even more unmanageable. And the Saudis are always there in the background, using their money weapon to buy influence and manage the narrative.

So the answer to the question “Who is destroying Syria?” must be “Pretty much everyone.” Though there are different motives surfacing regularly by the key players to justify the continued carnage. From the commentary coming out of the foreign and defense ministries in Washington, Riyadh, Ankara, and Tel Aviv, it is more than a bit hard to discern if there might be a way out of this quagmire. Otherwise, it appears that it will continue to be business as usual until everyone gets tired, declares victory, and goes home.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

This article was first published by The American Conservative

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

“Reporter Actually In S-Y-R-I-A Exposes Media Lies About Everything “

 

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MALOULA: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET”

the real Syrian Free Press

In 2013, 5 young men were kidnapped from the ancient Christian town of Maloula, during the NATO and Gulf state funded, Nusra Front/Free Syrian Army-led invasion of this extraordinary hillside town, that still teaches the language of Christ in its schools, Aramaic. For the first six months, after their kidnap, their families remained in contact with the kidnappers among the Free Syrian Army or so called “moderates” & Nusra Front aka Al Qaeda, then communications ended abruptly.
These hopes were cruelly destroyed recently when the executed bodies of the 5 young men were found close to the Syrian border and were identified as the kidnap victims.

The Martyrs’ names are : Ghassan Michael Shnis, Atef Ragheb Kalomeh, Shady Michael Thalab, Daoud Sarkis Milaneh and Jihad Mtanios Thalab.
The grief and rage was palpable, both from those close family members walking with the coffins and from the people of Damascus who…

HILFAAYAA LIBERATED COMPLETELY AS SYRIAN ARMY THUNDERS TOWARD REMANT RODENTS SCURRYING BACK TO IDLIB; RODENTS SUFFERING DEFEAT IN DER’AH

Ziad Fadel

Syrian soldiers ascend a hilltop to declare victory over the darkness of Wahhabism in Northern Hama.

 

Terroristas de Al Nusra muertos en Hama

HAMA:  Hilfaayaa has been thoroughly deloused.  The United States tried to slow down the onslaught by attacking an airbase at Shu’ayraat which resulted in no appreciable diminution in the intensity of the Syrian Army’s campaign to eradicate every terrorist on Syrian soil.  In fact, the attack on the airbase exposed serious problems with American missile design and maintenance while underlining the superiority of Russian anti-missile technology.  But, all that is quite academic since the Syrian Army continues to achieve victory after victory all over Syria.

The Syrian military has confirmed the deaths of 158 mostly Saudi, Emirati and Turkish hyenas whose carcasses have been collected into groupings of fertilizer bags such as the one seen in the foregoing photograph.  They belonged to Alqaeda/Nusra, Jaysh Al-‘Izza, Jaysh Al-Nassr.  Among the dead were 5 field commanders, one of whom was styled “Abu Qudaamaa”, another Saudi pervert and child molester.  The Syrian Army and its allies also seized 4 missiles, destroyed a tank, 14 cannons, 1 booby-trapped car, 7 mortars and shells, 2 pickups with 23mm cannons,  and two entire warehouses filled with goodies.  All told, the SAA also annihilated 38+ vehicles in what one source of mine said was the equivalent of another ‘Utayba. 

You cannot forget the crucial role played by the Russian Air Force flying out of Humaymeem Airbase in Latakia giving our soldiers complete aerial support.

Besides the Saudi runt, Abu Qudaamaa, here are the only Syrian in the group of terrorists exterminated yesterday and today:

Khaalid Al-Ghajar

Iyaad Al-Naddaaf (He’ll be carding cotton in Hell)

Yusuf Al-‘Abbood

Hassaan Al-‘Abbood

Ismaa’eel Badraan (Member of Jaysh Al-Nassr)

Kamaal Al-Dayri (Jaysh Al-‘Izza)

Jalaal Faarooq Hannoon

Ahmad Sa’eed Doodi (Doo Dah! Doo Dah!)

Mahmoud ‘Abdul-Razzaaq Harkas

Qaassim Muhammad Ameen

 

السيطرة على بلدة حلفايا بريف حماة الشمالي والقضاء على مئات الارهابيين

With the army moving constantly on mechanized wings, these towns have now been liberated in the area around Hilfaayaa:  Zilleen, Waybda, Butaysh, Zoor Al-Naasiriyya, Zoor Abu Zayd, Tal Al-Naasiriyya, Tal Al-Mintaar.

All the rodents who survived the SAA’s attack were seen heading to Idlib.

The SAA also took over a very important strategic position north of Sooraan near the Lihaayaa Axis.

____________________________________________

DER’AH:

I have discussed Der’ah and the Southern Front a few days ago.  It’s not going well for the U.S.-backed terrorist campaign.  It’s going so badly, in fact, that the U.S. is scrambling, with its Jordanian-Saudi-Turk-Zionist allies, to cobble together a new army to fight the Assad government and the Syrian people.  But, according to my source in Damascus, they are having such a hard time attracting new recruits that they have decided to go ahead and keep Alqaeda terrorists on the payroll in the hope they might, laughably, moderate their views of Christians, Alawis, Druze, Ismailis, Shi’a and Rastafarians.  It’s turning into a disaster which is impelling the Americans to tell the Saudis, who are the most pushy about Dr. Assad, that it might not work out after all.

Jordanian treason is now in full bloom.  There can be no question any longer about the half-breed king’s motives.  He must adhere to the Saudi/Qatari line or risk losing every source of rainy-day money he could ever count on.  His army, frankly, is not equipped to handle anything involving deep thought and his commanding officers are rankled by the fact that they are now on the side of Islamist terrorists.  This Tom-Thumb tyrant is not long for the throne.  Behind his back, however, the Syrian MI people continue to make inroads into the dwarf monarch’s General Intelligence Service.

The Saudis, who constantly quack about sending ground forces to help in Syria, are so lacking in credibility that such suggestions are treated as a running gag in Moscow. With the Saudis losing every battle in Yemen (only to find the sole face-saving way out by carpet-bombing civilians) they have squandered their Paper Tiger army and embraced the contempt of the world for their barbaric siege of the Yemeni people.  The Saudis cannot even count on their own soldiers.  They have been forced to seek out assistance from Egypt and Pakistan, all of whom pay lip service to their cause without sending a single recruit.  Mercenaries are the order of the day, whether in Yemen or Syria, and the Saudis are becoming increasingly aware of their precarious financial position.

Lessons from the reality of Saudi Arabia’s patented incompetence are many.  For one, the Saudis would fold like a tepee made of wooden skewers if war ever broke out between them and Iran.  Even the Saudis know this – which is why they are so spooked by Teheran.  And so, it’s the White Man’s Burden to save the Saudis from themselves with a little help from the Zionist Apartheid State, Britain and the newly prostituted French Republic.

************************************

Ibta’a-Al-Shaykh Miskeen Road:  A car packed with Nusra/Alqaeda derelicts sped westward on this road.  An SAA ranger spotted it and knew from its year and model that it was a car used by Nusra.  The SAA-Mi keeps very good records of all vehicles in the country and knows that certain makes and models are inevitably purchased by Saudi Arabia/Qatar for its favorite terrorists.  The car and the Kornet rocket met and all the passengers were exterminated.

Al-Wardaat Village in the wilderness of Al-Lijaat:  A pestilence of rodents gathered just east of this village when a mortar shell fired by the SAA landed close enough to their perimeter to kill 3 of the rodents.

Al-Talaayibi Square, South of the Al-Karak Water Reservoir, West of Al-Naaziheen Refugee Camp and the Old Dam Road Quarter:  SAA concentrated on destroying fortifications.  You can figure out why.  These locales will soon be targeted.

 _______________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Here is a must-read from Patrick.  Don’t miss this one:

 http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/04/23/aleppo-after-devastation-the-rehabilitation-part-one/

Read more at https://syrianperspective.com/2017/04/hilfaayaa-liberated-completely-as-syrian-army-thunders-toward-remant-rodents-scurrying-back-to-idlib-rodents-suffering-defeat-in-derah.html#0qX3AlyCjJGXLXhI.99
Read more 

 

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AL NUSRA SAFELY EVACUATES FROM AL-WAER, HOMS (DAYS AFTER TERRORISTS MASSACRE OVER 100 CIVILIAN EVACUEES OF FOUA AND KAFRAYA)

Source

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Photo by Vanessa Beeley, who writes: “The look of hate. A Nusra Front terrorist waits in Al Waer, Homs to board the buses that will take them to safety in Idlib and then Turkey, the destination of their choice. Syrian Government justice and Amnesty compared to UK/US/NATO insanity”

British independent journalist Vanessa Beeley was on April 18 with an international delegation in al-Waer, Homs, during the 5th evacuation of terrorists of al-Nusra and other militants occupying the area for years.
In March 2017, Syrian journalist Mohamed Ali reported from al-Waer, during one of the earlier evacuations, noting that the evacuation was being done by Syrian Red Crescent, Russian military police and Syrian security personnel and that no UN personnel were involved.

Regarding that evacuation, Syrian media, SANA, reported:

“150 persons from al-Wa’er neighborhood in Homs had their status settled according to amnesty decree No. 15 for 2016 and in light of the reconciliation agreement reached last Monday.

Over 1400 gunmen and members of their families, who rejected to join the agreement, have left al-Waer neighborhood on the western outskirts of Homs city.

They left for the northern countryside of Homs province in the framework of implementing the reconciliation agreement that was reached in the neighborhood, paving the way for the return of all the governmental institutions to it.”

Of the April 18 evacuation, Vanessa Beeley wrote:
“Today in Al Waer, Homs we witnessed the evacuation of Nusra Front fighters and families to Jarablus and then Turkey. Under the Syrian government Amnesty and Reconciliation agreement they were able to leave with their weapons, safely to their destination of choice. In stark contrast to the horrific treatment of civilian evacuees from Kafarya and Foua who were massacred in Rashideen by a suicide bombing carried out by US funded extremists. We in the ‘civilized’ west bring barbarism to a country that is consistently demonstrating the meaning of true civilization, dignity and humanity…They were successfully taken to Idlib as a first step on their way to Turkey, under the Syrian government Amnesty and Reconciliation policy, 2010 people have been evacuated from Al Waer, including 519 Nusra front terrorists.”
[Related: Vanessa Beeley’s “Images from after Rashideen massacre, buses and survivors who were taken to Jebrin after NATO and Gulf state terrorists had torn their lives apart.”

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[My article: No ‘Red Lines’ After US-Backed Terrorists Massacre Idlib’s Foua Civilians]

Of the April 18 evacuation, SANA reported:
“Homs Governorate on Tuesday finished the evacuation of the fifth batch of militants and some of their families from the western parts of al-Waer neighborhood in a step towards clearing the neighborhood of weapons and militants and restoring state establishments to it. 
SANA reporter said that the fifth batch included 519 militants and hundreds of their families who reject the reconciliation agreement. The reporter added that 55 buses transported the militants and their families towards the northeastern countryside of Aleppo under the supervision of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the Internal Security Forces and the Russian Military Police. 
On Monday afternoon, the fifth batch of militants and some of their families started to leave al-Waer neighborhood as Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi stressed that by the end of the current month the reconciliation agreement in al-Waer neighborhood will be accomplished completely to start the rehabilitation of the damaged facilities and infrastructure inside the neighborhood…”
More al-Waer photos by Vanessa Beeley:

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 In December 2015 I visited al-Waer. Even while al-Nusra and other terrorists occupied al-Waer, the Syrian government was sending in food and medicine, providing bread, and services like electricity and water were better than in greater Aleppo under bombardment from terrorists.
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On that December visit, I wrote:

Listening to my recording from en route to al-Waer, Homs, a couple of weeks ago. The Syrian journalist from Damascus with me cautions:

“We should be more careful now, because everyone on the other side can see us very well.”

I asked how many terrorists remained. A Homs journalist, Hayat, tells me:

“There are those (terrorists) who did not want to participate in the Reconciliation, to leave al-Waer. The people who left were 447 civilians and 100 fighters (without guns) who left with a civilian convoy; 172 fighters (with guns) left–those fighters don’t want to make Reconciliation with the government. 20 wounded (fighters and civilians) needing emergency care left in ambulances. Around 2,200 or more fighters remain in al-Waer.”

Getting closer to al-Waer, the driver teases, “shall we enter?” “We are in the front-line now,” he says. Hayat, gets serious, saying:

“It’s not safe, at any moment they could do anything, break the ceasefire.”

The Damascus journalist with me says, “We are beside the fighters, we are too close to the fighters now, we must be careful.”

We arrive at the last military checkpoint, the entrance to al-Waer.

The bread factory at the entrance to al-Waer produces the bread for the population within, wheat provided by the Syrian government.

According to Hayat, the Homs journalist I was with, although 292 terrorists (as well as 447 civilians) left al-Waer in a December agreement, 2200+ terrorists remain within al-Waer, with another 150,000 civilians–from a population that was 750,000. The Syrian government continues to supply not only wheat/bread, but also electricity and water, although according to Hayat, the people inside do not pay:

“They don’t pay for power, water… the area is not under control of government. Fighters don’t allow people to pay—in order to cripple the government. If people paid and were found out, fighters would kill them.”

*At the end of this clip, Hayat is telling me that the people from inside al-Waer will come to get the bread, and that the boy in the background is from al-Waer.

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Tariq, a Palestinian resident of al-Waer, born in 1957, is originally from Akka. Of his life in Syria, he (like every other Palestinian friend or person I’ve met in Syria) told me: “The Syrian government treats me as well as a Syrian.”

**In this photo, he was picking up bread to take back to his family in al-Waer (who called his mobile as we spoke, concerned about where he was since he had taken longer than usual, stopping to talk with me).

Related: A 2014 article on Reconciliation movement in Syria, including an interview with the Minister of Reconciliation, Dr. Ali Haidar.

In contrast to the long-occupied al-Waer, the Old City of Homs saw terrorists evacuated to elsewhere in Syria in May 2014, enabling residents of Homs to start to rebuild their lives, the reign of terror for them over. Excerpts from my June 2014 visit to Old Homs, interviewing survivors of the terrorists’ occupation:

 Some of those residents who had stayed on in the Old City of Homs during the siege talked to IPS about their ordeals and losses at the hands of armed groups, including Nusra and Farooq brigades. Many of them argued that what had happened in Homs was not revolution, as Dutch Jesuit priest Frans van der Lugt had argued before he was assassinated, just one month before Homs was liberated.

  

“I was baptised in this church, got married in it, and baptised my children in it,” said Abu Nabeel, a resident of Homs’ Old City. The St. George Church, with its crumbling walls, is one of 11 reported destroyed in the Old City. It no longer has its wooden ceiling and ornately-carved wooden ceiling panels and wall lattice lie in heaps outside the ancient church.

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“Most of the damage is from the last days just before the insurgents left,” he said. “But we’ll rebuild.” That rebuilding has already begun, with residents scraping away rubble and re-paving small areas that had been damaged.

The arched interior of the St. Mary’s Church (Um al-Zinnar) bears the char marks of its burning by retreating insurgents. Like many others, the church was looted of objects and vandalised, with the insurgents leaving sectarian graffiti on the walls. “Symbols related to Christianity were removed. Even from inside houses. If you had a picture of the Virgin Mary, they removed it,” said Abu Nabeel.

Volunteers have now planted a garden in its courtyard, which they say is an attempt to “bring some beauty back” to Homs.

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A statue in the courtyard of the Church of the 40 Martyrs stood headless. “This was one of the founding fathers of the church, so they cut the head off the statue,” said Abu Nabeel.

The church itself was less damaged than others, but Abu Nabeel noted that “they burned the pews, for heat.”

Outside the door of an old but intact building, a few men hosed down the street and repaved small sections of the walk.

“This was one of the biggest restaurants in the Old City of Homs. People used to hold weddings here,” Abu N said of the building. “It was used as a headquarters for the insurgents. There was some damage inside, but they have already fixed a lot of it.”

Youth volunteers on a street in Bustan al-Diwan painted over the insurgents’ graffitti and used shattered glass from the Church of Saida Salaam to create a colourful mosaic.

Rubble which littered the streets had been swept into heaps in the centre of some lanes, allowing people to pass.

A man brushed rubble off the second story ledge of his building, one of few people around in the Old City in spite of the calm.

Further along an Old City lane, a blown-out wall revealed a burned pickup truck the insurgents used in their attacks, and the school beyond which they had occupied until the day of their departure from Old Homs. The bombed truck was but one example of the final destruction of retreating armed gangs.

Abu Nabeel explained that the insurgents mined the area before leaving. “They left booby-trapped explosives in the houses, all over, even behind paintings on the wall.”

In the courtyard of the Jesuit church sat a lone plastic chair adorned with flowers and a photo of Father Frans van der Lugt, the Jesuit priest assassinated on April 7, 2014.

The chair in which Father Frans van der Lugt was assassinated by an insurgent with a point-blank shot to his head.

 

Nazim Kanawati, who knew and respected the Jesuit, arrived moments after the 75-year-old priest had been shot in the back of the head.” We were surrounded and under siege. This was the only place we could go to. Everyone loved it here,” he said.

“Father Frans was a peace-maker and played an important role in arranging the evacuation of civilians from the Old City during the siege. He was trusted by both sides, and didn’t distinguish between Christians and Muslims. He was concerned with humanity.”

Like Father Frans, Kanawati refused to leave Homs while others fled. “I didn’t want to leave, I’m a Syrian, I had the right to be there.”

Although he chose to stay in the Old City, Father Frans was critical of the insurgents. In January 2012, he had written: “From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

“People in Homs were already armed and prepared before the protests began,” said Kanawati. “If they hadn’t been planning for the protests from the beginning, the people wouldn’t have had the quantity of arms that they had.”

Abu Nabeel explained that in addition to the Hamidiyeh district where various old churches are to be found, Christians in other areas occupied by the armed insurgents also fled. “There were an estimated 100,000 Christians living in the Old City of Homs before it was taken over by terrorists. Most fled in February 2012. By March, only 800 had stayed, and by the end just over 100 remained,” he said.

The siege that the Syrian army enforced on the Old City in an attempt to drive out the insurgents had a drastic effect on the daily lives of those remaining.

“Suddenly, we didn’t have electricity or water. We had to wait for the water trucks to refill tanks,” said Kanawati. “There were many elderly who couldn’t leave their homes. We’d take food and medicine to people in the community.”

Before Homs was freed of the armed insurgents, who were also stealing from homes, life had become impossible. “There was food at the beginning, but it started to run out. At the end we had nothing, we ate whatever we could collect,” said Kanawati.

No one expected the priest himself to be killed, Kanawati attested. “Someone who was probably in his twenties came here, his face covered, came and ordered Father Frans to go with him. Father Frans refused. So the man told him to sit on this chair, and shot him in the head.”

Abu Nabeel added another piece of information regarding van der Lugt’s murder.

“Three or four days before Father Frans was killed, the Syrian army had targeted a vehicle filled with explosives, which the insurgents were planning to send into the city. Many of the insurgent leaders killed were less extreme that the foreign insurgents, and had been protecting the church. After their deaths, the other insurgents went to the church and demanded Father Frans hand over the valuables residents in the area had left with him for safe-keeping. He refused, so they killed him.”

Mohammed, a Syrian from the Qussoor district of Homs, is now one of the reported 6.5 million internally-displaced Syrians.

“I’m a refugee in Latakia now. I work in Homs, two days a week, and then return to Latakia to stay at my friend’s home. I left my house at the very end of 2011, before the area was taken over by al-Nusra and al-Farooq brigades.”

He spoke of the sectarian nature of the insurgents and protests from the very beginning in 2011.

“I was renting a home in a different neighbourhood of Homs, while renovating my own house. Just beyond my balcony there were protests that did not call for ‘freedom’ or even overthrowing the ‘regime’.They chanted sectarian mottos, they said they would fill al-Zahara – an Alawi neighbourhood – with blood. And also al-Nezha – where there are many Alawis and Christians.”

“My aunt lives in another neighbourhood nearby. She’s Allawi and her husband is Sunni. Because she is Allawi, the ‘rebels’ wanted to kill her two sons. I chose Bashar al-Assad, so they said, ‘we will kill you, because you chose him.’”

The windows and door handle to the home of Aymen and Zeinat al-Akhras were missing, but the house itself was intact. Zeinat, a pharmacist, and Aymen, a chemical engineer, survived the presence of the armed men and the resulting siege on the Old City.

Every space in their small sitting was filled with the books and boxes fleeing family and neighbours, entrusted to the Akhras siblings who chose to weather the storm.

“We didn’t leave, we chose not to.” said Zeinat.

“Our family shop is about 75 years old now,” Aymen added. “We didn’t want to lose it or the merchandise.” Much of it he brought to the home, moving from shop through a hole in the wall to the back yard, so the insurgents wouldn’t see and steal the goods.

The area was taken over in two stages, they explained. “First, the insurgents reached near our house, while the Syrian army was on the other side. Fifteen days later, the insurgents brought more forces and arms and took over the area, killing all of the Syrian soldiers in that area. In February, 2012, they took over the Old City completely,” Aymen said.

Aymen and Zeinat al-Akhras in their Old City home in Homs.

Zeinat spoke of the power cuts, which sometimes lasted give days, and the lack of cooking gas.

“We started using the wood stove. We’d put the pot on at 10 am, eat at 4 pm… It didn’t matter that we didn’t have electricity for the fridge—we had no food to put in it,” she said.

“I’ve gained five kilos!” Zeinat said. “I dropped to 34 kilos. Aymen told me to weigh myself. I got on the scale and said, ‘What’s 34 kilos?’. A ten-year-old weighs more than that! And Aymen was 43 kilos. For a man, 43 kilos,” she said laughing.

The drastic drop was not due to ill-preparedness. To the contrary, Zeinat said they had enough food to last a year.

“We were twelve siblings with eight houses in the area, and the family house. We all had stores of food.”

But the stores of food didn’t survive the looting of the insurgents.

“Thirty-eight times they came to steal our food. The first couple of times, they knocked on the door, after that they just entered with guns. The last things they took were our dried peas, our cracked wheat, our olives, finally our za’atar (wild thyme). We started to eat grass and whatever greens we could find in February, 2014, and that’s all we had till Homs was liberated,” Zeinat said.

“The last time they came all we had were some spices. I was putting the spices on the grass and weeds that we were eating at that point, to give them some flavour. They even took the spices. They didn’t leave us anything.”

The insurgents also stole valuables. “Money, gold, and they took my passport,” Zeinat laughed. “What do they want with it?”

Abu Abdu had a home in a district of Homs between Khaldia and Bayada

“I was never interested in politics, I’d always change the channel if it was news. But when the events started here, and we began to see the lies, my sense of nationality awoke and I began to look at the news all the time,” he said.

Showing video and photos of his area, he explained, “This is our apartment building, we were on the third floor. I took this footage around May 10, after the insurgents left Old Homs.”

“They took our personal belongings, our money, they stole everything, even the pumps used to pump water up to the higher floors. They stole the electrical wiring, the electricity meters, the taps in the kitchen and bathroom, the engine of the washing machine… they couldn’t take the whole machine so they took the engine. They took the ceiling fan, the wall tiles…They broke my daughter’s wooden jewelry box to get the 100 Liras in it of different Syrian coins her fiance had given her as a gift. All that effort for 100 Syrian pounds (about $1.50),” he said.

Meanwhile, despite the return of calm to Homs’ Old City, insurgents continue their campaign of car-bombing civilian areas of Homs. Tens were killed by car bombs and rocket attacks in June alone.

On June 19, Sana news reported six killed and forty injured in a car bombing, as well as seven killed, 25 injured six days prior.

The Syrian government, however, continues efforts to restore normality to the city. On June 26, Sana news reported that the Minister of Culture, Lubanah Mshaweh, said plans were underway for the restoration of Homs’ Khalid Ibin al-Walid Mosque, St. Mary (Um al-Zinnar) and 40 Martyrs churches.

Also on June 26, the Nusra brigades, an al-Qaeda affiliate and one of the main factions which occupied Homs, is reported to have pledged allegiance to the Takfiri extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria(ISIS).

This allegiance to a group documented to have beheaded, mutilated, crucified and flogged Syrians and Iraqis gives more credence to Homs’ residents’ opinion that the events in Syria are no revolution.

Homs residents speak of car bombings in Apr 2014

Homs heflah to celebrate June 3 Presidential elections

“Freedom”: Homs resident speaks of the early days of the “crisis”

Homs: “We wanted to protect our house”


“When I visited in June 2014, after the terrorists had been extracted from most of Homs, the destruction and vandalism I saw were immense. Even back then, as soon as the terrorists were gone, Old City residents were already returning in trickles to begin the cleanup and think about re-building their lives.

Now, a year-and-a-half later, while immense reconstruction remains, there was a significant improvement. I saw new shops opened, and saw homes, stores, streets, and churches decorated in the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas lights dangled over Old City lanes and in church courtyards. A friend from Homs later sent me photos of the streets lit up at night, and of the once-burned St. Mary’s Church (Um al-Zinnar) now repaired and decorated, and filled with worshippers, a youth choir and band.

At the Old City’s Jesuit Church, new portraits of Dutch priest, Father Frans van der Lugt, assassinated in April 2014 by the West’s “moderate” terrorists. The church also had a simple Christmas tree and home-made nativity scene, the grotto walls of which were made of crumpled brown paper.

Two well-known restaurants, which suffered differing degrees of destruction, have been re-opened. Beit al-Agha, greatly-damaged by the terrorists, is now coming back to life, although repairs are still needed. Al-Bustan restaurant, which was completely ravaged, is fully re-built and open to customers. Photos from al-Hamidiya Community Facebook page show a packed restaurant during Christmas, and dancing at night. The page shows celebrations in the different churches and streets of old Homs.

In Saha al-Majaa, an Old City square, I saw six locals adding finishing touches to the Christmas tree they’d crafted using scavenged and bought materials. In a nearby room, full-size nativity scene figures, made of sponge and cloth and other basic materials were stored until the display went up. Neighbourhood residents had chipped in for fabric, bought from Tartous.

“Come, tomorrow at 5 pm and you’ll see the finished display,” I was invited, but didn’t have the chance to get back. However, photos on social media show their creative efforts have paid off: in this square where despair was once deep, hope is flourishing anew.”

Palestinian Archbishop to Boycott DC Conference in Protest of US Policies

“These misguided American policies in the Middle East are a major reason behind the mass exodus of Christians from the region that has occurred over the years…”

[ Ed. note The gentleman in the photo above is Atallah Hanna, a Palestinian Christian who holds the position of archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. The article below, published yesterday by Ma’an News, reports that Hanna will be boycotting an upcoming conference in the US on the plight of Middle East Christians.

Hanna declined to specify which conference he was referring to, most likely out of a desire not to give them any free publicity. However it could be this conference, scheduled to take place April 20 at the National Press Club in Washington. One of the sponsors of the event is a dubious group calling itself “In Defense of Christians,” an organization that advocates for the establishment of “safe zones” in Syria. Were such zones to come about, the result would be a de facto partitioning of the country and the weakening–and quite possibly the downfall–of the Syrian government. The downfall of the Assad government, needless to say, would be a disaster for Syria’s Christian population.

One other thing worth mentioning–the conference coming up in Washington to is to feature the launch of a report entitled “In Response to Persecution.” I will try to find out more about this report and get back to all of you on that. ]

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JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Sabastiya Archbishop Atallah Hanna, of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said he would boycott an upcoming conference in the United States aiming to discuss the situation of Christians in the Middle East, over what he called “misguided” American policies in the region.

Hanna, the only Orthodox Palestinian archbishop, who is renowned for his high profile political activism against the Israeli occupation, said in a statement Saturday that he and a number of Christian leaders from the region were invited to the conference, scheduled to be held in mid-May.

“We won’t partake in this conference and we urge all Christian leaders in the Arab world who have been invited to boycott this suspicious conference,” Hanna said, without specifying what the conference was called. The archbishop could not confirm to Ma’an whether or not it was the same event held annually in Washington DC by the non profit “In Defense of Christians.”

The Palestinian archbishop explained that he called for the boycott in protest of the US’s “misguided” policies in the Middle East, particularly those related to the question of Palestine.

“These misguided American policies in the Middle East are a major reason behind the mass exodus of Christians from the region that has occurred over the years,” said Hanna, adding that US officials should “stop siding with Israel and assaulting the Arab people before they invite us to a conference about Christians in the Middle East in their capital.”

Hanna accused the United States trying to cover up crimes committed in the Arab world by holding the conference, which he stressed was yet another move by the US government to show that it cares about Middle Eastern Christians — “when in fact, it doesn’t.”

“Who created the terrorist groups and who is providing them with money and arms? Who has been destroying Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya? Who caused the displacement of the Palestinian people? All catastrophes that Palestinians have suffered and are still suffering from were abetted by American and Western governments.”

Referring to recent airstrikes in Syria ordered by the US president Donald Trump, Hanna said that

“American aggression in Syria on Thursday is clear evidence that the current US administration adopts aggressive policies against our people and our region, just as previous US administrations have.”

Palm Sunday Attacks Against Christians–What are the Ramifications?

At least 44 people have been killed and scores of others injured in bombings carried out at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt. ISIS has claimed responsibility for both attacks, while the US government, which essentially has served as ISIS’s air force in Syria, has somewhat hypocritically condemned them.

The first attack occurred in Tanta, a city located in the Nile Delta between Cairo and Alexandria. The bomb went off at the St. George Church, where worshipers had gathered for Palm Sunday services. At least 27 people were killed and 78 wounded.

A few hours later, a second bomb exploded–at the St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. Here at least 17 were killed and some 48 wounded.

“So sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great…confidence that President Al Sisi will handle situation properly,” said President Trump.

Mark Toner, the State Department’s acting spokesperson, called the bombings “barbaric attacks on Christian places of worship,” and assured reporters that “the United States will continue to support Egypt’s security and stability in its efforts to defeat terrorism.”

But US efforts to overthrow the President Bashar Assad in Syria would suggest that the US government has little concern about protecting Christians in the Middle East. The church bombings come just three days after the US launched Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase in Homs province in western Syria, and this wasn’t even the first attack carried out by US forces against those defending their homeland from terrorist invasion.

On September 17 last year, US coalition aircraft struck a Syrian airbase in Deir ez-Zor province in the eastern part of the country, killing at least 62 Syrian troops. The Obama administration claimed the attack had been an “accident,” but Assad said it was intentional and had lasted for an hour.

Perhaps hardly surprising, then, that Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, commenting on the attack, spoke of the “terrifying conclusion” which the world must draw from it:

“If previously we had suspicions that Al-Nusra Front is protected this way, now, after today’s airstrikes on the Syrian army we come to a really terrifying conclusion for the entire world: The White House is defending IS,” Zakharova said.

And that was back in September.

So let’s see…that’s two US attacks on two Syrian airbases in less than seven months. And in both cases Islamic State militants, almost as if they had been tipped off in advance, launched offensives immediately afterwards.

All this to overthrow a man who heads up a secular government that has protected Christians.

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“After the explosion, everything became dark from the smoke,” said one witness of the attack in Tanta.

“Deacons were the first to run out of the church. Many of them had blood on their white robes,” said another.

In claiming responsibility for the attack, ISIS stated: “The Crusaders and their tails from the apostates must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God willing.”

One analyst, in comments to RT, expressed suspicion at the timing of the attacks.

“I talked to some people [after the attacks], and they were all criticizing the terrorists and were wondering why this happened at this time: when tourism in Egypt is improving, when the country is stabilizing, there is international support of Sisi’s regime. So, whoever is doing this [the bombings] is standing behind terrorism. It’s simple to say that they are terrorists, but who is behind the terrorists? This is the issue.”

One who seems to be under no illusion on that score is Archbishop Atallah Hanna, of the Greek Orthodox church of Jerusalem.

“These misguided American policies in the Middle East are a major reason behind the mass exodus of Christians from the region that has occurred over the years,” said Hanna.

“Who created the terrorist groups and who is providing them with money and arms? Who has been destroying Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya? Who caused the displacement of the Palestinian people? All catastrophes that Palestinians have suffered and are still suffering from were abetted by American and Western governments,” he added.

Unlike the Christians of Egypt, those in Syria seem to have had a peaceful Palm Sunday.

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Syrian Christians celebrate all across .

This is possible thanks to the Syrian gov’t, which the US wants to overthrow.

 If the Assad government falls, it will, needless to say, be a disaster for Christians in Syria. But there are indications this is precisely the objective the US now intends to pursue.

The Washington Post on Sunday posted a pro-war propaganda piece informing readers the Trump administration has “demanded” that Russia drop its support for Assad. Not requested politely. But demanded.

The story quotes a top national security advisor, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who strongly implies that Russia had advanced knowledge of the alleged chemical attack, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are also quoted.

“I think what we should do is ask Russia, how could it be, if you have advisers at that airfield, that you didn’t know that the Syrian air force was preparing and executing a mass murder attack with chemical weapons,” McMaster said.

Is Nikki Haley going to hold up pictures of dead Coptic Christians and demand action? I doubt it.

“In no way do we see peace in that area with Russia covering up for Assad,” said Haley. “And in no way do we see peace in that area with Assad at the head of the Syrian government.”

Meanwhile, South Front is reporting that the US is now deploying forces at the Syrian-Jordanian border, and that a Navy ship loaded with US military vehicles has also docked at the Jordanian port of Al-Aqapa.


Palm Sunday in Occupied Palestine

While there haven’t been any church bombings, Palm Sunday in Occupied Palestine doesn’t seem to have been entirely uneventful.

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forces harassed Palestinian worshippers in Occupied during procession cause they raised flags.

Watch Israeli Occupiers attacking Palestinian Christians w/ palm branches in hand, during their march in Occupied J’slm

Israeli occupation forces harass Palestinian Christian in occupied Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

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Israeli forces assault Palestinian worshippers for raising our flag during procession today in occupied East Jerusalem.

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