ما المفاجآت التي خبأها السيد نصرالله..؟

السبت 18 شباط , 2017 22:41

إيهاب زكي – بيروت برس – 

لم يعد من المبهر أو الصادم اكتشاف التحالفات العربية “الإسرائيلية”، بل أصبح تخوين أصحاب هذه التحالفات بحد ذاته خيانة وطنية، كما أمست التبعية لهذا الكيان حكمة تمليها الضرورة، والفضل في الوصول لهذا الدرك يعود للنفط حصرًا، وكما تعامل الإعلام النفطي مع خطاب السيد نصرالله في يوم سادة النصر، بأنه يمثل خيانة للوطن والمواطن اللبناني، فما علاقة لبنان وما الضير الذي سيلحق بالمواطن اللبناني إن كان هناك حلف إماراتي “إسرائيلي” أو سعودي “إسرائيلي” أو عربي “إسرائيلي”. وأينما وجدت عربيًا أو مسلمًا ينادي بالتطبيع مع هذا الكيان لا بد وأن تجد أنه مدفوع نفطيًا، أو أقله ذو خلفية نفطية، فهذا مثلًا يوسف الكودة رئيس حزب الوسط الإسلامي في السودان يدعو حكومته لإقامة علاقات مع “إسرائيل”، وهو حزب سلفي لكنه يوصف بـ”السلفية المخففة”، ورئيسه خريج جامعة محمد بن سعود في أبها، وهو يعتبر أن السودان خسر ماديًا ومعنويًا من معاداة “إسرائيل”، كما رحب بزيارة الكيان إذا دعاه للزيارة، وهو يؤصل لهذه الخيانات شرعيًا وفقهيًا.

ومن هذه الأمثلة ننطلق بالقول، بأن السيد نصرالله كما يبدو وحيدًا في مواجهة هذا الإعصار الصهيوني، إلا أنه رجلٌ بأمة، فما الفائدة التي ستجنيها “إسرائيل” من كل هذه الجهات دولًا أو أفرادًا أو منظمات وتنظيمات، مقارنةً بترويعٍ واحدٍ يزرعه السيد نصرالله في عقلها وقلبها. فالسيد نصرالله بخطابٍ واحدٍ قادر على طي آلاف الصفحات الكاذبة من تطمينات حكومة العدو لجمهورها، وخطابٌ واحدٌ قادر على أن تقوم هذه الحكومة بإلقاء كل مخططاتها للعدوان على لبنان في أقرب سلة للمهملات، وفتح الخزائن والعقول لإعادة رسم مخططات تتناسب مع ما أحدثه الخطاب من ترويع، ومن المفارقات الطريفة أن هذه الخطابات تساهم باستنزاف خزائن النفط أيضًا، من خلال المساهمة في تحديث الخطط الصهيونية، وإطلاق الأقلام والألسن عبر القنوات والصحف ومراكز الأبحاث للنيل من شخص السيد نصرالله، ولكن كل هذا الإحداث اللفظي لن يساهم إلا في إشباع رغبات الغوغاء، وهذا ما لن يكون له اي تأثير على أي قدرة ميدانية قتالية أو سياسية للحزب.

وخطاب سادة النصر للسيد نصرالله دليل واضح على وهن الكيان الصهيوني، كما أنه دليل قاطع على أن السيد نصرالله يوازي بحد ذاته عشر فيالق للحرب النفسية، وأثبت أنه قادر على أن يجعل من الأمر الطبيعي مفاجأة صادمة، فكيف سيُسخّر المفاجآت الحقيقية. فقبل سنوات قال السيد نصرالله “لا توجد منطقة في فلسطين المحتلة خارج نطاق صواريخنا”، وقال أيضًا “ليعلم العدو أن الحرب القادمة في حال وقوعها، ستكون بلا سقف وبلا حدود وبلا خطوط حمراء”، ومن الطبيعي الاستنتاج من هاتين الجملتين أن مفاعل ديمونا لن يكون خارج نطاق الاستهداف، ولكن اجتماع ما يمثله السيد نصرالله من هاجسٍ مرعب في العقلية الصهيونية، مع صدقه وجرأته وقوة شكيمته، يجعل من عاديّاته مفاجآت لمجرد تغيير صياغة الجملة أو المفردات، وسيعمد العدو تحت وقع هذه الصدمة لأن يسخر كل طاقاته في محاولة لاستكشاف هول ما يحتفظ به السيد من مفاجآت، فإذا كان ما سيلي خارج نطاق المفاجآت، فما طبيعة تلك المفاجآت:
1-    استهداف حاويات الأمونيا في حيفا.
2-    استهداف السفن الناقلة لمادة الأمونيا.
3-    استهداف مفاعل ديمونا.
4-    صواريخ تطال كل نقطة في فلسطين المحتلة.
5-    إمكانية الدخول إلى الجليل.
6-    استهداف سلاح البحرية.
7-    تدمير أغلب ألوية جيش العدو في حال الدخول برًا إلى جنوب لبنان.
8-    القدرة التدميرية العالية لصواريخ الحزب.
9-    حصار بحري على كيان العدو.
10-    معادلة مطار بيروت مقابل مطار “بن غوريون” وبيروت مقابل “تل أبيب”.
ناهيك عن تلويح السيد من قبل بإمكانية امتلاك منظومة دفاع جوي، وذلك حين دعا الحكومة اللبنانية للتصدي لاختراقات سلاح الجو الصهيوني، وإلا سيكون الحزب مضطرًا للتصرف، لذلك إن سؤال المفاجأة أو المفاجآت التي يحتفظ بها الحزب دون كل ما سبق مما دخل دائرة التوقع، كفيل بقضّ مضاجع ذلك الكيان بقده وقديده.

ويبدو أنّ لهذا السؤال إجابة واحدة لا سواها، وليست هذه الإجابة تحمَّل السيد نصرالله وحزب الله ما لا طاقة لهما به، حين نقول بأنها حرب إزالة الكيان، وقد تكون المفاجأة الأولى أنها ليست حربًا ثنائية، بل ستكون حرب الجبهات المتعددة، الجبهة اللبنانية والسورية والجبهة الجنوبية في غزة مع مشاركة إيرانية، وهذا يقود إلى طبيعة المفاجأة الثانية وهي حرب الزوال، رغم أن السيد نصرالله لم يقل ذلك، وأنا شخصيًا لن تفاجئني هذه المفاجأة، حيث يبدو الكيان الصهيوني في هذه اللحظة كلاعب الشطرنج الذي يعتقد يقينًا بانتصاره لكثرة ما أطاح بأحجار الخصم، لكنه يتفاجأ بالعبارة المميتة والقاضية “كش ملك”، فـ”نتن ياهو” يتفاخر بأنّ كيانه في نظر العرب لم يعد عدوًا بل حليفًا، وهذا ما يجعله يظن بانتصاره، وكل أولئك الملوك والأمراء والرؤساء على رقعة الشطرنج العربية أصبحوا في قبضته، ولكن لا زال هناك لاعبٌ مقتدرٌ يتربص به التوقيت المناسب، ليفاجئه بـ”كش ملك” وذلك هو محور المقاومة.

 

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New Military Alliance to Be Formed in Middle East

New Military Alliance to Be Formed in Middle East

PETER KORZUN | 17.02.2017 | WORLD

New Military Alliance to Be Formed in Middle East

Combining available information to get the whole picture, one can see the situation in the Middle East changing drastically, especially as the US strategy is reviewed and new alliances are formed.

The Trump administration is in talks with Middle East allies about forming a military alliance that would share intelligence with Israel to help counter Iran, according to several Middle Eastern officials.

The planned coalition would include countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain. Egypt and Jordan have longstanding peace treaties with Israel. For the Arab countries involved, the alliance would have a NATO-style mutual-defense component under which an attack on one member would be treated as an attack on all, though details are still being worked out. The US and Israel will cooperate without full-fledged membership. According to the Wall Street Journal, «one Arab diplomat suggested that the notion that the Trump administration might designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group was being floated as an incentive for Egypt to join the alliance».

US President Donald Trump has assured visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Tehran would never be able to build a nuclear weapon.

«The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which I’ve talked a lot about. One of the worst deals I’ve ever seen is the Iran deal», Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with Netanyahu at the White House. Reading the statement between the lines, it becomes evident that the US is ready to go much further than warnings and sanctions to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capability.

Russian Izvestia daily reported the US plans to substantially increase its military presence in Iraq. The newspaper cited its own sources in the U.S. Republican Party. The plans include a few thousand troops to arrive in Iraq in the coming months. The reinforcement will continue the policy of the Obama administration, which was gradually expanding the military presence in that country.

It was reported on February 16 that the Pentagon was developing proposals for sending an unspecified number of American military personnel into Syria, conventional ground forces which would augment the 500 combat advisers already there coordinating efforts to destroy the Islamic State (IS).

Military Times reports that multiple US Army sources indicated that about two thousand soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team may soon bolster other Army elements already in the region. Currently, about 1,800 paratroopers from the 2nd BCT are in Iraq participating in the US military’s train-and-advise mission. The 82ndAirborne Division is based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Citing an unidentified U.S. defense official, CNN indicated additional deployments could happen within weeks. Today, there are about 5,000 US troops deployed to Iraq and another 500 in Syria.

The White House indicated in January that it could task the military with establishing «safe zones» on Syrian soil. A large number of troops would be needed to defend havens, pitting them against pro-government forces as well as rival rebel groups. Without approval by UN Security Council, few nations will contribute leaving the US alone to shoulder the main burden. Hundreds of aircraft will have to be deployed to carry out the mission.

Deploying substantial forces in the Middle East risks putting the US on a slippery slope to further involvement in the war. Safe zones should not become no-fly zones to impede the operations of Russian and Syrian air forces. If the US decides to continue with the idea, it should it become an issue on the agenda for talks with Russia before any practical steps are taken to implement it.

It’s not Arab states only. Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, told lawmakers on February 9 that thousands more American or NATO troops are needed to break the «stalemate» between Afghan forces and the Taliban insurgent group while the IS also remains active in the nation. The general did not specify how many additional troops were needed, but did not rule out the potential for up to 30,000.

The strategy, which relied on special forces teams and intensive operations conducted by drones, may become a thing of the past, with the U.S. returning to large-scale presence.

The terrorist activities of the IS go beyond the scope of a regional problem. There are a few options here for cooperation of the military agencies and special services of Russia and the US ranging from intelligence exchange on IS to exercising influence on the countries affected by the war with the terrorist threat.

Whatever are the plans of Trump’s administration aimed at changing the Middle East strategy, the US cannot go it alone there. It needs allies, partners, and friendly pertinent actors to coordinate activities with. This shows how important it is to speed up bilateral and multilateral discussions.

It all goes to show that Russia and the US should speed up launching regular contacts to exchange opinions on the situation in the Middle East. On February 16, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford met face to face with their Russian counterparts Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chief of General Staff General Valeriy Gerasimov in Bonn and Baku respectively. Hopefully, the first contacts will spur the process and the parties will be engaged in dialogue concerning major security issues. The volatile situation in the Middle East should be addressed without delay as part of preparations for a possible summit in Slovenia.

Complete Syrian War update: February 2017

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:50 A.M.) – Over the course of two months, the Syrian conflict has seen drastic changes at several fronts, including areas that have not seen fighting for years.

Syrian Capital:

Among the biggest changes this year is the battlefront in Damascus, which has seen the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in control of much of the western countryside and large parts of the nearby East Ghouta region.

With a number of reconciliation agreements put together at the end of the year (e.g. Wadi Barada and Serghaya), the Syrian Arab Army managed to secure almost the entire provincial border with the Golan Heights, leaving only Beit Jinn under militant control.

In the eastern part of Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army is preparing for what is expected to be the largest offensive in this region; this operation will be led by the Republican Guard forces and 4th Mechanized Division.

Southern Syria:

South of Damascus, the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham launched a large-scale offensive in the Dara’a Governorate, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s positions inside the Al-Manishiyah District of the provincial capital.

Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham has captured several points inside the Al-Manishiyah District; however, their offensive has somewhat stalled since their large advance on Monday.

In the Sweida Governorate, the U.S. backed rebel forces have seized several points from the Islamic State terrorists near the Jordanian border, giving them a large buffer-zone around the Tanf Crossing into Iraq.

Syrian Desert Front:

Syria’s vast desert landscape has been the scene of some of the most intense battles taking place inside the country.

The Islamic State launched a massive operation in December to seize the ancient city of Palmyra and its nearby gas fields; this offensive was eventually successful, as the Syrian Arab Army was forced to withdraw 60km west towards the T-4 Military Airport.

Making matters worse for the Syrian Army, the Islamic State launched a large offensive in the Deir Ezzor Governorate to kick off the new year.

The Islamic State would not only capture several points, but they would also besiege the Deir Ezzor Military Airport for the first time during this war.

By mid-January, the Syrian Arab Army was able to stabilize the Palmyra and Deir Ezzor fronts, paving the way for a much needed counter-attack.

The Syrian Arab Army is currently involved in an offensive to liberate the oil fields in Palmyra’s western countryside; this has taken priority over lifting the siege on the Deir Ezzor Airport.

Northern Syria: 

Without a doubt, Syria’s northern front is its most active front, with several groups fighting one another in the Aleppo and Al-Raqqa governorates.

The Turkish Armed Forces made the first move in Aleppo in January, as their soldiers and rebel allies stormed the strategic city of Al-Bab.

However, this operation for the Turkish forces has had limited success and heavy casualties as a result of the Islamic State’s heavy resistance at this important front.

At around the same time the Turkish forces launched the Al-Bab offensive, the Kurdish-led “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) began a large-scale operation to liberate Al-Raqqa from the Islamic State terrorists.

Unlike the Turkish Armed Forces, the SDF has managed to liberate a large chunk of territory along the Euphrates River, almost reaching the strategic Tabaqa Military Airport before the Islamic State sent reinforcements to forestall the advance.

Opposite of the SDF and Turkish Armed Forces, the Syrian Arab Army’s “Tiger Forces” have been focusing on the Kuweries countryside, liberating several villages from the Islamic State while advancing to both Al-Bab and Deir Hafer.

 

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سورية حصن القدس… واللحظة مفصلية

سورية حصن القدس… واللحظة مفصلية

سامي كليب

بدأ الأوروبيون يستعدون لمرحلة ما بعد نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس. هم يعتبرون أن الرئيس الأميركي الجديد جادٌّ في ذلك ولديه الذريعة الفضلى للإقدام على هذه الجريمة التي لن تخدم سوى إسرائيل. فوفق مداولات داخلية للاتحاد الأوروبي مطلع الشهر الحالي قال مدير عام الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقية في جهاز العمل الخارجي نك وستكوت: «إن القرار الأميركي قد يُتخذ في خلال شهر أيار المقبل، أي فور انتهاء مفعول قرار تعليق نقل السفارة الذي كان باراك أوباما قد وقّعه»، ما يعني أن ترامب يستطيع القول أنا لم أتخذ قرار النقل وإنما أوقفت فقط تعليق إنفاذ القانون الصادر عن الكونغرس الأميركي عام ١٩٩٥ بشأن نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس.

مع هذه الخطوة، يكون ترامب قد حقق هدفين لإسرائيل، أولهما الاعتراف بسيطرتها على القدس، وثانيهما افتتاح عهده بتكثيف الهجوم على إيران. هو يعتقد أنه بذلك يضمن قاعدة تأييد له في الداخل الأميركي عبر اللوبي اليهودي الذي ينتمي إليه صهره المناصر بقوة لإسرائيل، كما يضمن فتح ما بقي من خزائن مالية خليجية ضد طهران.

يشار إلى أن ترامب قال صراحة لدى تعيينه سفير بلاده في الكيان الصهيوني: «إن السفير يتطلع لممارسة مهامه من سفارته في عاصمة إسرائيل الأبدية: القدس». بطبيعة الحال لم تتحرك أي جثة من جثث النظام العربي البائس للرد، فما بقي من هذا النظام الوهمي مهتم حالياً بتدمير الدول المركزية ويفتح علاقات مشبوهة تحت جنح الظلام مع أسوأ الحكومات الإسرائيلية.

ما علاقة سورية بالأمر؟

ما سيفعله ترامب، يحمل بذاته إحراجاً كبيراً للأنظمة العربية، من المملكة المغربية التي يُعتبر ملكها محمد السادس رئيس لجنة القدس إلى الأردن حيث الملك عبد الله الثاني هو الوصي الرسمي على المدينة المقدسة مروراً بالسعودية التي يسمى فيها الملك خادم الحرمين… كان العاهل المغربي قد قال قبل أسبوعين إن نقل السفارة يهدد السلم العالمي ووعد بأنه: «لن ندخر جهدا في الدفاع عن هذه المدينة المقدسة»… ممتاز، ولكن كيف ومتى وبأي وسيلة؟

المرجّح، أن محور المقاومة الحالي والذي يكاد ينحصر بسورية وحزب اللـه والمقاومة الفلسطينية الحقيقية وإيران، سيجد الفرصة مناسبة للانتعاش ورفع الصوت واتخاذ إجراءات سياسية وميدانية تجدد حضوره وتعزز موقعه في الشارع العربي. هذا مفيد بعد سنوات من الآلة الإعلامية والسياسية والأمنية والإرهابية الضخمة التي أُريد لها أن تصور حروب المنطقة على أنها حروب سنية شيعية.

هذا بالضبط ما يُقلق نتنياهو الذي يكاد ينصح بالتريث بنقل السفارة، لأن في هذه الخطوة ما يعزز حظوظ منافسه الإسرائيلي المتطرف زعيم البيت اليهودي نفتالي بينيت ويُنذر بتصعيد أمني ويسوغ دور إيران في المحيط العربي، ويقوي شوكة حزب اللـه وسورية، ناهيك عن عدد من المواقف الأوروبية التي صارت شبه مناهضة لنتنياهو.

استعادة وهج الخطاب السوري في الوسط العربي مهم في هذه اللحظة التاريخية، أولاً لأنه يأتي بعد أن انكشفت أوراق كثيرة حول حجم التآمر على سورية، وثانياً بعد التحولات الإقليمية والدولية والانتقال من المجاهرة برحيل الرئيس الأسد إلى القبول الضمني وعلى مضض ببقائه ودوره.

ففي آخر اجتماع أوروبي تم الاتفاق على التالي وفق معلوماتنا:

 ضرورة الحفاظ على نظام حكم مركزي في سورية مع احتمال بعض أوجه اللامركزية الثقافية مثلاً.
 ضرورة الحفاظ على مركزية الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية.

 اقتراح نظام نصف برلماني مع احتمال بعض الكوتا للأقليات الإثنية والدينية وتفادي النموذج اللبناني، لا بل القبول ببقاء حزب البعث تفادياً لما حصل في العراق بعد اجتثاثه.

 المباشرة بجهود الإنعاش الاقتصادي (حتى ولو أن بعض الدول مثل فرنسا لا تريد مطلقاً الحديث حالياً عن مشاركة أوروبية في إعادة الإعمار قبل إقرار المرحلة الانتقالية).

لا توجد أي كلمة عن الرئيس الأسد، تماماً كما كان الشأن في آخر لقاء سعودي تركي. ولا كلمة.

طبعاً لا دور لأوروبا في ظل احتمال التوافق الأميركي الروسي، لكن المهم في كل ما تقدم أن سورية التي صبرت وقاتلت وضحت ودُمر قسم كبير منها، حافظت على دورها وصوتها. ثمة فرصة كبيرة الآن لإعادة تعزيز حضور هذا الصوت في الشارع العربي من بوابة فلسطين.. فما رفضه الرئيس الأسد حين استقباله وزير الخارجية الأميركي كولن بأول عام ٢٠٠٣ أي في أوج السطوة الأميركية لناحية قطع العلاقة مع المقاومة وطرد التنظيمات الفلسطينية، لا يزال وسام شرف على الصدر السوري رغم الدمار والدماء والدموع.

من بوابة القدس سيعود الصوت السوري صادحاً في آذان العرب.

Saudi – Iranian Dialogue الحوار السعودي الإيراني

Saudi – Iranian Dialogue

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Neither Iran charged Kuwait with the mediation in the Yemeni crisis, nor did the Iranians attend the side scenes of the negotiations, but the Saudi officers did. Iran did not negotiate in Muscat or elsewhere with delegations that represent the government of Mansour Hadi, but the Saudis negotiated with Al Houthis there. The Americans did the same in charging Kuwait with the mediation and in the negotiation with Al Houthis away from any mediation. Neither Iran sent its Foreign Minister to Kuwait with a message to the Gulf Cooperation Council for a call to open Iranian Gulf dialogue, but the opposite has happened, nor it provided the cover for the Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri to take the initiative of adopting the nomination of the General Michael Aoun for presidency, but Saudi Arabia did as was said by the Lebanese Interior Minister Nuhad Al-Mashnouk through his talk about a major international regional settlement that paved the way for the arrival of the General Aoun to presidency. Furthermore the joining of Jordan to Astana was not due to Iranian encouragement, knowing that Iran is one of the sponsors of Astana, but surely Jordan has not taken this step without US Saudi encouragement, and the factions which it pledged to join them to ceasing-fire and the fight against Al Nusra and ISIS are factions that led by Washington and funded by Riyadh.

Tehran is aware that Saudi Arabia which is waging the choice of escalation in Bahrain and Yemen and waiting the improvement of its situation there, before entering into negotiation with Iran needs this negotiation as an interest and for its presence, while Iran wants this negotiation in order to keep the region away from further attrition, destruction, extremism, sects, and risks. Tehran is aware that Riyadh has decided in all the issues which form titles of dispute to follow the choice of the negotiation, but it preferred to stay behind the side scenes, so it chose the Prime Minister Al-Hariri in Lebanon, Jordan in Syria and Kuwait in the Gulf. But Tehran is aware that the time of the direct negotiation has not come yet. Saudi Arabia is waiting till summer to know what will the new US President do in the round of the escalation against Iran and to know whether it is mere a talk in the media or it is a sign of confrontation that can be based on. During this time it will do its best to resolve what can be resolved in Yemen and Bahrain and to improve the conditions of the negotiation hoping to avoid the loss in them, just for that Tehran is aware of the inevitability of the maturity of the choice of negotiation as far as it is aware that it has not matured yet.

The Iranian response by the Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is through the warm welcoming, but the caution concerning the Kuwaiti call for Iranian Gulf dialogue that stems from this assessment, he indicated that “till our neighbors are convinced that we are in need of common cooperation ,with reference to history and geography and the multi common issues between our people and the common threats which we face, then the region will have a real partner such as Iran”.

He stressed that “Iran does not want to threaten the stability of the region, and that the danger in any country threatens the whole region” he hoped that” the message which was sent by the Prince of Kuwait Al Sheikh Sabah Al Ahamad Al-Sabah to Tehran on behalf of himself and the rest of the rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council came from a true desire”. Showing that “ this desire will be met by a real interaction by Iran also”. He pointed out that “this will be according to the facts and the future vision, provided that, if everyone recognizes that we must go ahead toward different future”.

Waiting for the Saudi summer to see the Iranian reaction.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

الحوار السعودي الإيراني

فبراير 8, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– لم تكلّف إيران الكويت بالوساطة في الأزمة اليمنية، ولا حضر الضباط الإيرانيون كواليس المفاوضات، بل الضباط السعوديون هم الذين فعلوا، ولم تفاوض إيران في مسقط ولا في سواها وفوداً تمثّل حكومة منصور هادي، بل السعوديون هم الذين فاوضوا الحوثيين هناك، والأميركيون فعلوا مثلهم في تفويض الكويت بالوساطة وفي التفاوض مع الحوثيين بعيداً عن أي واسطة، وليست إيران مَن أوفدت وزير خارجيتها إلى الكويت حاملاً رسالة لمجلس التعاون الخليجي للدعوة لفتح حوار إيراني خليجي، بل العكس هو الذي حصل، ولا إيران وفرت التغطية لرئيس الحكومة اللبناني سعد الحريري للمبادرة نحو العماد ميشال عون وتبنّي ترشيحه لرئاسة الجمهورية، بل السعودية هي مَن فعل، كما يقول وزير الداخلية اللبنانية نهاد المشنوق بحديثه عن تسوية إقليمية دولية كبرى جاءت بالعماد عون رئيساً، ولا ذهاب الأردن إلى أستانة جاء بنتيجة تشجيع إيراني، وإيران أحد الرعاة في أستانة، بل الأكيد أن الأردن ما كان ليفعل بلا تشجيع سعودي أميركي، والفصائل التي تعهّد ضمها لأستانة في وقف النار والقتال ضد النصرة وداعش، فصائل تقودها واشنطن وتمولها الرياض.

– تدرك طهران جيداً أن السعودية التي تخوض خيار التصعيد في البحرين واليمن، وتنتظر تحسين وضعها فيهما، قبل الدخول في التفاوض مع إيران، تحتاج هذا التفاوض مصلحياً ووجودياً، بينما تريده إيران لتجنيب المنطقة المزيد من الاستنزاف والخراب والتطرف والفتن والمخاطر، وتدرك طهران أن الرياض قرّرت في كل الملفات التي تشكل عناوين الخلاف سلوك خيار التفاوض، لكنها آثرت البقاء خلف الكواليس فاختارت الرئيس الحريري في لبنان، والأردن في سورية، والكويت في الخليج، لكن طهران تدرك أن وقت التفاوض المباشر لم يحِن بعد، فالسعودية تنتظر حتى الصيف لمعرفة ما سيفعله الرئيس الأميركي الجديد في جولة التصعيد بوجه إيران واكتشاف ما إذا كانت مجرد زوبعة كلام في فنجان الإعلام، أم أنها علامة خيار مواجهة يمكن البناء عليه. وخلال هذا الوقت ترمي بثقلها لحسم ما يمكن حسمه في اليمن والبحرين، وتحسين شروط التفاوض أملاً بتجنب الخسارة فيهما، لذلك تدرك طهران حتمية نضج خيار التفاوض بقدر ما تدرك أنه لم ينضج بعد.

– الجواب الإيراني على لسان وزير الخارجية محمد جواد ظريف بالترحيب الحار، لكن الحذر بالدعوة الكويتية لحوار خليجي إيراني ينطلق من هذا التقدير، مشيراً إلى أنه «عندما يقتنع جيراننا أننا بحاجة للتعاون المشترك، بالنظر إلى التاريخ والجغرافيا والمشتركات العديدة بين شعوبنا، والتهديدات المشتركة التي نواجهها، ستحظى المنطقة بشريك حقيقي مثل إيران». وشدّد على أن «إيران لا ترغب بتهديد استقرار المنطقة وإن الخطر في أي بلد يهدّد المنطقة بأكملها»، معرباً عن أمله في «أن تشكل الرسالة التي بعث بها أمير الكويت الشيخ صباح الأحمد الصباح إلى طهران، أصالة عن نفسه ونيابة عن باقي حكام دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي، رغبة حقيقية»، مبيّناً أن «هذه الرغبة ستقابل بتفاعل حقيقي أيضاً من قبل إيران». وأشار إلى أن «ذلك سيكون وفقاً للحقائق وبنظرة مستقبلية»، شريطة أن «يُقرّ الجميع بأننا يجب أن نمضي نحو مستقبل مختلف».

– بانتظار الصيف السعودي لكل حادث حديث إيراني.

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Jordan is positioning …. to precede Egypt ! الأردن يتموضع… لاستباق مصر!

Jordan is positioning …. to precede Egypt !

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Contrary to all the escalated indicators of the administration of the US President Donald Trump, it seems that the secret diplomacy is working effectively. After two days of the return of the Jordanian King from Washington, Jordan was targeting ISIS in the Syrian-Jordanian borders which are close to the Occupied Palestine near Al Yarmouk and Al Shajara, then it applied for an urgent join to Astana path that is sponsored by Moscow, Tehran and Ankara to cease-fire, it participated in the coordinated meeting proposing the inclusion of the armed groups in the Southern of Syria to the cease-fire and the war on ISIS and Al Nusra. These groups are funded by Saudi Arabia and directed by the MOC the US military operations room in Amman.

It cannot be imagined the swift Jordanian transformations in conjunction with the visit of the Jordanian King to Washington without the availability of three conditions; first, US demand or blessing or at least a support of this transformation, second, having Saudi encouragement or at least an acceptance, third, a green Israeli light especially the Jordanian air force for raids that have been implemented in sensitive accurate sites or at least not objecting that. The three conditions have one center necessarily, the US decision to support Astana path till the path of Geneva becomes ready and the effective  US participation in the war and the political track after the summit of the Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

The current information says that Saudi Arabia and Turkey have cooperated to drive Jordan to do that transformation and positioning to hinder what is prepared by Washington and Moscow to grant Egypt the Arab seat in Astana Path. Riyadh which stood positively encouraging the path of the settlement in Lebanon was capable despite the scream of its leaders against the Iranian influence through their announced war on Hezbollah of discovering an indirect way through which it can encourage the ally that took the initiative, but they do not bear its responsibility however they bless its success and receive the congrats in case of its success. It seems that Jordan was selected, because it does not have the ability to implement raids without big international regional cover, it does not have the ability to bring the armed groups to Astana Path and the war on ISIS and Al Nusra without such a cover or even more, and because its gains from ensuring its security of this positioning are great in addition to its moral revenues. But most importantly are the implicit signs of the cooperation and the normalization of the governmental Syrian-Jordanian relations which Saudi Arabia cannot do directly at least right now.

Egypt was slow in moving toward Astana Path and the preparation to fill the gaps in the mechanisms of ceasing-fire, knowing that it is more qualified and acceptable; it is a source of relief for all the participants and the involved. Moreover, it symbolizes the Arab cover which is needed by Astana Path. Although the Jordanian step and its implications are important, but the time is not too late for Egypt to take a step that will lead to major transformations in the balances, and will grant the path toward the political solution and the war on terrorism a lot of momentum. Jordan becomes one of the neighboring countries which joined the path as Lebanon and Iraq, while Egypt forms the Arab partner which makes a positive balance with Turkey and Iran.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

الأردن يتموضع… لاستباق مصر!

فبراير 7, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– خلافاً لكل المؤشرات التصعيدية لإدارة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب، تبدو الدبلوماسية السرية تشتغل بفعالية، فخلال يومين من عودة الملك الأردني من واشنطن، كان الأردن يتحرّك لضربات تستهدف داعش في الحدود السورية الأردنية القريبة من فلسطين المحتلة، قرب منطقة اليرموك والشجرة، ثم يتوجّه بطلب انضمام عاجل إلى مسار أستانة الذي ترعاه موسكو وطهران وأنقرة لوقف النار، ويشارك في الاجتماع التنسيقي عارضاً ضمّ الجماعات المسلحة جنوب سورية لوقف النار وإعلان الحرب على داعش والنصرة، وهي الجماعات التي تديرها غرفة الموك الأميركية من عمان، وتموّلها السعودية.

– لا يمكن تخيّل التحولات الأردنية السريعة بالتزامن مع زيارة الملك الأردني لواشنطن، من دون توافر ثلاثة شروط، الأول طلب أميركي أو مباركة ودعم على الأقل لهذا التحوّل، الثاني الحصول على تشجيع سعودي أو قبول على الأقل، الثالث ضوء أخضر «إسرائيلي»، وخصوصاً لتنفيذ غارات بسلاح الجو الأردني في مناطق حساسة ودقيقة، أو عدم ممانعة على الأقل، والثلاثة محورها واحد بالضرورة قرار أميركي بدعم مسار أستانة، ريثما ينضج مسار جنيف والمشاركة الأميركية الفعالة في الحرب والمسار السياسي بعد قمة الرئيسين دونالد ترامب وفلاديمير بوتين.

– المعلومات المتداولة تقول إن السعودية وتركيا تعاونتا لدفع الأردن للقيام بالتحوّل والتموضع قطعاً للطريق على ما تعده واشنطن وموسكو لمنح مصر المقعد العربي في مسار أستانة، وأن الرياض التي وقفت بإيجابية لتشجيع مسار التسوية في لبنان، وقد استطاعت الرياض رغم صراخ قادتها عن النفوذ الإيراني وحربهم المعلنة على حزب الله، اكتشاف طريقة تشجيع مواربة لحليف يقوم بمبادرة تخترق جدار الجليد ولا يتحمّلون مسؤوليتها، بل يباركون نجاحها، ويقفون في صفوف متلقي التهنئة في حال النجاح، ويبدو أن الاختيار وقع على الأردن الذي يعرف أنه لا يملك قدرة تنفيذ غارات من دون غطاء دولي إقليمي كبير، ولا يملك قدرة جلب الجماعات المسلحة لمسار أستانة والحرب على النصرة وداعش من دون مثل هذه التغطية وأكثر، وأن مكاسبه بضمان أمنه من هذا التموضع كبيرة، عدا عن عائداته المعنوية، والأهم ما يرافق ذلك كله من علامات ضمنية لتعاون وتطبيع للعلاقات السورية الأردنية الحكومية لا تملك السعودية القيام بها مباشرة، الآن على الأقل.

– تباطأت مصر في التحرك نحو ملاقاة مسار أستانة والاستعداد لملء الفراغات في آليات وقف النار، وهي الأكثر أهلية ومقبولية، وتريح الجميع من مشاركين ومعنيين، وهي التي ترمز للغطاء العربي الذي يحتاجه مسار أستانة، ومع أهمية الخطوة الأردنية ومعانيها، يبقى أن الوقت لم يفت على خطوة مصرية سيكفي حدوثها ليحمل معه تحوّلات كبرى في التوازنات ويمنح المسار نحو الحل السياسي والحرب على الإرهاب قوة دفع كبيرة، ويصير الأردن واحداً من دول الجوار التي تنضم للمسار ومثلها يفعل لبنان والعراق، بينما تشكّل مصر الشريك العربي الذي يقيم التوازن الإيجابي مع تركيا وإيران.

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Coverage of Aleppo: a new low in the mainstream media’s integrity

A general view taken with a drone shows the Old City of Aleppo and Aleppo's historic citadel, Syria October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail/File Photo - RTSV11Y

Old City of Aleppo and Aleppo’s historic citadel, Syria October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail/


By Bas Spliet, Submitted by Bas Spliet
Scrutinised Minds, 3/2/2017

Remember Aleppo? Close to two months have now passed since the eastern part of Syria’s largest pre-war city was retaken by the government. Peace has returned to the ancient city, the jihadis and their sympathisers have been evacuated to rebel-held parts of the country, and negotiations between the government and the armed opposition under the auspices of Russia, Iran and Turkey are ongoing. The mainstream media, however, is suddenly relatively silent. Perhaps they don’t want you to know what life under rebel occupation must have been like. In this article, I offer a comprehensive analysis of the mass media’s war-time coverage of Aleppo, with emphasis on what they described as its “fall” in December 2016.

Unreliable sources and undocumented allegations

When Cartman and Stan broke the world’s largest beaver dam in the ninth season of South Park, it caused the town of Beaverton to flood. Standing 10 miles outside of the destroyed city, unable to get in, reporter Mitch explained the situation inside the city to news anchor Tom:

Mitch: “We have not any reports of fatalities yet, but we believe that the death toll may be in the hundreds of millions; Beaverton only has a population of 8.000, Tom, so this would be quite devastating.”

Tom: “Any word on how the survivors in the town are doing, Mitch?”

Mitch: “We’re not sure what exactly is going on inside the town of Beaverton, Tom, but we’re reporting that there is looting, raping, and yes, even acts of cannibalism.”

Tom: “My god, you’ve actually seen people looting, raping and eating each other?”

Mitch: “No. No, we haven’t actually seen it, Tom, we’re just reporting it.”[1]

At first glance, it might seem odd and even perverse to link this South Park scene to the mass media’s coverage of the real-life war-torn city of Aleppo. The similarities, however, are striking. Just like in the above-mentioned clip, the mainstream media has almost no reporters on the ground in Aleppo, let alone in Syria, as its correspondents almost exclusively report from Lebanon or Turkey. The Western press therefore has to rely on their usual compromised sources, such as the White Helmets, an obscure Western-funded NGO infamous for being armed and partial contrary to their own claims, spokespeople from Nour al-Din al-Zinki – infamous for decapitating a 12-year-old Palestinian boy with a small knife – and other Western-backed “moderate rebel” groups, and a handful of other “journalists,” “activists” and “doctors” embedded with the insurgents (the primary sources of many documented fabrications)[2] who sent out their “final videos” when the Syrian army was closing in on east Aleppo, implying that they were awaiting an imminent genocide. The Daily Beast went as far as including allegations circulating in rebel chat forums in its reporting.[3]

Claims coming from these “reliable” sources that the Western press eagerly reported on without much scrutiny include the estimation of 100.000 trapped civilians in only “a few streets, a few blocks, maybe a neighbourhood,”[4] bombs falling at a ratio of 10 per minute,[5] more than 100 unattended children being trapped in a building amid attacks by the Syrian army,[6] the Syrian army and pro-government militias executing more than 180 people after taking over rebel-held neighbourhoods,[7] the streets lying “full of dead bodies,” government forces capturing the remaining food supplies, women and children being “cooked alive by barrel bombs,” and “the conquerors of Aleppo” raping in the course of their “Assadist blitzkrieg,” prompting numerous women to kill themselves in order to escape rape.[8] None of these claims were accompanied by evidence.[9]

The UN OHCHR High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, too, alleged from “reports” that pro-government forces might have killed 82 civilians. Again, it was the Western press that distorted Zeid’s words and presented the undocumented allegation as a fact, however. The BBC claimed that “Syrian pro-government forces in eastern Aleppo have been killing people, including women and children, on the spot in their homes and on the street, the United Nations says,”[10] while the UN never said such a thing. The only thing that Zeid (who, it should be noted, is a prince of the Jordanian monarchy, which is heavily involved in the war against Syria) said, was that he had “reports.” Furthermore, when Rupert Colville, the Commissioner’s spokesperson, was asked which forces would be involved in these executions, it became pretty clear how substantiated this claim is:

I can’t say who has done all of them, but we understand that at least one Iraqi militia was involved. We’ve heard of killings of civilians in this way in four different locations, so it may well be different forces involved.”[11] (emphasis added)

Compare this to the OHCHR-linked Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which also received “allegations” the next day of opposition groups, including Ahrar al-Sham, “preventing civilians from leaving as well as opposition fighters embedding themselves within the civilian population, thus heightening the risk to civilians of being killed or injured.”[12] While the Commissioner’s statement found its way to headlines across the world, these warnings have been swept under the rug by the mainstream media. The latter, however, follows an existing pattern,[13] while to date, no evidence or even a source of the former claim has been put forward.

Reminding us of the Iraqi and Libyan opposition’s numerous undocumented and later disproven allegations that the Western press uncritically reported on in concert at the time, the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn stated:

“Experience shows that foreign reporters are quite right not to trust their lives even to the most moderate of the armed opposition inside Syria. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers. They would probably defend themselves by saying they rely on non-partisan activists, but all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups. It is inevitable that an opposition movement fighting for its life in wartime will only produce, or allow to be produced by others, information that is essentially propaganda for its own side.”[14]

In another article, Cockburn reiterates:

“By kidnapping and killing [foreign journalists], it is easy to create a vacuum of information that is great in demand and will, in future, be supplied by informants sympathetic to or at the mercy of the very same people (in this case the jihadi rulers of east Aleppo) who have kept out the foreign journalists. Killing or abducting the latter turns out to have been a smart move by the jihadis because it enabled them to establish substantial control of news reaching the outside world.”[15]

Then again, as this situation plays right into the hands of the US-NATO interventionists, we have to ask ourselves to what extent this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the imperialists and their regional proxies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in particular) continue to supply both Syrian and foreign jihadis with weapons, finances and training while knowing full well the nature of these insurgents, it would be naive to think that the jihadi media monopoly was not the intended outcome. Moreover, NATO has been able to exert considerable influence in the propaganda that is exported to the West, not only through funding but also by providing special “media training” to the very same “rebel activists” that are the primordial disinformation agents in sustaining the false narrative.[16] Most notably, the French government and the EU funded the notorious Aleppo Media Center,[17] and, in addition to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, the US, the UK and some other countries have made large contributions to the White Helmets, an opposition-linked NGO established by a former British intelligence officer.[18] Not surprisingly, both organisations continuously blame the Syrian government for everything, just like NATO, and tirelessly call for a Libya-style no-fly zone, just like NATO.

The suppressed voices: Aleppo’s citizenry

Reaffirming its methodology of reporting on the war in Syria, the mass media is relying almost exclusively on the unverified accounts of a handful of obscure sources representing only a tiny minority of Aleppo’s population, implying that their view of seeing the Syrian government not just as the primary, but as the sole culprit of all the dead and devastation surrounding them is shared by most of Aleppo’s citizens. Yet, the two other parts of the Aleppo citizenry, both much greater in number, are ignored by the mainstream media.

First of all, we have to take into account that Aleppo has been artificially divided for the last four and a half years as a result of the war. The historical order of the city was restored by the reunification of its eastern and western parts. The population of the west – estimated at 1.5 million, several times higher than that of the east – is therefore significant to the story. Yet, while the Western press constantly quoted “activists” in east Aleppo, it failed to listen to what west Aleppans had to say about the situation in their city. Certainly the well-oiled propaganda machine would have brought demonstrations mourning the “fall” of east Aleppo to our attention, if there were any. Not only had opposition-linked social media none of the sort to offer their imperialist funders, but the absolute opposite happened when it became clear that the army’s seizure of east Aleppo was imminent. Indeed, many west Aleppo citizens took to the streets to celebrate, not decry, the government’s retaking of east Aleppo while waving not rebel-backed Free Syrian Army flags, but official ones.[19]

Second, and even more important, are the civilians that fled to government-controlled areas. According to UN[20] and Red Cross[21] estimates, 34.000 to 35.000 people have been evacuated to rebel-held Idlib. Take in mind that although these undoubtedly include some unarmed civilians, they are mostly made up of thousands of fighters and their families, as hinted by UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.[22] As the media consistently claimed (and probably exaggerated to some extent) that there were at least 250.000 civilians trapped in east Aleppo for the last few months, this means that a much larger amount of east Aleppans have flocked to government-controlled areas. Indeed, according to the Russian Reconciliation Center,[23] more than 100.000 civilians (including over 40.000 children) had left the eastern part of the city by 12 December, when fighting was still ongoing. When we listen to the stories of these refugees, it becomes clear why the mass media chose to ignore what they had to say.

First and foremost, long-time Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk interviewed one of the very first Muslim families that fled eastern Aleppo during a ceasefire a couple of weeks before the final advance of the Syrian army:

“The father had just been told that his brother was to be executed by the rebels because he crossed the frontline with his wife and son. He condemned the rebels for closing the schools and putting weapons close to hospitals. And he was no pro-regime stooge; he even admired Isis for their good behaviour in the early days of the siege.”[24]

Andrew Ashdown, a British Anglican priest, visited east Aleppo and the centre for internally displaced persons at Jibreen on 14 December, emphasising that the Syrian authorities did not receive prior notice of his visit. I could not but cite a large chunk of his account:

“The sense of relief amongst the thousands of refugees is palpable. All were keen to talk [and] all said the same thing. They said that they had been living in fear. They reported that the fighters have been telling everyone that the Syrian Army would kill anyone who fled to the West, but had killed many themselves who tried to leave – men, women and children. One woman broke down in tears as she told how one of her sons was killed by the rebels a few days ago, and another kidnapped. They also killed anyone who showed signs of supporting the Government. The refugees said that the ‘rebels’ told them that only those who support them are ‘true Muslims’, and that everyone else are ‘infidels’ and deserve to die.

They told us they had been given very little food: that any aid that reached the area was mostly refused to them or sold at exorbitant prices. Likewise, most had been given no medical treatment. […] Most of the refugees said they had had members of their families killed by the rebels and consistently spoke of widespread murder, torture, rape and kidnap by the rebels. […] They all said they were glad to be out and to be free. All the refugees without exception were visibly without exception clearly profoundly relieved and happy to be free.”[25]

This may sound absurd if you consistently relied on the mainstream media for the last few months. None of the stories of other journalists and travellers that have visited Aleppo, including US congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, contradict Ashdown’s account, however.[26] All recorded testimonies of east Aleppo residents speak of the unimaginably barbaric behaviour of the insurgents, and no one relinquishes “moderates” from this inhumane activity. As a matter of fact, the residents themselves don’t seem to make a distinction between “extremist” terrorists and “moderate” rebels. The discrepancy between the narrative of the Western press and that of the people who are actually living through this is just mind-boggling. Vanessa Beeley, for instance, visited east Aleppo on 11 December and interviewed a woman from Hanano, who said, among other things, that one woman told the insurgents she wanted to leave, after which they shot her in the mouth.[27] Most tellingly, though, Bolivian-American actress and filmmaker Carla Ortiz, who spent eight months in Syria working on a documentary called Voice of Syria, somehow found her way to a CNN studio to share what east Aleppo residents told her:

“[They told me] how they were starved, how they were deprived from education, how, if they would dare to cross to the other side the terrorists would kill them, how little girls are […] sexually abused. […] They say for them it’s just Daesh [ISIS]; they don’t care if it’s a rebel or Free Syrian Army [fighter].”[28]

It should be noted that, contrary to the situation in rebel-held areas, the Syrian government does not have a full-scale monopoly on news in areas under its control. In a rare instance for the Western press, the BBC even had a correspondent on the ground during the final stages of fighting in Aleppo. As the BBC has been trying to demonise the Syrian government at every turn for the last five years (including manipulating, and most likely even fabricating, video evidence of alleged chemical warfare by the Syrian army),[29] you would expect its correspondent, Lyse Doucet, to find as many civilian accounts as possible to corroborate the undocumented allegations of government atrocities. Surely she could have easily countered all the above-mentioned stories if they would tell only half of the story, as she talked to many refugees from east Aleppo. When going through her reporting, however, none of the sort is to be found. Moreover, although she clearly tries to bend the issue as much as possible to the “both sides are equally bad” narrative, it looks like she only managed to find seemingly pro-government families to talk to. Indeed, in two separate videos, a woman and children are filmed praising Assad, the army and the government.[30]

In context: coverage of Aleppo during the war on Syria

By now, it has become quite clear that most media coverage of the reunification of Aleppo is the absolute antithesis of the reality on the ground. But what about the last four and a half years, was there ever any objectivity in the major news outlets’ reports?

Aleppo was Syria’s largest city before the war and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. According to the dominant narrative, Aleppo rose up against the dictatorial Syrian government in July-August 2012, paving the way for pro-democracy fighters to liberate the ancient city. Yet, by the end of August, when the “revolutionaries” had taken control of much of the city, a rebel commander admitted to the Guardian that the overwhelming majority of the Aleppo citizenry was pro-government:

“Around 70% of Aleppo city is with the regime. It has always been that way. The countryside is with us and the city is with them. We are saying that we will only be here as long as it takes to get the job done, to get rid of the Assads. After that, we will leave and they can build the city that they want.”[31]

Taking this into account, the word “uprising” seems inapplicable. Indeed, as acknowledged by India’s then ambassador to Syria, it was pretty clear that the people in Aleppo did not want to take part in the armed rebellion’s so-called revolution:

“Aleppo remained calm and this troubled the [armed] opposition greatly. The opposition couldn’t get the people in Aleppo to rise up against the regime so they sent bus loads of people to Aleppo. These people would burn something on the streets and leave. Journalists would then broadcast this saying Aleppo had risen.”[32]

Rather than an internal revolt, the armed opposition invaded the city in convoy trucks coming from the north.[33] The BBC’s Ian Pannell even rode in with the militants into Aleppo, admitting in his otherwise twisted report (the scenes of which look an awful lot like what the Indian diplomat described above) that “many fear what they are really seeing is an Islamic takeover.”[34]

And so the eastern part of Syria’s financial and industrial centre fell to the Islamist insurgents. In the next few years, media attention mainly moved to other parts of Syria, and Aleppo remained divided. Media hysteria stirred up again in 2016, conveniently around the time it became clear that the Syrian army was slowly gaining the upperhand. Opposition-linked social media often went into overdrive, making up countless false stories and producing a myriad of undocumented allegations of government atrocities, which were then eagerly adopted by the Western press.[35] In July temporarily, and in September permanently, the army finally managed to encircle rebel-held east Aleppo, thus imposing a siege. This provoked unilateral outrage among Western officials, totally neglecting the fact that they have either been directly responsible for or supportive of numerous other inhumane siege-like situations in the region – from the years-long devastating sieges of the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants on the villages of Foua, Kafraya, Nubl and Zahraa in Syria, to the vast humanitarian crises and hundreds of civilian deaths resulting from the US military campaigns to drive Daesh (ISIS) out of Mosul, Manbij, Fallujah and many other Iraqi and Syrian cities, to similar past and present sieges in the Middle East such as the US siege on Iraq that left 500.000 children dead according to UN estimates or the US Navy-backed blockade on Yemen’s ports, not to mention the crippling Israeli blockade on the Gaza strip, and last but not least, to the catastrophic economic sanctions imposed by the US and the EU on the whole of the Syrian people, some of which were installed well ahead of the eruption of violence in 2011.[36]

Now that they are driven out of Aleppo, the true face of the insurgents is emerging, and the fake narrative propagated by the mainstream media is falling apart. Reports of Syrian and Russian troops finding mass graves with bodies showing signs of torture and mutilation confirms the accounts of civilians who have lived under the jihadi occupation.[37] This does not mean that the West’s leading news producers could not have known the real story of Aleppo prior to its seizure by the army, however. They downplayed as much as they could the fact that these Western- and Gulf-equipped so-called revolutionaries killed hundreds of civilians by indiscriminately shelling urban parts of west Aleppo on an almost daily basis during the whole of 2016, leaving UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura “appalled and shocked” of the rebels’ usage of disproportionate weapons.[38]

While the Western press seized every opportunity to smear pro-government forces by persistently giving a platform to undocumented claims of the same “rebel activists” known for their numerous lies, it remained silent when the jihadis shot at civilians trying to leave.[39] While the picture of Omran Daqneesh, the (supposedly) wounded toddler in the ambulance, made it to almost all front pages across the globe, the story of 12-year-old Abdullah Issa, who was beheaded by the US-backed “moderate rebels” of Nour al-Din al-Zinki, remains largely untold. While the mainstream media cried crocodile tears every time the jihadis claimed that Russian or Syrian air strikes leveled the “last hospital” in east Aleppo, it ignored refugee accounts that denounced the rebels for depriving them of education and medical treatment. While the press decried the alleged death of the “last pediatrician” in an attack on the makeshift al-Quds hospital (which did almost certainly not even happen), it ignored accounts of real doctors in Aleppo refuting the mainstream media lies.[40] Instead of listening to the few civilians that managed to flee east Aleppo prior to the final advance of the army in December,[41] the mainstream media kept relying solely on “activists” embedded with the Islamists, thereby prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people by convincing Western policy makers, and much of the world by extension, that rebel successes must be cheered upon. And thus, when the outside world mourned the fall of Aleppo, Syrians celebrated its liberation.

Conclusion

While the corporate press is now labelling everything not in accordance with its own coverage as “fake news,” this article has made it pretty clear who the chiefs of deception really are. One must not underestimate the power of the fourth branch of the government. If it serves not as a critical examinator of government policies but instead as its purveyor and mouthpiece and at the same time is still regarded as “pluralistic and free,” a very dangerous cocktail of propaganda emerges. The masses could then be convinced into supporting wars of aggression, which is exactly what happened in the lead up to the military campaigns against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. What makes you think this is any different?


RELATED BY THE SAME AUTHOR:

THE PROXY WAR ON SYRIA

the-proxy-war-on-syria

https://scrutinisedminds.com/category/the-proxy-war-on-syria/


Notes

[1] “Southpark – we are just reporting it,” Youtube channel of PeanutButterFingers, 26.05.2014, consulted on 15.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Zd0p96miSK8.

[2] Many documented examples are mentioned in part 3 and 4 of my The proxy war on Syria series: Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 3: Does Assad ‘kill his own people?’ Deconstructing the ‘Assad must go’ narrative,” Scrutinised Minds, 13.12.2016, https://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/12/13/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-3-does-assad-kill-his-own-people-deconstructing-the-assad-must-go-narrative/; Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 4: The export of disinformation,” Scrutinised Minds, 20.12.2016, https://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/12/20/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-4-the-export-of-disinformation/.

[3] Michael Weiss, Roy Gutman and Alex Powell, “Women in Aleppo choose suicide over rape, rebels report,” The Daily Beast, 13.12.2016, http://.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/12/last-rebels-in-aleppo-say-assad-forces-are-burning-people-alive.html.

[4] “Estimated 100,000 civilians still trapped in  Aleppo,” CNN, 13.12.2016, http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2016/12/13/crisis-as-syrian-troops-advance-pleitgen-lkl.cnn.

[5] “Aleppo resident: ‘nowhere to go’ as bombs interrupt interview,” BBC, 14.12.2016, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38315465.

[6] May Bulman, “Aleppo: more than 100 children in building under heavy attack, says Unicef,” The Independent, 13.12.2016, http://independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/aleppo-children-trapped-syria-civil-war-unaccompanied-unicef-eastern-a7472506.html.

[7] Jack Khoury, “Aleppo: massacre reported as Syrian army presses assault on last rebel holdout,” Haaretz, 13.12.2016, http://haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/1.758513.

[8] Weis, Gutman and Powell, “Women in Aleppo choose suicide over rape.”

[9] Following a long pattern throughout this war, fake images and images falsely attributed to Aleppo have also circulated widely on social media. For the most part, however, the mainstream media was wise enough not to jump on that bandwagon. For some examples, see “Fake ‘Aleppo genocide’ pics spread online amid new calls for ‘humanitarian’ war on Syria,” Mintpress News, 20.12.2016, http://.mintpressnews.com/fake-aleppo-genocide-pics-spread-amid-new-calls-for-war-on-syria/223306/; “Fake images about Aleppo circulate on social media, France 24, 15.12.2016, http://observers.france24.com/en/20161215-fake-images-aleppo-social-media.

[10] “Aleppo battle: UN says civilians shot on the spot,” BBC, 13.12.2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38301629.

[11] “‘Assad tue des civils’: un responsable de l’ONU accuse, mais, penaud, ne peut rien prouver,” Youtube-channel of RT France, 16.12.2016, consulted on 21.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Up3ZPoautDo.

[12] “Statement by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on the situation of civilians affected by the capture of Aleppo,” UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 14.12.2016, http://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21031&LangID=E.

[13] Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 2: The two myths about the armed opposition,” Scrutinised Minds, 06.12.2016, https://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/12/06/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-2-the-two-myths-about-the-armed-opposition/; also acknowledged in the past by the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: “Calls grow for Syrian government to end Aleppo siege,” The Daily Star, 29.07.2016, http://dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2016/Jul-29/364570-calls-grow-for-syria-government-to-end-aleppo-siege.ashx.

[14] Patrick Cockburn, “This is why everything you’ve read about the wars in Syria and Iraq could be wrong,” The Independent, 02.12.2016, http://.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-aleppo-iraq-mosul-isis-middle-east-conflict-assad-war-everything-youve-read-could-be-wrong-a7451656.html.

[15] Patrick Cockburn, “There’s more propaganda than news coming out of Aleppo this week,” The Independent, 17.12.2016, http://independent.co.uk/voices/aleppo-crisis-syrian-war-bashar-al-assad-isis-more-propaganda-than-news-a7479901.html.

[16] “Syria – killing journos enabled ‘media activist’ domination – intended effect?”, Moon of Alabama, 19.12.2016, http://moonofalabama.org/2016/12/unconventional-warfare-killing-journalists-creates-media-activist-domination.html#more.

[17] Vanessa Beeley, “‘Aleppo Media Center’ funded by French Foreign Office, EU and US,” 21st Century Wire, 20.09.2016, http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/20/exclusive-aleppo-media-centre-funded-by-french-foreign-office-eu-and-us/.

[18] Brandon Turbeville, “White Helmets NGO: a ‘rescue and assist’ operation under the guise of human rights,” Mintpress News, 11.05.2016, http://mintpressnews.com/white-helmets-ngo-rescue-assist-operation-guise-human-rights/216324/.

[19] Clearly visible in video’s presented by RT, Press TV and Reuters: “Street celebrations in Aleppo on news of Syrian  army retaking east of city – RT reporter,” RT, 12.12.2016, http://rt.com/news/370084-aleppo-liberation-reports-celebrations/; “Celebrations in Aleppo after its full liberation,” Youtube-channel of Press TV News Videos, 22.12.2016, consulted on 24.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Cgh6wcqQamM; “Celebrating victory in Aleppo,” Reuters, 22.12.2016, http://reuters.com/video/2016/12/22/celebrating-victory-in-aleppo?videoId=370787914. Also acknowledged by the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (according to which, celebrations erupted in several cities), al-Jazeera, the Daily Mail and International Business Times: “Celebrations of ‘Aleppo victory’ in cities and areas controlled by the regime forces,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 23.12.2016, http://syriahr.com/en/?p=57657; “Rebel-held east Aleppo nears collapse,” Al-Jazeera, 13.12.2016, http://aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/rebel-held-east-aleppo-nears-collapse-161212195346604.html; “Merry Christmas in Aleppo (if you’re on the winning side): dozens of Assad loyalists dress up as Santa and ‘celebrate’ in shattered city square,” The Daily Mail, 21.12.2016, http://dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4055526/Merry-Christmas-Aleppo-winning-Dozens-locals-dress-Santa-celebrate-square-enjoy-taste-normality.html; Tom O’Conner, “Christmas in Aleppo: photos, video show Christians celebrate Assad victory in Syria,” International Business Times, 22.12.2016, http://ibtimes.com/christmas-aleppo-photos-video-show-christians-celebrate-assad-victory-syria-2464372.

[20] Ellen Francis, “Syrian army announces victory in Aleppo in boost for Assad,” Reuters, 22.12.2016, http://reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKBN14B1NQ.

[21] “Syria: Aleppo evacuation completed,” Red Cross UK, 23.12.2016, http://redcross.org.uk/About-us/News/2016/December/Syria-Aleppo-evacuation-completed.

[22] John Irish and Alison Williams, “U.N. Syria envoy says rebel city Idlib risks Aleppo fate if no peace talks,” Reuters, 15.12.2016, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-syria-demistura-idUKKBN1442N4.

[23] “Over 100,000 civilians left eastern Aleppo since operation against militants began,” Russian News Agency TASS, 12.12.2016, http://tass.com/world/918621. Note that no other world body or more neutral organisation bothered to estimated the amount of civilians that fled to government-controlled areas. Therefore, I had to resort to the estimation of the Russian Reconciliation Center.

[24] Robert Fisk, “There is more than one truth to tell in the terrible story of Aleppo,” Counterpunch, 14.12.2016, http://counterpunch.org/2016/12/14/there-is-more-than-one-truth-to-tell-in-the-terrible-story-of-aleppo/.

[25] Andrew Ashdown, “Aleppo: the truth that the Western media refuses to report,” Talfanzine, 15.12.2016, http://talfanzine.info/blog/2016/12/15/aleppo-the-truth-that-the-western-media-refuses-to-report/.

[26] Some other examples of testimonies and interviews: Jan Oberg, “The destruction of eastern Aleppo, Syria: December 2016,” Jan Oberg Exposure, 25.12.2016, http://janoberg.exposure.co/the-destruction-of-eastern-aleppo-syria; Jan Oberg, “Humans in liberated Aleppo: December 11-12, 2016,” Jan Oberg Exposure, 29.12.2016, http://janoberg.exposure.co/humans-in-liberated-aleppo; Charlotte d’Ornellas, “Alep Liberée: un reportage de Charlotte d’Ornellas,” Youtube channel of Boulevard Voltaire, 29.12.2016, consulted on 30.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=w8DJJDCGQ9g&app=desktop; Robert Fisk, “‘We were living a real tragedy in east Aleppo’: one family’s journey across the city amid the bloodshed,” The Independent, 01.11.2016, http://independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/thousands-of-civilian-families-forced-by-militias-to-remain-in-eastern-aleppo-a7389346.html.

[27] Vanessa Beeley, “East Aleppo video diaries: Hanano testimonies that shatter corporate media propaganda myths,” 21st Century Wire, 22.12.2016, http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/20/aleppo-diaries-bearing-witness-to-the-liberation-of-hanano-east-aleppo-a-personal-view-by-vanessa-beeley/. Other testimonies of east Aleppo residents can be found at the video section of her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vanessa.beeley/videos?lst=100001241535936%3A667683867%3A1483038887.

[28] “Surprise: Carla Ortiz tells truth about Syria on CNN – fake news network,” Youtube-channel of Daily News TV, 22.12.2016, consulted on 25.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=uoL_Vu5Oqy0.

[29] Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 4.”

[30] Lyse Doucet, “Aleppo siege: ‘we are crying and afraid’,” BBC, 03.12.2016, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38194962; “Syria: celebrations as families return to homes in Aleppo,” BBC, 06.12.2016, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38218086; Lyse Doucet, “Aleppo’s terrified residents flee rebel districts, dead and hunger,” Guardian, 10.12.2016, http://theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/10/aleppos-terrified-residents-tell-of-death-and-hunger-as-flee-rebel-districts.

[31] Martin Chulov, “Syrian rebels fight on for Aleppo despite local wariness,” Guardian, 21.08.2012, http://theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/21/syrian-rebels-aleppo-local-hostility.

[32] Alia Allana, “Gulf countries played a role in the Syrian uprising,” Fountain Ink, http://series.fountainink.in/gulf-countries-role-uprising/.

[33] Tony Cartalucci, “In Syria – how to ‘liberate’ a pro-army city? NATO terrorists come to overrun, not ‘liberate,’ Aleppo,” Land Destroyer, 25.06.2012, http://landdestroyer.blogspot.be/2012/07/in-syria-how-to-liberate-pro-army-city.html.

[34] Ian Pannell, “Aleppo: BBC journalist on Syria warplanes bombing city,” BBC, 24.07.2012, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-18976690. For a critical review of Ian Pannell’s coverage, see Tony Cartalucci, “BBC rides with al Qaeda in Aleppo, Syria,” Land Destroyer, 25.06.2012, http://landdestroyer.blogspot.be/2012/07/bbc-rides-with-al-qaeda-in-aleppo-syria.html.

[35] The case of the alleged destruction of a Doctors Without Borders-supported hospital by a Syrian or Russian airstrike and the case of Omran Daqneesh, the boy in the ambulance, are discussed in part 3 and 4 of my The proxy war on Syria series, respectively. The amount of exposed false allegations, however, are too numerous to recount here.

[36] This unimaginable hypocrisy is explained perfectly in Stephen Gowans, “Our sieges and theirs,” What’s Left, 20.10.2016, http://gowans.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/our-sieges-and-theirs/.

[37] “Mass graves discovered in Aleppo, bodies showed signs of torture,” CBC News, 26.12.2016, http://cbc.ca/news/world/mass-graves-discovered-in-aleppo-bodies-showed-signs-of-torture-1.3912716.

[38] “Syrian rebels’ Aleppo offensive could amount to war crimes, UN envoy warns,” Guardian, 31.10.2016, http://theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/31/syrian-rebels-aleppo-offensive-could-amount-to-war-crimes-un-envoy-warns.

[39] “Gunfire intensifies in Aleppo despite ceasefire,” ITV News, 20.10.2016, http://itv.com/news/2016-10-20/itv-news-witnesses-fierce-gunfight-in-aleppo-despite-ceasefire/.

[40] Eva Bartlett, “Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors,” Signs of the Times, 14.08.2016, http://sott.net/article/325238-Western-corporate-media-disappears-over-1-5-million-Syrians-and-4000-doctors; Patrik Paulov, “‘Aleppo has been under fire by terrorists for four years.’ Interview with Aleppo doctor about life in Syria’s largest city.” Protetarën, 25.05.2016, http://proletaren.se/utrikes-mellanostern/aleppo-has-been-under-fire-terrorists-four-years; “A Syrian physician demolishes the propaganda put out by politicians and the media,” Ora Pro Siria, 26.07.2016, http://oraprosiria.blogspot.be/2016/07/a-syrian-physician-demolishes.html?m=1.

[41] Christoph Germann, “The world’s biggest hostage crisis is coming to an end,” Newsbud, 08.12.2016, http://newsbud.com/2016/12/08/newsbud-exclusive-the-worlds-biggest-hostage-crisis-comes-to-an-end/.


SOURCES:
By Bas Spliet, Scrutinised Minds
Submitted by Bas Spliet
War Press Info Network at :
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/coverage-of-aleppo/
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