President Al-Assad: Syrian-Russian High-Level Coordination Enhanced Syria’s Steadfastness in Confrontation of Terrorism

DAMASCUS, (ST)– President Bashar Al-Assad has stressed that the Syrian-Russian joint action and high-level coordination in all domains, mainly militarily and politically, have been among the key factors that enhanced Syria’s steadfastness in the face of terrorism and that contributed to achieving successive victories against Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra terror organizations and other terrorist groups.

President Al-Assad was speaking during his meeting on Tuesday with Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who affirmed his country’s determination to continue the fight against terrorism alongside the Syrian Arab Army in order to complete the liberation of the Syrian territories from terrorism and to maintain Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

Talks dealt with the situation in Idleb and East of the Euphrates. The two sides affirmed the need to continue joint action to reach suitable solutions that restore security and stability in these two areas. They also agreed on adopting all procedures necessary to prevent Syria’s enemies from achieving in Idleb and east of Euphrates what they failed to achieve over the past years of the war.

Some countries fight terrorism only in their officials’ statements

Some countries and forces fight terrorism only in the statements of their officials while they actually support it and keep protecting terrorists in some areas, said President Al-Assad, stressing that these policies have caused many civilian casualties and contributed to expanding terrorism to other areas.

The meeting was attended by Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, head of the National Security Bureau Ali Mamlouk, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Soussan, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin and the Russian Ambassador in Damascus.

Hamda Mustafa

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Netanyahu in Moscow: the selection of words نتنياهو في موسكو: انتقاء الكلمات

 Netanyahu in Moscow: the selection of words

مارس 18, 2019

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It is normal that the Turkish President Recep Erdogan and the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are the last ones who want to recognize the Syrian victory, as it is normal that the maneuver in the battlefields and the prevarication in the commitment are the titles of their policy. The main beneficiary from the war on Syria, its destruction, and its fragmentation as a central pillar in the growing resistance axis is the occupation entity. And the aspiring party to dominate on the Arab and Islamic worlds to overthrow the heart of Arabism represented by Syria is the Justice and Development Party led by Recep Erdogan who combined his leaderships to form the Muslim Brotherhood along with his sticking to the capacities of Turkey the most important country in the region and his belonging to the NATO to form the main base for the aggression on Syria while he was dreaming of the new Ottoman.

The scrutiny of the Turkish and Israeli policies and movements must not be based on the expectation of the final recognition of the complete failure and loss, rather on the limitedness of their movement. It seems that the Russian presence in Syria is the title of the new equation on which the Turkish and Israeli considerations depend. In the same way, that the dropping of the Russian plane by Turkey in late 2015 was a gateway for a new equation drawn by Russia that made it draw the rules of engagement in Syria against Turkey, the dropping of the Russian plane by the occupation entity in late 2018 formed a similar event. And as the Turkish prevarication continued but under the ceiling of non –collision with Russia again, the occupation entity is doing the same. And as Erdogan remained talking about the Syrian threat on the security of Turkey, and undertakes to continue the military action, Netanyahu will remain talking about the threat on the security of the occupation entity and undertakes to continue the military action too.

Turkey does not offer anything positive for interpreting its pledges to Astana path, but at the same time it does not dare to do neither of these two things: a passive action that leads it to collision with the Syrian army and its allies. Second, the obstruction of any military action by the Syrian army and its allies against the armed groups. Turkey which remained talking about a safe zone which it wants to form by extracting a part of the Syrian geography by the force of occupation has become choosing its words. Therefore, the concept of the safe zone moved from the direct Turkish military control to the refusal of any domination, then to the refusal of any control is not trusted by Turkey just in order to meet the concept of Moscow to apply Adana Agreement and the preparation to be a partner in a border area in which the Russian military is deployed.

The occupation entity which will not abide by any positive commitment towards respecting the concept of the Syrian sovereignty has abided by two things; not to approach the Syrian airspace after the dropping of an Israeli aircraft by the Syrian air defense. Second, not to target vital locations of the Syrian army and governmental and civil figures of the Syrian sovereignty. The occupation entity which was talking about its intention to target the Iranian presence since the deployment of S-300 missiles in Syria has become choosing its words. After Netanyahu had talked that he would continue his raids, he talked before his visit to Moscow about an action against the Iranian presence without using military words, and now in Moscow he is using different words, that he will continue his work to prevent Iran from achieving its goals in Syria.

The decision of the leadership of the resistance axis resulting from the meeting which brought together the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Imam Ali Al Khamenaei on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow is to repel any Israeli aggression accordingly. Moscow knew this decision notified to Netanyahu, so it advised to pay attention to the threat of a serious embroilment in an uncontrolled confrontation. Therefore Netanyahu chose his words so eloquently.

 Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

نتنياهو في موسكو: انتقاء الكلمات

فبراير 28, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– من الطبيعي أن يكون الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان ورئيس حكومة بنيامين نتنياهو آخر من يسلّم بالنصر السوري، وبسيادة غير منقوصة للدولة السورية. ومن الطبيعي أن تكون المناورة في الميدان والمراوغة في الالتزام هما عنوان سياسة كل منهما. فإذا كان من مستفيد رئيسي من الحرب على سورية لتدميرها وتفتيتها كقلعة مركزية في محور المقاومة وتنامي وتعاظم قوته في ظل القلق الوجودي من تعاظم وتنامي قوة هذا المحور، فهو كيان الاحتلال، وإذا كان من طامح للهيمنة على العالمين العربي والإسلامي من بوابة إسقاط قلب العروبة النابض الذي تمثله سورية، فهو حزب العدالة والتنمية بزعامة رجب أردوغان الذي جمع قيادته لتنظيم الأخوان المسلمين مع إمساكه بمقدرات تركيا الدولة الأهم في المنطقة، مع انتمائه لحلف الأطلسي، ليشكل القاعدة الرئيسية للعدوان على سورية وهو يعيش أحلام العثمانية الجديدة.

– المراقبة للسياسات والتحركات التركية والإسرائيلية، لا يجب أن تتم على خلفية وهم التوقع بلحظة تموضع نهائي عنوانه التسليم بالفشل الكامل والخسارة الكاملة، بل لاستكشاف درجة الضيق التي تعيشها هوامش الحركة المتاحة أمام كل منهما، وفي هذا المجال يبدو الحضور الروسي في سورية عنوان المعادلة الجديدة التي تتموضع عندها الحسابات التركية والإسرائيلية، وبمثل ما شكل إسقاط تركيا للطائرة الروسية نهاية العام 2015 مدخل رسم روسيا لمعادلة جديدة فتحت مسار تحكّم روسيا برسم قواعد الاشتباك في سورية بالنسبة لتركيا، شكل إسقاط جيش الاحتلال للطائرة الروسية في نهاية العام 2018 حدثاً مشابهاً، ومثلما استمرّت المراوغة التركية لكن تحت سقف عدم التصادم مجدداً مع روسيا، يسير كيان الاحتلال في الطريق ذاتها. ومثلما بقي أردوغان يتحدّث عن خطر على أمن تركيا من سورية ويتعهّد بمواصلة العمل عسكرياً ضده، سيبقى يتحدث نتنياهو عن خطر على أمن كيان الاحتلال ويتعهد بمواصلة العمل ضده.

– تركيا لم تُقدم على أي فعل إيجابي في ترجمة تعهداتها وفقاً لمسار أستانة، لكنها لم تجرؤ على أي من الأمرين التاليين، الأول هو فعل سلبي يوصلها إلى التصادم مع الجيش السوري وحلفائه، والثاني إعاقة عمل عسكري للجيش السوري وحلفائه بوجه الجماعات المسلحة، وتركيا التي بقيت تتحدّث عن المنطقة الآمنة التي تريد إقامتها باقتطاع جزء من الجغرافيا السورية بقوة الاحتلال، صارت تنتقي الكلمات فيتحرّك مفهوم المنطقة الآمنة من السيطرة العسكرية التركية المباشرة، إلى رفض أي سيطرة أخرى، إلى رفض أن تكون المنطقة بعهدة من لا تثق بهم تركيا، تمهيداً لملاقاة مفهوم موسكو لتطبيق اتفاق أضنة والاستعداد للدخول كشريك ضامن فيه ضمن منطقة حدودية تنتشر فيها الشرطة العسكرية الروسية.

– كبان الاحتلال الذي لن يقوم بتقديم أي التزام إيجابي نحو احترام مفهوم السيادة السورية، التزم بأمرين، الأول عدم التقرّب من الأجواء السورية منذ إسقاط الدفاعات الجوية السورية لطائرة إسرائيلية، والثاني الالتزام بعدم استهداف مواقع حيوية للجيش السوري ورموز حكومية ومدنية للسيادة السورية، وكيان الاحتلال الذي بقي بعد الإعلان عن نشر شبكة صواريخ الأس 300 في سورية، يتحدث عن نيته مواجهة واستهداف ما يصفه بالوجود الإيراني، صار ينتقي الكلمات في الحديث عن مضمون الاستهداف، فبعدما كان يقول نتنياهو إنه سيواصل غاراته، صار يتحدّث قبل زيارة موسكو عن العمل ضد الوجود الإيراني دون استخدام المفردات العسكرية. وهو في موسكو يستعمل كلمات أخرى، فيقول إنه سيواصل العمل لمنع إيران من تحقيق أهدافها في سورية.

– قرار قيادة محور المقاومة التي كان لقاء القمة للرئيس السوري بشار الأسد والإمام علي الخامنئي، منصتها الحاضرة عشية زيارة نتنياهو إلى موسكو، هو الردّ على كل عدوان إسرائيلي بما يتناسب معه كماً ونوعاً، وموسكو كانت بصورة هذا القرار الذي تبلّغه نتنياهو، مع نصيحة بالانتباه لمخاطر انزلاق جدي إلى مواجهة تخرج من تحت السيطرة، فجاءت البلاغة إلى لغة نتنياهو في انتقاء الكلمات.

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South Front


Trump Administration $5 Million For 'Heroic' White Helmets In Syria

Actions of the administration of US President Donald Trump in Syria look more and more similar to those conducted by the Obama administration.

On March 14, State Department announced that the US intends to provide an additional funding of $5m to ‘heroic’ members of the so-called White Helmets, the group, which has become widely known thanks to its involvement in staged chemical attacks and large-scale media operations in support of al-Qaeda in Syria [Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and similar groups].

A full statement by the State Department (source):

At the direction of the President, subject to congressional approval, the United States intends to provide $5 million for the continuation of the vital, life-saving operations of the White Helmets in Syria and in support of the UN’s International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) which is charged with assisting the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under International Law committed in Syria since March 2011. Today, at the third Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Ambassador James Jeffrey publicly announced these contributions. In addition to those made last year, these contributions to the White Helmets and IIIM demonstrate the United States’ commitment and ongoing support for justice and accountability in Syria.

The United States Government strongly supports the work of the White Helmets. They have saved more than 114,000 lives since the conflict began, including victims of Assad’s vicious chemical weapons attacks. With over 2,800 volunteers, they continue to provide search and rescue, emergency response, and early recovery operations helping civilians in areas outside of the control of the regime.

These heroic first responders have the most dangerous job in the world. In addition to operating in an active war zone and in dire humanitarian circumstances, the Syrian regime and Russia deliberately target White Helmets’ centers and volunteers; since 2013 more than 250 White Helmets have been killed—many in so called “double-tap strikes”—and 60 White Helmets’ centers have been damaged or destroyed by Russian and regime airstrikes and the regime. Despite these dangers, the White Helmets provide these services based on strict humanitarian principles and have become a symbol in Syria and world-wide for these courageous values.

Taking into account a recent warning by the Russian side that militants in Syria’s Idlib zone have resumed preparations for staged chemical attacks, it can be expected that soon we will observe a new wave of anti-Syria, anti-Russia and anti-Iran propaganda.


Will Trump’s Hawks Dare to Risk Israel?

Will Trump’s Hawks Dare to Risk Israel?

Will Trump’s Hawks Dare to Risk Israel?

It was the eleventh, and perhaps the most important meeting between President Putin and PM Netanyahu on 27 February, writes the well-informed journalist, Elijah Magnier: “The Israeli visitor heard clearly from his host that Moscow has no leverage to ask Iran to leave – or, to stop the flow of weapons to Damascus … Moscow [also] informed Tel Aviv about Damascus’s determination to respond to any future bombing; and that Russia doesn’t see itself concerned [i.e. a party to such conflict] ”.

This last sentence requires some further unpacking. What is going on here is the mounting of the next phase of the Chinese-Russian strategy for containing the US policy of seeding hybrid disorder – and of pouring acid in to the region’s ‘open wounds’. Neither China nor Russia wish to enter into a war with the US. President Putin has warned on several occasions that were Russia to be pushed to the brink, it would have no choice but to react – and that the possible consequences go beyond contemplation.

In short, America’s recent wars have clearly demonstrated their political limitations. Yes, they are militarily highly destructive, but they have not yielded their anticipated political dividends; or rather, the political dividends have manifested more as an erosion of US credibility, and of its appeal as a ‘model’ for the world to mimic. There is now no ‘New’ Middle East that is emerging anywhere that casts itself in the American mold.

Trump’s foreign policy-makers are not old-style ‘liberal’ interventionists, seeking to slay the region’s tyrannical monsters’, and promising to implant American values: that wing of US neo-conservatism – perhaps unsurprisingly – has assimilated itself to the Democratic Party and to those European leaders desirous of striking (a supposedly morally ‘virtuous’) pose in contra-distinction to Trump’s (supposedly amoral) transactional approach.

Bolton et al however, are of the neoconservative school that believes that if you have power, you use it, or lose it. They simply do not trouble themselves with all those frills of promising democracy or freedom (and like Carl Schmitt, they see ethics as a matter for theologians, and not a concern for them). And if the US cannot, any longer, directly impose certain political outcomes (on their terms) on the world as it used to, then the priority must be to use all means to ensure that no political rival can emerge to challenge the US. In other words, instability and bleeding open-wounds become the potent tools to disrupt rival power-blocks from accumulating wider political weight and standing. (In other words, if you cannot ‘make’ politics, at least disrupts others’ attempts so to do.)

So, how does this play out in President Putin’s messaging to Netanyahu? Well, firstly this meeting occurred almost immediately following President Assad’s visit to Tehran. This latter summit took place in the context of increasing pressures on Syria (from the US and the EU) to try to undo the Syrian success in liberating its land (obviously with much help from its friends). The explicit aim being to hold future Syrian reconstruction hostage to the political reconfiguring of Syria – in the manner of America and Europe’s choosing.

The earlier Tehran summit took place, too, against the back drop of a crystallisingmindset for confrontation with Iran in Washington.

The Tehran summit firstly adopted the principle that Iran represented Syria’s strategic depth; and concomitantly, Syria is Iran’s strategic depth.

The second item on the agenda was how to devise a scaffolding of deterrence for the northern tier of the Middle East that might contain Mr Bolton’s impulse to disrupt this sub-region, and attempt to weaken it. And through weakening it, weaken Russia and China (the latter having a major stake in terms of security of energy supply and of the viability of an Asian trading sphere).

President Putin simply outlined the principles of the putative containment plan to Netanyahu; but the Israelis had already got the message from others (from Sayyed Nasrallah and from leaks from Damascus). Its essentials are that Russia intends to stand above any regional military confrontations (i.e. try not get pulled in, as a party to it). Moscow wants to keep ‘doors open’. The S300 air defence system is installed in Syria (and is ready), but Moscow, it seems, will preserve constructive ambiguity about its rules for engagement for these highly sophisticated missiles.

At the same time, Syria and Iran have made plain that there will henceforth be a response to any Israeli air attack on “significant strategic” Syrian defences. Initially, it seems, that Syria likely would respond by launching its missiles into occupied Golan; but were Israel to escalate further, these missiles would be targeted on strategic military targets in the depth of Israel. And if Israel escalated yet further in response, then the option would exist for Iranian and Hizbullah’s missiles to be activated too.

And just to tie the pieces together, Iran is saying that its advisers effectively are everywhere in Syria where Syrian forces are. Which is to say that any attack affecting Syrian forces may be construed by Iran as an attack on Iranian personnel.

What is being constructed here is a complex, differentiated deterrence, with ‘constructive ambivalence’ at all levels. At one level, Russia deploys full ambiguity over the rules of engagement for its S300s in Syria. At another level, Syria maintains some undefined ambiguity (contingent on the degree of Israeli escalation) over the geographic siting of its response (Golan only; or the extent of Israel); and Iran and Hizbullah maintain ambiguity over their possible engagement too (by saying their advisors can be everywhere in Syria).

Netanyahu returned from his meeting with Putin saying that Israel’s policy of attacking Iranian forces in Syria was unchanged (he says this every time) – despite Putin having made it plain that Russia is not able to enforce an Iranian departure on the Syrian government. It was – and is – Syria’s right to choose its own strategic partners. The Israeli PM has however now been formally forewarned that such attacks will be met with a possible reaction that will badly disconcert his public (i.e. missiles landing in the depth of Israel). He knows too, that the existing Syrian air defence systems, (even absent S300 support), are operating with a very high degree of effectiveness (whatever Israeli commentators may claim). Netanyahu knows that Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ and ‘David’s Sling’ missile defences are not highly rated by the US military.

Will Netanyahu risk further significant attacks on Syrian strategic infrastructure? Elijah Magnier quotes well-informed sources saying: “It all depends on the direction the Israeli elections will take. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimates his chances are high enough to win a second term, then he will not venture any time soon into a new confrontation with Syria and its allies. The date of the next battle will be postponed. But, if he believes he will lose the election, then the possibility of his initiating a battle becomes very high. A serious battle between Israel on one hand, and Syria and Iran on the other hand, would be sufficient enough to postpone the elections. Netanyahu doesn’t have many choices: either he wins the election and postpones the corruption court case against him; or, he goes to jail”.

This thesis may sound compelling, but the calculus on which it rests may prove to be too narrow. It is clear that the differentiated deterrence ploy, outlined by Putin – though framed in terms of Syria – has a wider purpose. The present language used by the US and Europe signal plainly enough that they are largely finished with military operations in Syria. But, in parallel to the disavowal of further military operations in Syria, we have also seen a consolidation of the US Administration mindset towards some sort of confrontation with Iran.

Whereas Netanyahu was always vociferous in calling for confrontation with Iran, he is not known in Israel as a military risk taker (calling for ‘mowing the Palestinian grass’ carries no political risk in domestic Israeli politics). And too, the Israeli military and security establishment have never relished the prospect of outright war with Iran, unless conducted with the US fully in the lead. (It would always be highly risky for any Israeli PM to launch a possibly existential war across the region, without having a sound consensus within the Israeli security establishment.)

Yet Mr Bolton too, has long advocated ‘bomb Iran’ (i.e. in his NYT op-ed of March 2015). Until recently, it was always assumed that it was Netanyahu who was trying to coat-trail the Americans into leading a ‘war’ with Iran. Is it sure that these roles have not become reversed? That it is now John Bolton, Mike Pence and Pompeo who are seeking not all-out war, but to put maximum hybrid pressures on Iran – through sanctions, though fomenting anti-Iranian insurgencies amongst ethnic minorities in Iran, and though Israel regularly poking at Iran militarily, in the hope that Iran will overreact, and fall into Mr Bolton’s trap for ‘having Iran just where he wants it’?

This is the point of the deterrence package – it is all about ‘containing’ the US. The initiative is constructed, as it were, with all its deliberately ambivalent linkages between actors, to signal that any US attempts to foster chaos in the Greater Levant or in Iran, beyond a certain undefined point, now risks embroiling its protégé, Israel, in a much wider regional war – and with unforeseeable consequence. It is a question not so much whether Netanyahu ‘will risk it’, but will Bolton dare ‘risk Israel’?

See also

Fighting Terrorism Intellectually and Ideologically Is More Important than Fighting It Militarily

Sunday, 10 March 2019

DAMASCUS, (ST)– President Bashar Al-Assad has reiterated that the war on terrorism in Syria is part of a broader war in the international arena and that terrorism can’t be limited in a specific geographic area, because distance has never been a barrier hindering the expansion of extremist mentality.

President Al-Assad made the remarks during his meeting on Sunday with China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong and the accompanying delegation. Talks during the meeting dealt with the strong and historical relations between Syria and China and the need to consolidate coordination and cooperation in the political, military, economic, cultural and technological domains.

“It is not enough to fight terrorism militarily…fighting it intellectually and ideologically is more important,” President al-Assad said.

The war on Syria has started to take a new form based on sieges and economic war, President Al-Assad affirmed, pointing out that the tools of the international politics have changed today, and the differences that had previously been resolved through dialogue are now being addressed in a different method based on boycotts, withdrawal of ambassadors, economic siege, and the use of terrorism.

He stressed that combating terrorism will lead to a political solution in the end, and that any talk of political solutions while terrorism spreads is an illusion and a deception.

The Chinese guest official, on his part, said that China has a strategic long-term view regarding relations with Syria, stressing that thanks to the steadfastness of the Syrian leadership and people, the situation on the ground has started to improve.

He voiced his country’s readiness to keep supporting Syria and providing it with all forms of support.


Within the same context, Deputy Premier, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, during his meeting with Xiaodong and the accompanying delegation, affirmed that Syria welcomes China’s participation in the program of reconstructing what the terrorist war on Syria has destroyed, expressing the government’s keenness on providing necessary facilitations to the Chinese companies in this regard.

Al-Moallem hailed the political and humanitarian support that have been provided by China to Syria, noting that this support has contributed to the steadfastness of the Syrian people over the past years.

The Chinese senior diplomat stressed his country’s keenness on boosting bilateral relations with Syria in all domains, including in economy.

He pointed out that China will take part in reconstruction and will continue to provide humanitarian aid to help the Syrians withstand the crisis.

Hamda Mustafa

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Eva Bartlett 

In February 2019, I joined a very informative panel of journalists and activists speaking on a variety of current and important issues, including control of media and their role in war propagandizing–along with NGOs, Syria, the White Helmets, and much more. I traveled after that panel and have been busy working on a number of things since, so didn’t have the chance to share this till now.

Here is my segment, during which I present examples of Syrian voices ignored by media and some of media’s blatant lies, contrasting what I saw and heard on the ground on 11 trips to Syria.

Originally uploaded at:

Please also see these incredible presentations:

Patrick Henningsen, War – the ultimate goal of all propaganda

Vanessa Beeley -The tale of the White Helmets in the Western media,on the ground in Syria and beyond


Related links (chronological order of mention):

-Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 1

-Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 2

-Father Frans van der Lugt quote

-Dr Hussam al Samman, Madaya anecdote

-Dr Amer Ghantous on media lies around Daraa

-Dr Amer Ghantous full interview

-Madaya starvation:
-men from Madaya speak on terrorists hoarding food, starving civilians
-al-Waer, Dec 2015, food and supplies entering al-Waer

-Homs starvation and words of civilians:
-Douma—terrorist rule, CW lies

Douma Medical Student Testimony Contradicts Mainstream and White Helmets Chemical Accusations
A look at a part of the labyrinth of tunnels built by the terrorists formerly occupying Douma
-Omran Daqneesh lies & exploitation

Omran Daqneesh Father on boy’s mild injuries
-Daraa hospital and school damage & terrorist snipers proximity, May 2018

-Daraa September 2018
-Foua & Kafraya suffering:

-Zahraa, Homs:Where is the West’s compassion & condemnation following terror attacks in Middle East?

-university hospital children injured by terrorist attacks
-mortar terrorism

-Lyse Doucet/BBC dishonest journalism

Mhardeh: Shadi Shehda on his murdered children, mother, and wife, killed by terrorists in Idlib–e5c
-Aleppo normal life

Life in Old Aleppo, around the historic Citadel

old Aleppo shop owner: Just leave us in peace and we will re-build

Fares Shehabi on improved life in Aleppo since liberation

Fares Shehabi: Aleppo Factory Defying al Qaeda An Example of Rising Up Undefeated

Old Aleppo: November 2016 Terrorist Snipers Vs Today’s Peace

Signs of Reconstruction Among the Destruction in Old Aleppo

Syrian Independent MP on Western Sanctions: “They are directly affecting the Syrian people”

From A Main Square in Aleppo That Was Sniped & Bombed By “Moderate” Terrorists
Aleppo Taxi Driver and Singer 🙂

Ibrahim, an Aleppo Resident, Speaks About Experiences as Syrian Army Volunteer

Shops Re-Opened in Old Aleppo

Reconstruction in Aleppo
Lively Clothes Market, Aleppo–The City That Did NOT Fall

Steadfast Syrian Taxi Driver: I love my Country, Leadership, Army

Assad’s Tehran Visit Signals Iran’s Victory in Syria

March 9, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – For the first tiirme since war broke out in Syria in 2011, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has travelled to Iran to meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

President Assad had only travelled outside of Syria on two other occasions during the war – both times to Russia.

The significance of the trip cannot be understated – it was a message sent to those who orchestrated the proxy war against Syria that Damascus has prevailed and instead of driving a wedge between it and its allies in Moscow and Tehran – it has only drawn these regional powers closer together.

The symbol of solidarity between Syria and Iran comes at a time when Washington finds itself vacillating between a full withdrawal from Syria, a redeployment to Iraq, or an attempt to drag out the conclusion of the Syrian conflict for as long as possible by keeping US forces there indefinitely.

The Washington Post in its article, “Syria’s Assad visits Iran in rare trip abroad,” would admit:

U.S. officials said Trump’s decision authorizing a small number of U.S. troops to stay is a key step in creating a larger multinational observer force that would monitor a so-called safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey. The buffer zone is meant to prevent clashes between Turkey and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. It is also aimed at preventing Assad’s forces and Iran-backed fighters from seizing more territory.

The US will also seek to preserve militants – many of which are openly aligned with designated terrorist organizations – still occupying the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib.

While the US has certainly failed in its goal of regime change in Syria and even as it appears weak and confused regarding its policy in Syria and the Middle East in general – its potential to prolong the Syrian conflict and leave the nation more or less permanently divided persists.

Iran is in Syria for Good 

President Assad’s visit to Iran was not only a symbolic gesture of gratitude for Iran’s role in helping Syria prevail over US aggression – it is also a clear sign that Iranian influence has only grown in Syria. Iranian-backed militias have spread across both Syria and Iraq to confront US and Persian Gulf-backed terrorists including various factions of Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) itself.

Washington’s gamble banked on what it had hoped would be a relatively quick regime change operation following along the same lines as the US-backed proxy war in Libya. The Syrian government was meant to fold quickly – the US appears not to have anticipated its resilience nor the eventual Russian military intervention in 2015. Washington may also not have anticipated the scale and efficacy of the commitment made by Tehran.

Instead of liquidating one of Iran’s allies thus further isolating Tehran ahead of US-backed regime change efforts aimed directly at Iran – the terrorist proxies the US and its regional partners sponsored in Syria served as impetus for Tehran to broaden and deepen the presence of its forces – including militias sponsored by Iran – across the region, and specifically in Syria and Iraq.

US policy papers predating the 2011 proxy war against Syria – including the RAND Corporation’s 2009 publication titled, “Dangerous But Not Omnipotent : Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East,” noted that much of Iran’s domestic and regional policies revolved around self-defense.

The RAND paper itself would note:

Iran’s strategy is largely defensive, but with some offensive elements. Iran’s strategy of protecting the regime against internal threats, deterring aggression, safeguarding the homeland if aggression occurs, and extending influence is in large part a defensive one that also serves some aggressive tendencies when coupled with expressions of Iranian regional aspirations. It is in part a response to U.S. policy pronouncements and posture in the region, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Iranian leadership takes very seriously the threat of invasion given the open discussion in the United States of regime change, speeches defining Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” and efforts by U.S. forces to secure base access in states surrounding Iran.

RAND also noted Iran’s preference for asymmetrical warfare over conventional military forces and the use of resistance militias across the region. The report would note:

Some of Iran’s asymmetric capabilities are threatening. Because of its inferior conventional military forces, Iran’s defense doctrine, particularly its ability to deter aggressors, relies heavily on asymmetric warfare. Iranian strategists favor guerilla efforts that offer superior mobility, fighting morale, and popular support (e.g., the Hezbollah model in Lebanon) to counter a technologically superior conventional power— namely, the United States.

These militias would end up playing a significant role in neutralizing both asymmetrical forces sponsored by the US and its regional partners, as well as conventional military forces deployed by the US and Europe in both Syria and Iraq. It is clear that US policymakers were aware of Iran’s capabilities – and either ignored them or believed their own plans had sufficiently accounted for them.

Iran’s significant and long-term investments in sponsoring resistance forces including Hezbollah and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) across the Middle East coupled with Russia’s significant conventional military capabilities left little chance for success for US-sponsored militants – with Russia’s role in Syria preventing a more muscular conventional military response from the US when its proxy forces began to crumble.

The US and its regional partners – particularly Israel – have expressed a determination to dislodge the growing Iranian presence their own proxy war on Syria necessitated. However, despite repeated Israeli airstrikes on Syrian territory – it is clear that such airstrikes alone will accomplish very little and in the long-term even signals weakness that will only further rally Iran’s allies, justify their continued expansion across the region, and further broaden and deepen their positions well beyond Iran’s own borders – making a US-led regime change war against Iran itself a more remote possibility than ever.
America’s Flagging Unipolar Order 

The US faces an ignominious retreat from the Middle East – as well as from other areas around the globe. Its refusal to shift from its 20th century unipolar hegemonic ambitions to a constructive 21st century multipolar player may be closing permanently windows of opportunity that will cost it significantly as others displace its influence and reach in regions like the Middle East.

Russia and Iran are clearly benefactors of Washington’s stubbornness. But as Russia and Iran have both repeatedly expressed a desire for more constructive relations with the United States – perhaps policymakers in Washington believe they can risk pursuing destructive hegemonic ambitions to carve out or coerce from the region the best position possible in the Middle East before coming to the table to negotiate.

More likely though – the world is witnessing a 21st century rendition of the British Empire’s withdrawal from around the globe, stubbornly being thrown out of one corner of its realm after the other until relegated as Washington’s subordinate. For Washington, there is no other Western power for it to hand the torch of Western imperialism over to. Once it is evicted from around the globe, it will struggle to find a relevant or more constructive role to play in these regions ever again.

By virtue of Washington’s shortsightedness and its inability to adapt to the world as it really is versus how Washington desires it to be – Washington has proven itself unfit to lead the “international order” it presumes dominion over.

In a global order predicated on “might makes right,” Washington is now faced with the reality of no longer being mightiest, and thus no longer “right.”

Iran’s patient and measured resistance has proven capable of challenging and rolling back American hegemony in the Middle East and serving the ultimate goal of Tehran’s asymmetrical strategy – the defense of Iran itself.

While the prospect of US war with Iran can never be fully ruled out, it is a possibility that appears to be fading into the distance as US power wanes regionally and globally. But a flagging empire is a desperate empire. While the days of US regime change wars burning a path of destruction across the Middle East appear to be over, continued patience and persistence must be maintained by Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies to ensure the victories they are celebrating today endure and are expanded upon well into the future.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.
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