Sweida: A Bloody Massacre Barely Registered by Western Media as ISIS Slaughter Innocent Civilians in their Sleep

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On the 2nd October 2018, a young woman’s life was brought to a brutal end by a bullet from an ISIS executioner’s hand-gun. Mrs Thoraya Um Ammar was executed on video by the terrorist group more than two months after she and twenty five other women and children were kidnapped from the Sweida countryside, south of Damascus on July 25th 2018.

The images circulating of this execution are extremely distressing and we will not be sharing them in this article. During my recent visit to Syria, I visited three of the seven villages that came under attack in the eastern countryside of Sweida City on that fateful day in July 2018. The grief and anger was still very raw but civilians spoke to me of the bloodshed that was a result of the meticulously planned ISIS attack, unhindered by the US Coalition forces camped in Al Tanf, 330km to the East. ISIS entered the villages from the east and traversed vast areas of exposed desert to do so, apparently undetected by those who claim to wage war on ISIS inside Syria.

“The roads of Shrehi ran with blood” H Saab told me as we stood next to his family home in Shrehi where four of his relatives were murdered by the marauding ISIS gangs. He pointed to the still visible stains on the road in front of us and on the walls of the house and courtyard.

Our journey began in Damascus. We left early in the morning and headed due south before taking the road that brought us to the east of Sweida city and to the villages that form a chain north to south, only about 1km apart. As we entered the province of Sweida, we began to see the elaborate memorials to martyrs killed in Syria’s war against Western-sponsored terrorism. Our guide told us that these beautiful monuments are in honour of the soldiers who have given their lives in defence of their homeland. Many of these beautiful structures are placed at the entrance to villages “so their names are remembered for eternity by all those who “live because they died“.

We were told that some of these graves also date back to the 1925 ‘Great Syrian Revolt or ‘Great Druze Revolt’ against France. They are wonderful to behold, rising out of the dry desert plains, backdropped against the hills and trees that pepper the landscape stretching out in front of us.

DSCF1439-768x512_48afb.jpgJust one of the many stunning memorials to SAA martyrs from the Sweida region. Photo: Vanessa Beeley

On the drive down to the villlage of Shrehi, our guide H Saab told us that thirty-five members of his family had been killed in the ISIS attack that took place in the early hours of the 25th July 2018. I asked him what he believed to be behind this attack. He told me that he thought it was to reduce SAA pressure on the ISIS terrorists holding out in Yarmouk Basin at this time. Perhaps to give them an escape route to the US base at Al Tanf.

We entered Shahba City dating from Byzantine times and a city modelled on ancient Rome – “temples, triumphal arches, baths, a theatre, and a great wall surrounding the city were all built based on the plan of a typical Roman city”. We exited the ancient city through the remains of the East Gate and continued on to a number of towns and villages, some built during the Ottoman empire. H Saab told me that many of these village have labyrinths of caves that run underground beneath the houses.

At the entrance to Shrehi, one of the villages attacked by ISIS in July, we stopped the car to visit the poster that had been erected with the names of the martyrs killed during the attack. Young men, women, children, murdered by a terrorist group with a history of collusion with the US Coalition against Syria and the Syrian Arab Army. Acclaimed journalist, Elijah J. Magnier wrote at the time:

“ISIS knew it was possible for its convoy to drive under the eyes of a superpower state (the US) without being disturbed.”

We drove up to one of the highest points in the village of Shrehi to meet with the representatives of the village and the survivors of the attack. We entered the traditional “madafa”, the welcoming room in the Saab family home.

Once inside the Madafa the story of the attack was told by Khaled Saleh Saab.

“The terrorists entered the village at 4 am while most of us were still sleeping. We were awoken by the shooting and the cries of ‘Allah Akhbar’. They shot out the lights in the village and there was no moon that night so they worked under the cover of total darkness”

On the way into Shrehi we had passed a house that had been one of the first to be targeted (see video), the mother, father and son were murdered by ISIS, the daughter was injured but survived. According to Khaled, 53 ISIS terrorists entered the village and all of them were eventually killed by the young men defending their families and their land:

“We defended our land and our homes because this land is mixed with the blood of generations of our people. We will not accept that people without morals or humanity can touch this land. We stay, we will stand and defend this land until we die. Our youth killed these terrorists even though they had very old weapons, very simple weapons. The ISIS fighters had modern, expensive equipment but we still killed them.” said Khaled.

Khaled told us that the clashes continued from 4 am until 1pm. Between 4 and 5 am the ISIS fighters took advantage of the sleeping civilians and murdered many of them in their sleep before they had time to warn their neighbours.

“The attack was a well planned military operation. ISIS coordinated their attacks in order to paralyse all the villages. They positioned snipers around the villages and along the roads that connect the villages to prevent people moving between villages or coming to the help of neighbouring villages. They came from the south and moved north.” Khaled continued.

In one of the bloodiest massacres of the eight year war in Syria, 270 civilians were martyred during this attack, more than 300 injured.

“Many of our young men, women and children bled to death in the street. Nobody was able to get to them or to transport them to hospital. If they tried they would be sniped.” Khaled told us.

Khaled told us that, in his opinion, many of the ISIS fighters were on drugs, very likely to be Captagon. “We fired many bullets into them, but they kept fighting” he told us and this was confirmed by other family members in the madafa. In January 2017, “at least 137kg of Captagon, dubbed a “jihadist drug” and “the drug of the Syrian conflict,” was seized at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in a first for France, customs officials said, adding that half of the illicit cargo was destined for Saudi Arabia.” Captagon is a psychostimulant that is used as a performance enhancer by the extremist gangs that have invaded Syria since 2011.

“After we killed the ISIS terrorists, we checked their IDs. They were Chechen, Saudi, Iraqi, Palestinian, Egyptian, Somalian. One was wearing a suicide belt, nothing remained of him after he had detonated it.”

In Shrehi alone there were 37 civilians martyred. These included Khaled’s mother, father, brother and cousin who were killed in the home we were talking in.

In Shrehi alone there were 37 civilians martyred. These included Khaled’s mother, father, brother and cousin who were killed in the home we were talking in.

“These groups, all of them, are supported by the UK, US and Gulf States to target and destroy our peaceful towns. Throughout history Syria has sacrificed martyrs and we are ready to sacrifice our souls for our land despite more than 120 countries attacking us with the terrorist groups as their instrument. They should know we will stand and fight to defend our land and our  people”

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Just one of the countless heroes from Sweida countryside – Khaled’s brother, Iskandar Saab had served in the 102 “Batch” of the Syrian Arab Army which had been decommissioned just two months before the ISIS attack on his home village of Shrehi on the 25th July 2018.

Iskandar came face to face with the crazed ISIS terrorists as he attempted to scale the hill leading up to his family’s house. He was shot in his right leg, his hand and his back. A local graduate of trade and economy and a math teacher, Mr Mahran Radi Saab saved Iskandar and managed to take him to his brother Khaled Saab. After rescuing Iskandar, Mahran was shot and killed by an ISIS sniper.

Despite his life-threatening wounds, Iskandar managed to get into his car and drive 300m under fire from the ISIS snipers who had lined the roads joining the three villages of Rami, Shrehi and Shebki.

“This land, this property belongs to our blood. It belongs to us. We will never allow any super-power to steal our land or to control our lives, our future” Khaled Saab reinforced this message several times during our talk.

After the meeting we went to the home of Ziad Saab for breakfast, which in Syria translates into “banquet”.

Ziad’s brother in law lived in one of the houses at the entrance of the village, one of the first to be attacked. As soon as the attack happened, Ziad’s brother in law managed to relay a warning to Ziad who lives with his wife and children deeper inside the village. Ziad took his simple hunting rifle and went to help. As he neared his brother in law’s home, he saw many ISIS terrorists firing randomly and fierce clashes between the ISIS fighters and civilians. It was still dark at this point. Ziad made the decision to return home to protect his own wife and children and to take his family to a safer place.

Then Ziad tried to call his brother in law. An ISIS fighter answered the phone and told Ziad his brother in law was dead, he told Ziad to call an ambulance for his own family members – they would be killed also “there will be no escape”. The ISIS terrorists also attacked the brother in law’s two daughters and their mother – 10 year old Hela and 13 year old Hala.

As we were eating breakfast, a 6 month old baby was brought into the room. Her name is Ghala. Her father was murdered just 100 meters from Ziad’s house, by the ISIS terrorists. Watching Ghala playing in the arms of H Saab, it is painful to comprehend the scale of devastation and loss that these villages have experienced. A recent Facebook post by Syrian, Wissam Sliman puts it into perspective:

“Imagine that this were your village, or your neighborhood! Imagine that one of those were your house! Imagine that the same thing happened to you! Imagine that you lost a family member, or maybe two, or maybe more! Imagine that your mother, sister, daughter or son is still kidnapped and now in the hands of the worst terrorist group ever which is ISIS!

And above all imagine that it didn’t mean anything to half of your brothers and sisters in humanity in this world,just because they are still sleeping, daydreaming and refusing to wake up! What hurts you is that if they did wake up 7 years ago, you would have had many of your beloved ones around you now, but they didn’t, cause they are still refusing to wake up!

The truth is as clear as pure water on a virgin Island, there is only one difference in the case of Syria, the truth about Syria is very painful and heartbreaking while that water on that virgin island…”

The media reports in the West were a cursory glance at the impacts of this ISIS attack upon this community, a skating over of detail and no mention of the potential connection to the US coaliton. As always, the true victims of this 8 year war will be brushed under the carpet while the focus remains upon the whitewashing of the perpertrators of the crimes against the Syrian people – the “rebel”-washing of the terrorist gangs who have been enabled to roam freely across Syria by the US Coalition and its Gulf State financiers of the sectarian ideologues described by the Colonial media as “moderates”.

During our conversations, Ziad gave a very simple message to people in the West, particularly in the UK. Watch:

DSCF1487-768x512_a623b.jpgA car at the entrance to Shbeki village had been targeted by ISIS terrorists as it was attempting to ferry injured civilians to safety. Photo: Vanessa Beeley

A burned out car seemed fused to the earth at the entrance to Shbeki. The car, a Skoda, had once belonged to Bahjat Atallah Saab who tried to rescue Zahi Jadallah Saab and his wife and son, Assem Zahi Saab, a law student. The entire car was targeted when they tried to flee the ISIS attack on Shbeki that began at 4am on 25th July 2018. The car came under attack by the ISIS snipers before being targeted by an RPG which turned the car into a furnace from which the occupants did not escape. Martyr Bahgat Saab was working as an Arabic language teacher.

IMG_1496-768x576_7ef81This house in Shbeki was taken over by ISIS early on and used as a sniper vantage point. Photo: Vanessa Beeley  

The horrific ISIS bloodbath continued in Shbeki, in fact it intensified. In this village, 60 civilians were martyred, many of them systematically picked off by ISIS snipers after they occupied one of the outlying homes set high up overlooking the buildings and streets that lay below. The house owner was in Lebanon when he heard news of the attack. He rushed home to find out what had happened to his family, he was shot and killed by the ISIS occupiers.

Hazem, a young student in his third year studying research science at Damascus University, received a call at 4.40 am on the 25th July 2018, when he was in Sweida city. He was told that his home town of Shbeki was under attack by ISIS fighters.

Hazem got in a car with five of his friends and tried to drive home, he was being guided by people inside the town who warned him which roads to avoid because ISIS had set up snipers along many of the entry roads into his village. Hazem entered from the south which was longer but safer. At 5.30 am he was still unable to enter because of the battles that were raging between the terrorists and the residents, determined to defend their families and land.

Hazem welcomed us in the traditional Sweida Madafa – the welcome room – of his family home. The sun poured through the glass onto the beautiful marble floor and chairs arranged around the sides of the room to provide a space to talk. Hazem recounted the appalling acts of violence committed by the ISIS terrorists who had entered the towns from the direction of the US base at Al Tanf, to the north-east of Shbeki, Shrehi and Rami..the villages I was able to visit.

Hazem’s testimony was shocking. He told us that his family was rounded up and taken to what he called the “bedouin house” at the outskirts of the village overlooking the plains and desert that stretch out towards the east and in the direction of the US military base at Al Tanf.

There, the ISIS terrorists took all the men outside and executed them in cold blood. Among them were Hazem’s father, brothers, cousin and neighbour. The ISIS fighters then forced the women and children to come outside to see the bodies of their fathers, sons, husbands before they kidnapped them and headed north east with 28 kidnap victims towards Tilal Al Safa.

Hazem confirmed that 60 civilians were martyred in Shbeki, the majority from sniper bullets after ISIS fighters took control of houses placed high above the village which enabled them to assassinate the young men who flocked to defend their families, one by one. Most of these young men did not realise that their hometown was infested by ISIS snipers – just as in the other villages, ISIS had attacked at 4 am under complete darkness and while everyone was sleeping. As in Shrehi, they shot out all the village lights during their approach before entering homes and murdering civilians, including children, while they slept. Hazem told us that a disabled child was beheaded as he lay sleeping in his bed.

Hazem’s mother had been used as a human shield by the ISIS fighters who forced her to walk in front of them to prevent the civilians firing upon them. She was later among the kidnap victims although she and Hazem’s sister in law managed to escape and returned to the village at night. They were terrified that ISIS had taken over the village so they slept in an abandoned house just outside the village until dawn when they were able to recognise their neighbours and families who had survived and defended their village, preventing total occupation by the terrorist group.

While we were talking with Hazem, a young boy came in to the Madafa and lay on one of the chairs. His name was Ismail, 8 years old. His father was murdered by the ISIS fighters and he was among the kidnap victims. During the move north-east with ISIS, Ismail had managed to mingle with some Bedouin children and escape the ISIS groups, before finally making it back to his village.

Before we left, Hazem wanted to send a message about the remaining 25 kidnap victims, almost entirely women and children:

Hazem showed us the road that ISIS took with the kidnap victims.

“They took the women and children who were in the Bedouin house by this road. They gathered the other women at the same end of the town next to the graves. All the women were in one place around 8.30 in the morning but they waited a long time before moving them. They took this road to the north. They took them in the direction of the Safa hills which you can see from the Bedouin house. We think they reached the Safa hills after five or six days.”

I asked Hazem if he was worried about sleeper cells or further attacks from the ISIS members. He pointed to the closest SAA checkpoint about 30 km to the north east of the village. He told me:

“There are big gaps between the SAA checkpoints, around 5km, so yes, we are worried that they may try to come back. It is not considered safe here after dark at the moment. From 5pm onwards the young men of the villages man the checkpoints in readiness for any possible attacks. We will not allow another massacre.”

Tilal-Al-Safa-SAA-Syria-Insider_bf737SAA soldiers in Toloul Al Safa to the North East of Sweida where they have been waging a fierce campaign to defeat ISIS.

The SAA have been making huge inroads in the area of Toloul Al Safa towards defeating the remnants of ISIS that have taken comfort in the shelter provided to them by the proximity of the US base in Al Tanf.

“ISIS benefitted from the US safety parameter around its military base at al-Tanaf, preventing Syrian and Iraqi armies from breaking into this parameter to pursue ISIS when needed. ISIS took advantage of the US measures and used the area to cross for the north where there is the bulk of its forces.” ~ Elijah J Magnier  

Today, 6th October 2018, Syrian Arab News Agency reported:

“Units of the Syrian Arab Army, in cooperation with the allied forces, on Saturday continued to tighten the noose around Daesh (ISIS) terrorists’ remnants in depth of the rocky cliffs surroundings Tuloul al-Safa, the last stronghold for terrorists deep in Sweida eastern Badiya (desert). The army continues to advance in the depth of the rocky cliffs, comb the caves and the cav”erns in the recently liberated areas, seizing weapons and munitions left behind by the terrorists, the reporter indicated.”

One of the kidnap victims, Thoraya Um Ammar, has been executed by ISIS, the others await their fate praying that the SAA will be able to reach them and to drive out their ISIS captors. The unity and resilience of the people of the Sweida countryside is what has enabled them to survive the ISIS attack and its traumatic aftermath. As I walked away from the stone “Bedouin” house that had been witness to such bloodthirsty brutality and violence, I spotted a flower stubbornly clinging to the wall outside. This is the spirit that has borne Syria through this 8-year war with such dignity and honour. The desire to defend their roots, to live and to love life.

By Vanessa Beeley
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FAKED CONCERN: HALEY & CORPORATE MEDIA BLEATING ABOUT IDLIB CIVILIANS, IGNORE TERRORISTS’ PRESENCE

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Partisangirl’s tweet here

Nikki Haley, the hypocritical US Ambassador to the UN, mistakenly thinks she can dictate – from New York City, far from the terrorists which her country supports – that the Syrian army cannot fight and eradicate al-Qaeda in Idlib.

Her, and other American figures’ words, come with faked concern over the lives of Syrian civilians.

This is particularly ironic given that the US-led coalition, illegally in Syria, destroyed the Syrian city of Raqqa and killed untold numbers of civilians along the way, in their fake fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) – a pretext which has only time and again strengthened IS in Syria. Raqqa remains uninhabitable, and even today corpses are still being unearthed.

Haley and the Western corporate media have been bleating in chorus about Idlib and the civilians there, deliberately ignoring the presence of Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorists occupying the governorate and surrounding areas in Aleppo and Hama governorates.

They ignore, too, the reality of life in areas which were once occupied by these terrorists: the torture, imprisonment, maiming, assassination, and starvation endured by the civilian population at the hands of these extremists and paid mercenaries.

 

The other reality Haley and co-regime change mouthpieces whitewash is that once these areas are liberated of Al-Qaeda, Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, and the myriad other extremist terrorist groups, life gets back to normal, schools reopen, cities and towns repopulate, ancient traditions resume as they have for thousands of years in this cradle of civilization.

Occupation, Liberation, Peace and Stability

With the exception of Deir ez-Zor, and smaller hamlets throughout the Syrian countryside, I’ve been to every major city and town liberated by Syria and allies from Al-Qaeda and co-terrorists. They are all now in peace, with many of the areas thriving, rebuilding, and the other areas at least in peace without the sadistic rule of terrorists.

In June 2014, I went to the old city of Homs just one month after the reconciliation deals that saw Al-Qaeda and Free Syrian Army terrorists bused out of the city. This beautiful historic old city and its ancient churches were in shambles. Some of that was due to the Syrian army fighting the terrorists, but most of it was due to the terrorists burning, looting, and booby trapping the buildings they had occupied.

Indeed, a resident of the old city, Abu Nabeel, took me around, showing me the destruction, vandalization, burning and looting that terrorists did before leaving Old Homs, including leaving bombs in residents’ homes, to inflict yet more loss of life even after the terrorists had left. But also while there in June 2014, I saw residents and youth volunteers scraping the debris, painting hopeful art on walls, beginning the rebuilding process.

Also in June 2014, two months after its liberation, I went to the ancient village of Maaloula, which had been occupied or targeted by al-Qaeda and co-terrorists from September 2013 to April 2014. They systematically destroyed, looted, burned or stole ancient relics and vandalized historic buildings. In summer 2016 and more recently in September 2018, I returned to find life pulsing during the Celebration of the Holy Cross, a nearly-1700 year old celebration interrupted only during the terrorists’ occupation of Maaloula.

In December 2015, I returned to Old Homs to find that some reconstruction had occurred. Churches were partially repaired, a school was fully rehabilitated, shops had opened, and residents were putting up Christmas decorations.

In June 2017, when I returned to Homs, I saw a city pulsing with life, and peace. That June, I also went back to Aleppo, which I’d been to four times prior to its December 2016 liberation [see: Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors,  The Villages in Aleppo Ravaged by America’s “Moderate” “Rebels”, and: Aleppo: How US & Saudi-Backed “Rebels” Target ‘Every Syrian’, November 29, 2016, Mint Press News].

I saw eastern areas that had been occupied by Al-Qaeda, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, IS and other terrorist factions. The destruction was indeed immense, as terrorists had holed up underground, including occupying schools and hospitals. The complex housing the Eye and Children’s Hospitals was turned into a headquarters for Al-Qaeda and IS, with basements turned into prisons, prisoners’ fates decided by Sharia courts of the extremists.

I returned to Aleppo in May 2018, and spent hours at the ancient Citadel, both filming peopleenjoying their time around the Citadel, and later joining them at one of the cafes encircling this historic site. Talking with Aleppo MP, Fares Shehabi, we discussed how none of this had been possible under the rule of the extremists.

Indeed, in November 2016, standing near the ruins of the Carlton Hotel, tunnel-bombed by terrorists in May 2014, and looking towards the Citadel, I was told to step back due to the risk of Al-Qaeda snipers. But the Aleppo I saw in May 2018 was likewise pulsing with life, and peace.

In media campaigns to demonize the Syrian and Russian governments, Western media mentioned al-Waer, Homs, and Madaya. But few, or none, that I’m aware of bothered to go to those places after they were restored to peace. I did, in June 2017, and unsurprisingly heard what journalists in eastern Aleppo heard when those areas were liberated: the reason they had been starving was because terrorists had stolen all the food aid that entered the town and kept it for themselves. Indeed, near a munitions workshop, I found the remnants of one such parcel, a Red Cross package. And like in eastern Aleppo, terrorists in Madaya had imprisoned civilians, and had tortured them.

When in April and May 2018 I went to various areas of eastern Ghouta, I again heard about terrorist-induced starvation. When I asked whether residents could access their farmland – as eastern Ghouta is an agricultural region – I was told that, no, they couldn’t, terrorists controlled the farmland, too, leaving them literally starving.

A few weeks ago I returned to Daraa City. I’d been there in May 2018, at a time when terrorists in Daraa al-Balad and outskirts were heavily shelling the city. At great risk, I was able to go to the state hospital, with snipers just 100 metres away from the sole route leading there. The hospital was severely damaged, with entire wards destroyed. The Children’s Hospital wing was damaged and off limits due to the proximity of terrorists roughly 50 metres away – as I would learn when I returned a few weeks ago.

In Daraa this September, there was no bombing, just the scraping of rubble as bulldozers and residents cleaned up the remnants of this foreign war on Syria.

On September 11, I went to Mhardeh, a town in northern Hama, where 13 civilians were killed by terrorists missiles targeting the town on September 7. Most of the dead were killed right away, others died slowly of critical injuries. One man lost his wife, three young children and mother to the terror attacks. He lost everything.

When I asked him how the situation of Idlib, occupied by at least 70,000 terrorists, a modest estimate – impacted him and Mhardeh, he replied that Idlib is the cause of their suffering.

The September 7 attacks on Mhardeh weren’t the first. To the contrary, the town has been relentlessly targeted for the past 7 years, its local defense commander, Simon al-Wakil, told me.

So did the Presbyterian Church’s Reverend Maan Bitar, who said: “The gunmen, the terrorists, they are in all the region of Idlib, not just Idlib city. They are also two kilometers from here (in northern Hama). We’ve received more than 7,000 missiles, rockets, and mortars these past eight years. Every time the terrorists feel they are in a critical situation, militarily speaking, from the government, they shell civilians. Nobody spoke about that. For eight years, Mhardeh town is being shelled, and civilians killed, but nobody spoke of that.”

Nearby al-Skalbiyye has also been relentlessly targeted, including with 10 Grad missiles fitted with cluster bombs, as noted by British journalist Vanessa Beeley who visited the town.

Idlib Reality: an al-Qaeda safe-haven

With the Nikki Haleys and laptop media now droning incessantly about “3 million civilians” in Idlib prone to being massacred by the Syrian and Russian armies, it’s time to reflect on a number of points.

First of all, there is no accurate figure for the number of civilians in Idlib, much less the number of terrorists. Given that when we heard the same cries before the liberation of Aleppo, with the UN itself chiming in to claim that 300,000 civilians were trapped in Aleppo’s eastern areas – the actual number was less than half that figure – we can at least be sceptical about the current claims of 300,000 in Idlib.

Moreover, among the population in Idlib, how many are terrorists? How many are being held against their will by terrorists? How many are Syrians?

Al-Qaeda’s presence in Idlib isn’t a conspiracy theory, it’s an established fact that even US State Department’s Special Envoy, Brett McGurk, made clear when he said: “Look, Idlib province is the largest Al-Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11. Idlib now is a huge problem, is an Al-Qaeda safe-haven right on the border with Turkey.

Yet, outlets like CNN whitewash their presence. While there are no definitive figures for the number of non-Syrians among those terrorists, it is a fact that there are extremists from around the world.

What Western leaders and media fail to address is the reign of terror the different extremist gangs inflict on Syrian civilians. This includes their kidnapping of untold numbers of civilians, particularly children.

Vanessa Beeley wrote this just weeks ago, noting that in a liberated area of eastern Idlib, she was told that over 600 children and adults had been kidnapped by “both the terrorist groups and the #WhiteHelmets” in the last 12 months there.

Further, it is from positions within Idlib governorate that terrorists continue to fire on Aleppo. So in spite of the liberation of Aleppo from these extremists, areas closest to them are routinely bombed.

Fares Shehabi tweeted in September about a rocket attack on Aleppo believed to have originated from Idlib.

In all of the areas I mentioned, the Syrian and Russian governments worked to offer amnesty and reconciliation to Syrians holding arms, and indeed these reconciliations enabled the return to peace in many of these areas.

The Syrian and Russian governments have again opened humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave Idlib, and as with corridors opened in Aleppo, terrorists have attacked the corridor, to prevent civilians from leaving. Some updates state that Syrians have been able to exit when the corridor wasn’t being targeted, and other updates note that terrorists are preventing civilians from leaving, or demanding money from civilians who want to leave.

Syria and Russia have again offered reconciliation and amnesty. It is terrorists within Idlib who refuse this, refuse a political process, and instead continue to hold civilians hostage and occupy Syrian territory.

On September 28, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, addressed media the day of a General Assembly meeting, noting the US-led destruction of both Raqqa and Mosul, Iraq, also noting that Russia and Syria prevented this in Aleppo and in Eastern Ghouta.

These are all points to keep in mind the next time Nikki Haley shrilling performs for the cameras. It is time to liberate Idlib, by military or political means, and bring peace to Syria.

By Eva Bartlett
Source

Wikileaks: To Weaken Iran, US Undermined Democratic Elements of Syrian Opposition to Empower Radical Groups

While seven years have come and gone since the leaked document was written by USMC intelligence, little has changed when it comes to the U.S.’ long-standing goals in Syria and its callous disregard for the will of the Syrian people and Syrian democracy.

by Whitney Webb

WASHINGTON — A recently uncovered U.S. government document published by WikiLeaks has revealed that the U.S. directly advocated for undermining “democratic” elements of the so-called Syrian “revolution” of 2011 in order to ensure the dominance of authoritarian, sectarian Sunni groups within the Syrian opposition.

The document, written by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Intelligence Department in late 2011, further asserts that empowering these radical Sunni groups over democratic and secular ones would be ideal for the United States and its regional partners, as ensuring the decline of the current Syrian government, and with it a secular Syria, would harm Iran’s regional clout.

In other words, the U.S. openly supported undermining democratic opposition forces in Syria in order to challenge Iranian influence and, with it, the influence of the Middle East’s “resistance axis” that obstructs the imperialistic agendas of the U.S. and its regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel.

According to the document, which was buried in a previous WikiLeaks release and recently uncovered by journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, U.S. military intelligence was well aware that the Syrian opposition movement in 2011 did not pose “a meaningful threat against the [Syrian] regime,” given that it was “extremely fractured” and “operating under enormous constraints.” It also noted that “reports of protests [against the Syrian government] are overblown,” even though “the exiled [Syrian] opposition has been quite effecting (sic) in developing a narrative on the Syrian opposition to disseminate to major media agencies.”

That narrative — which was subsequently promoted by several foreign governments, including the U.S., the U.K., Turkey and France — falsely claimed that the protests were massive and involved largely peaceful protestors “rising up” against the “autocratic” government led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This document, as well as substantial evidence that has emerged over the last several years, shows that this narrative, of a “peaceful uprising” seeking to establish a secular and “democratic” Syria, has never been true, as even U.S. military intelligence knew that the reports regarding these “peaceful” protests were highly exaggerated.

U.S. calling on Turkey to do its dirty work

Given that the USMC intelligence considered the Syrian opposition movement in 2011 to be an ineffective force for effecting change in Assad’s status as Syria’s leader, the document notes that it was in the U.S.’ interest for Turkey to “manage” efforts to destabilize the Assad-led government, as Turkey “is the country with the most leverage over Syria in the long term, and has an interest in seeing this territory return to Sunni rule.”

Those Turkish-led efforts would involve gradually building up “linkages with groups inside Syria, focusing in particular on the Islamist remnants of the Muslim Brotherhood in trying to fashion a viable Islamist political force in Syria that would operate under Ankara’s umbrella.” This ultimately came to pass, as the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army – previously promoted as the main force of the “democratic” Syrian opposition but now well known to be a radical, sectarian group – still takes its marching orders from Ankara.

Syria
Turkey-backed Syrian rebels and Turkish troops secure the Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Jan. 28, 2018. Photo | AP

The document advocates for these efforts to mold the “fragmented” elements of the 2011 Syrian opposition into an “Islamist” puppet force of Turkey in order to support the gradual “weakening of the Alawite [i.e., Assad] hold on power in Syria,” as well as because “Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others have a common interest in trying to severely under[mine] Iran’s foothold in the Levant and dial back Hezbollah’s political and military influence in Lebanon.”

Also notable is the fact that USMC intelligence at the time knew that these efforts to undermine the current Syrian government would have a disastrous impact on the country and its civilian population. Indeed, the document notes this on two separate occasions, stating first that “any political transition in Syria away from the al-Assad clan will likely entail a violent, protracted civil conflict” and later adding that “the road to regime change will be a long and bloody one.”

Thus, not only was U.S. military intelligence advocating for the undermining of democratic and secular forces within the Syrian opposition, it was also aware that the U.S.-backed efforts to undermine Assad would have “bloody” consequences for civilians in Syria. These admissions dramatically undercut past and present U.S. claims to be concerned with Syrian civilians and their “call for freedom” from Assad, showing instead that the U.S. preferred the installation of a “friendly” authoritarian, sectarian government in Syria and was uninterested in the fate of Syrian civilians so long as the result “severely under[mined] Iran’s foothold in the Levant.”

For much of the last two decades, but especially since the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the “resistance axis” — led by Iran — has emerged as the greatest threat to the hegemony of the United States and its allies in the Middle East. A power bloc composed of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas in Palestine, the “resistance axis” as a term first emerged in 2010 to describe the alliances of countries and regional political groups opposed to continued Western intervention in the region, as well as to the imperialist agendas of U.S. allies in the region like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran’s role as the de factoleader of this resistance bloc makes it, along with its main allies like Syria, a prime target of U.S. Middle East policy.

Sunni-stan

Washington’s support for a future authoritarian Syria may come as a surprise to some, given that the U.S. has publicly promoted the narrative of a “democratic revolution” in Syria from 2011 to the present and has used calls for the establishment of a “new” secular democracy in Syria as the foundation for its agenda of overthrowing the current Assad-led government.

However, powerful individuals in Washington have long promoted an “authoritarian” and “Islamist” state in Syria with the goal of countering Iran, much like the plan detailed in the USMC intelligence document.

For instance, current National Security Adviser John Bolton called for the establishment of such a state in Syria back in 2015, stating on FOX News:

I think our objective should be a new Sunni state out of the western part of Iraq, the eastern part of Syria, run by moderates or at least authoritarians who are not radical Islamists.”

ABTKE3Q5AJBRPISJTBE4CGHYDU.jpgA U.S.-backed anti-government fighter mans a heavy machine gun next to a US soldier in al Tanf, a border crossing between Syria and Iraq. Hammurabi’s Justice News | AP

A few months later, Bolton – this time in a New York Times op-ed – detailed his plan to create a sectarian Sunni state out of northeastern Syria and western Iraq, which he nicknamed “Sunni-stan.” He asserted that such a country would have “economic potential” as an oil producer, would serve as a “bulwark” against the Syrian government and “Iran-allied Baghdad,” and would help ensure the defeat of Daesh (ISIS). Bolton’s mention of oil is notable, as the proposed territory for this Sunni state sits on key oil fields that U.S. oil interests, such as ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers, have sought to control if the partition of Iraq and Syria comes to pass.

Bolton also suggested that Arab Gulf States like Saudi Arabia “could provide significant financing” for the creation of this future state, adding that “the Arab monarchies like Saudi Arabia must not only fund much of the new state’s early needs, but also ensure its stability and resistance to radical forces.”

Yet Bolton fails to note that Saudi Arabia is one of the chief financiers of Daesh and largely responsible for spreading “radical” Wahhabi Islam throughout the Middle East. Thus, any future state that the Saudis would fund would undoubtedly mirror the ethos of Saudi Arabia itself – i.e., an authoritarian, radical Wahhabist state that executes nonviolent protestersoppresses minorities, and launches genocidal wars against its neighbors in an effort to control their resources.

Furthermore, the ultimate goal outlined within the USMC Intelligence document of undermining  Iran’s regional clout continues to be the guide for the U.S.’ current Syria policy, which recently changed yet again to include regime change in Damascus as part of its goal. For instance, earlier this year, Bolton – in his capacity as National Security Adviser – stated that U.S. troops would remain in Syria “as long as the Iranian menace continues throughout the Middle East.”

More recently, the Trump administration “redefined” its Syria policy to include “the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces from Syria” as the administration’s top priority, while also calling for the installation of “a stable, non-threatening government” that would not have Assad as Syria’s leader.

Thus, while seven years have come and gone since the leaked document was written by USMC intelligence, little has changed when it comes to the U.S.’ long-standing goals in Syria and its callous disregard for the will of the Syrian people and Syrian democracy.

Source

Will Turkey Back or Break Militants in Northern Syria?

August 20, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Syria once again finds itself at another critical juncture. Having secured virtually all territory in the nation’s southwest, Damascus’ attention is now fixated on Idlib in the north.

Reuters has recently reported on a so-called “National Army” based in northern Syria that appears poised to confront Syrian efforts to restore peace and security nationwide.

In an article titled, “Syrian rebels build an army with Turkish help, face challenges,” Reuters would claim:

A “National Army” being set up by Syrian rebels with Turkey’s help could become a long-term obstacle to President Bashar al-Assad’s recovery of the northwest…

Reuters would also report:

The National Army compromises some 35,000 fighters from some of the biggest factions in the war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced some 11 million people from their homes over the last seven years.

And:

Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, has vowed to recover “every inch” of Syria, and though he has now won back most of the country, the Turkish presence will complicate any government offensive in the northwest.

The idea of having NATO military forces on the ground in Syria, providing protection for Western-backed militants in safe-havens has been stated US policy since the beginning of the Syrian conflict.

Seeking Safe-Havens Since 2012

The Brookings Institution – a US-based corporate-financier funded policy think tank – in its March 2012 “Middle East Memo #21” titled, “Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change” (PDF), stated explicitly that (emphasis added):

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.

The document would also state in regards to a NATO invasion of Syria that:

Turkey would have to be willing to provide the logistical base and much of the ground troops for the operation. Turkey is best placed of any country to intervene in Syria: it has a large, reasonably capable military; it has vital interests in Syria; and its interest is in seeing peace and democratic transition. 

While Brookings policymakers noted Turkey’s hesitation to do this in 2012 due to fears that Syrian Kurds might be used in some form of retaliation, the dynamics have since shifted due to Turkey’s incremental occupation of northern Syria and Washington’s minding of Kurds east of the Euphrates River.

Building a Better Proxy Army

Another more recent Brookings paper titled, “Building a Better Syrian Opposition Army” (PDF), published in 2014 would designated both Jordan and Turkey as potential bases from which to train and deploy a US backed “Syrian opposition army.”

The plan included the seizure of a significant swath of Syrian territory after which the US could recognize the militants as the “new provisional Syrian government,” then lend them more direct military, political, and economic support. In northern Syria, particularly around the city of Idlib, a slow-motion version of this plan has been unfolding for years, under the protection of the Turkish military.

Of course, both Brookings papers were written before Russia intervened directly in the Syrian conflict in 2015. Iran also has a sizable presence in Syria. Militant-held territory has been retaken all the way up to the Syrian-Jordanian border and Syrian forces are reportedly mobilizing for operations against Idlib itself.

Ankara and Washington also appear to be at odds, while at the same time, Ankara has been making overtures toward Moscow and Tehran. Of course, all of this could be geopolitical theater. It is not unprecedented for nations – particularly those aligned to the US – to feign a shift in policy only to backtrack and double down. Turkey is heavily dependent on Europe in particular economically and the vector sum of its foreign policy still appears to favor Western interests.

Turkey Created and Backed Terrorists. Turkey is Still Harboring Terrorists 

Turkey still finds itself overseeing a nearly verbatim execution of stated US foreign policy in northern Syria. The militant groups it has consolidated and harbored under its protection have been refitting and rearming – many of them having been flushed out from across Syria as Damascus and its allies retake the country. These are groups that have rejected peace deals and have rejected offers to join Syrian forces in the fight against extremists still holding out across the country.

In many cases, these militants come from groups either fighting under Al Qaeda’s banner, or alongside it.

Turkey still finds itself overseeing one of the last bastions of anti-government militancy in Syria – the other being US-occupied eastern Syria.

Only Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran’s intelligence services can know for sure what Ankara’s intentions are, what its true disposition is in northern Syria, and what if anything Turkish forces can or will do if Syrian forces begin retaking Idlib.

For Damascus and its allies, promises and good will from Ankara must be coupled with realist provisions to ensure good will is the only good option Ankara has to choose from.

Ultimately, one of the last showdowns in Syria’s long-fought war to foil Western-sponsored terrorism and subversion will be in territory Turkey has harbored US-backed anti-government militants in. Only time will tell if these militants are incrementally disbanded and Turkish forces withdraw thus bringing this conflict one step closer to an end, or a dangerous standoff with Turkey – mirroring Israel’s illegal occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights – begins.

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

هل «سوتشي» الطريق إلى الحل السياسي؟

أغسطس 2, 2018

Image result for ‫د. وفيق إبراهيم‬‎د. وفيق إبراهيم

انتصار الجيش العربي السوري وتحريره 70 في المئة من مساحة بلاده، ونجاح الروس في العودة إلى مواقع إنتاج القرار الدولي من خلال مؤتمر هلسنكي بين الرئيسين الروسي والأميركي، عاملان يزوّدان مؤتمر سوتشي زخماً قوياً لإنتاج حل سياسي كامل. فواشنطن أقرّت بمركزية الدور الروسي في سورية على حساب تراجع دورها ومعها حلفاؤها في السعودية وقطر و»إسرائيل» والأردن والمجموعات المتورطة في الاتحاد الأوروبي وأوروبا الشرقية.

هذه التراجعات العربية الإقليمية والدولية المتواكبة مع هزيمة عصب الإرهاب في سورية، داعش والنصرة ومثيلاتهما، يمنحان مؤتمر سوتشي بأعضائه الدولة السورية والمعارضة «السعودية» و»التركية» برعاية الدول الثلاث الضامنة روسيا، إيران وتركيا… يمنحانها فرصة تاريخية لإنتاج حل سياسي مرحلي يعيد لسورية تضامنها الداخلي، معلناً هزيمة إرهاب عالمي مدعوم من أكثر من 60 دولة. يجب هنا الاعتراف بأن الدولة السورية بمداها الحالي، فعلت ما لم تفعله دولة قبلها.. دافعت عن كامل المشرق العربي ومنعت تفتيته وفقاً لخطة أميركية كانت وزيرة الخارجية السابقة كونداليسا رايس تسمّيها «الشرق الأوسط الجديد» أي تجزئة المنطقة كانتونات صغيرة على نحو يؤمن سيطرة واشنطن على العالم الإسلامي لقرن مقبل «بغازه» وما تبقى من نفطه وقدرته على الاستهلاك.

فهل لسوتشي القدرة على الحل؟

..الحسم في الميدان والصعود الروسي والحلف مع إيران وحزب الله والقوى العراقية واليمنية، لهي من العناصر الدافعة نحو الحل السياسي وفق شروط الدولة السورية المصرّة على إنهاء الإرهاب.

..سوتشي تطرح تسوية سياسية.. والدولة حاضرة وتدعو إلى تبادل المعتقلين والدولة حاضرة، لكن المعارضة لا تمسك بقرار داعش والنصرة.. وهي بالتالي عاجزة عن إطلاق سراح الأسرى المنتمين إلى الدولة.

سياسياً.. تمثل المعارضة ثلاثة أطرافها: تجسّد أولاً مصالح تركيا وللحديث صلة، والسعودية التي لا أحد يعرف شروطها، كما تمثل رغبة أعضاء المعارضة بتسويات تشمل أوضاعهم.. والبعض منهم يحلم بدور سياسي مقبل ومنهم الناطق باسم الهيئة العليا نصر الحريري.

هذا هو الجانب الظاهري من مؤتمر سوتشي، أما العميق فيعكس ثلاثة طموحات: الأول أميركي ويريد من الروس إنهاء الدور الإيراني في سورية واستتباعاً في المشرق العربي.. مع إنشاء كانتون للكرد في شرق الفرات، والموافقة بعدم التعرض لقاعدة «تنف» جديدة تحاول واشنطن تأسيسها في الجهة العراقية المقابلة من الحدود، وذلك لمنع فتح الحدود العراقية ـ السورية.. يذكر أنّ قمة هلسنكي التي أفضت إلى ثنائية في إنتاج القرار الدولي لم تؤدِ إلى وعد روسي بإزاحة الدور الإيراني من سورية.. ولم تفض أيضاً إلى التزام روسي بالتعرض للدور الإيراني في المشرق العربي. لذلك جاء الاعتراف الأميركي حصرياً بصعود الدور الروسي عالمياً، وفي سورية بشكل محوري، أما الدولة الثانية التي تحاول عرقلة سوتشي فهي السعودية المصرّة ليس فقط على تعطيل النفوذ الإيراني بل على سحق إيران دولة وتاريخاً وشعباً وجمهورية إسلامية.. إلا أنّ الإمكانات السعودية متواضعة قياساً بطموحاتها، تكاد تحتجب عن الأزمة السورية، والعراق.. ووضعها في لبنان بات ضعيفاً، وما تبقى لها هو اعلام سعودي لا يزال يروّج بإن أزمات المنطقة لا تزال في بداياتها. ويدعو إلى ناتو عربي معادٍ لإيران قد يضم أيضاً «إسرائيل» برعاية أميركية متكاملة.

أما البلد الثالث فهو «إسرائيل» التي تعتقد أنّ فرصتها أصبحت ملائمة لإخراج إيران وحزب الله من سورية، وذلك بإطلاق ذرائع لا تمرُّ على اللبيب، فإيران قادرة على إصابة تل أبيب بالصواريخ من طهران، وليس فقط من مسافة مئة كيلومتر من حدود الجولان السوري المحتل.

لذلك فذرائعها مكشوفة وتتعلق بمحاولات جر الدولة السورية إلى توقيع صلح معها وتفخيخ علاقة حزب الله بواشنطن وحلفائها في المنطقة العربية عموماً ولبنان خصوصاً.

هذا عن القوى المعرقلة الموجودة خارج مؤتمر سوتشي. فماذا عن القوى التي تضمنهُ؟

لجهة إيران، فالجميع يعرف أنها لا تريد غازاً أو نفطاً ولا تطمح إلى أدوار اقتصادية في سورية بقدر اهتمامها بالناحية الايديولوجية، وهي متوفرة، بجبهة الممانعة التي لا تنفك تصعد في أفق العلاقات الجهادية والسياسية في الشرق الأوسط. فعندما نراقب مدى الاهتمام الأوروبي والأميركي والإسرائيلي بحزب الله، ندرك مدى الخطورة التي أصبح هذا الحزب يشكلها على النفوذ الأميركي والكيان اليهودي الغاصب، وبعض الأنظمة الخليجية المستعدّة لبذل ما تيسّر لديها من قدرات اقتصادية للقضاء على حزب الله. والأسباب واضحة.. النفوذ الأميركي ـ الكياني الإسرائيلي، القضية الفلسطينية والأنظمة القرون أوسطية تصاب بها، من نموذج إيران حزب الله، فتحاول شراء مجلس الأمن وما تيسّر من دول لتعزيز دفاعاتها في وجه حركات التغيير.

لجهة روسيا، فهي ضامن قوي يمتلك التأييد الأميركي الأوروبي على مركزية دوره السوري ولا يجابه بعدائية ـ تركية ـ خليجية إسرائيلية.. فالجميع يرى في روسيا دولة متمكنة أسهمت بالانتصار في سورية إلى جانب الدولة السورية وإيران وحزب الله، وهي الوحيدة في هذا المحور، الجهة التي تريد واشنطن اتقاء شرورها، لما تمتلكه من إمكانات دولة وازنة ومقدرة تمتلك نحو 60 من ثروات العالم المعدنية والغازية في باطن أراضيها مع قوة مسلحة تضاهي مثيلتها الأميركية وقد تتفوّق عليها.

لموسكو إذاً طموح بأن تكون سورية المنصة التي تنطلق منها نحو مناطق النفوذ السوفياتي السابق.. لكن ليس بأسلوب ماركسي لم يكن يأبه للطموح الاقتصادي ويعمل على التقارب الأيديولوجي. لذلك تضع روسيا ثقلها في مؤتمر سوتشي لإنتاج معادلة سياسية تعيد بناء سورية وتؤمن لها الانطلاق نحو الشرق الأوسط.

أما العقدة الحقيقية فموجودة في الدور التركي الداعم لمعارضات الهيئة العليا.. والضامن للمؤتمر في آن.. وهما نقيضان كاملان. كما أنّ أنقرة هي التي أعادت تجميع الإرهاب في إدلب بعشرات الآلاف، وتحاول منع الجيش السوري من اجتياح هذه المنطقة لأنها تعرف أنّ دور المناطق التي تسيطر عليها في شمال سورية لا بد أنّ يلي عملية تحرير إدلب.

سوتشي إلى أين؟

الكلام الأصلي مرجأ إلى ما بعد تحرير إدلب. وعندها يباشر سوتشي إعطاء نتائج فعلية لن تستطيع تركيا والسعودية وواشنطن وقفها في مسيرة إعادة بناء سورية وحماية المشرق العربي.

الجنوب السوري والمونديال الروسي؟

يونيو 25, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– تتداول أوساط المعارضة السورية روايتين لهزيمتها في جنوب سورية، وقد بدأت ملامحها تظهر سريعة في الأفق. وفي الرواية الأولى كما تحبّ جماعات المعارضة قبل كلّ مواجهة أن تحذّر من أنّ الجيش السوري لن يجرؤ على الذهاب للحسم العسكري لأنّ المعادلات الدولية والإقليمية ليست لصالحه، ثم تفسّر كلّ هزيمة بعد وقوعها بالتخلي الدولي والإقليمي عنها، وكما تحدّثت المعارضة عن خصوصيات في الجنوب ستمنع تكرار ما جرى في الشمال والوسط والعاصمة والغوطة، وربطتها بوجود مصالح أميركية مباشرة تمثلها قاعدة التنف والحضور الإسرائيلي الذي لا يمكن لواشنطن تجاهله. هي نفسها تتحدّث اليوم عن تخلّ أميركي وإسرائيلي وتصل حدّ الحديث عن تفاهمات روسية مع أميركا و»إسرائيل» لحساب تغطية التقدّم السوري من دون أن تفسّر لماذا لم يتحقق ما سوّقته المعارضة من امتناع روسي عن المشاركة، تقول إنه ترجم بقصف جوي مكثف لحساب الجيش السوري، والأهمّ لماذا لم تنسحب مجموعات الحرس الثوري الإيراني ووحدات حزب الله التي تتهمها بدور رئيسي في المعارك، وقد كان كلّ الكلام عن تسوية يرتبط بالعكس.

– الرواية الثانية لبعض قيادات المعارضة هي الحديث عن عجز روسي وأميركي أمام قرار سوري إيراني بالتشارك مع المقاومة على حسم عسكري بدأت مفاعيله، وحسابات خاطئة للمعارضة حول حجم الموقف الأميركي والروسي. فأميركا لن تتدخّل وقد تبلغت المعارضة ذلك رسمياً بوثيقة من القيادة العسكرية الأميركية، وروسيا منشغلة بالمونديال كما يقولون، ويستندون بقولهم هذا إلى ما وصلهم من الروس من تمنيات بتأجيل كلّ البحث بالتسوية لما بعد المونديال. وتضيف الرواية أنّ الأميركيين الذين يؤكدون أن لا قدرة لهم على التأثير لوقف الحسم العسكري إلا بالتحدث مع روسيا، وروسيا منشغلة، فيصير الرهان على صمود حتى ينتهي المونديال وبعدها يمكن أن يتغيّر الوضع كما يوزعون التمنيات ومعها يطلبون المعنويات.

– الحدث الفاصل الذي يحسم النقاش هو الإعلان الإسرائيلي عن طائرة استطلاع سورية حلقت فوق الجليل، وأطلق باتجاهها أكثر من صاروخ باتريوت لإسقاطها، وانتهى الأمر بعودتها سالمة. وهذا يعني أنّ الرسالة السورية لـ«إسرائيل» واضحة بقوّتها ونياتها إذا تدخلت في المواجهة الدائرة، بمثل ما يعني أن لا تفاهمات تظلل المعارك الدائرة، وأنّ القرار السوري السيادي الذي يتفهّمه الروس ولا يلبثون أن يشاركوا في تطبيقه، هو الذي يرسم روزنامة المعارك في سورية منذ معركة حلب، حتى الغوطة وما بينهما، وأنّ الحليفين الإيراني والمقاوم يتحرّكان وفقاً لهذه الروزنامة، وبطلب من القيادة السورية، وأنّ الأبواب التي فتحت للتسوية لا تزال مفتوحة، لكن بشروط سورية فقط. والدليل هو ما جرى قرب قاعدة التنف الأميركية من اشتباك سوري أميركي.

– لحكاية المونديال معناها في الروايات الخاصة بالحروب، ففي العام 1982 سادت رواية في الأوساط العربية قوامها أنّ الإسرائيليين استغلوا انشغال الأميركيين والعالم بالمونديال وقاموا بغزو لبنان واحتلال عاصمته. وكما يبدو اليوم فهي رواية الضعيف لتجسيد أسطورة القوي، ولا مانع إذن من تكرارها اليوم على لسان جماعات المعارضة المهزومة، عن علاقة سورية بحليفها الروسي طالما أنها تعبّر عن هذه الحالة من الإعلان عن أسطورة القوة السورية.

 

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العقدة يمنيّة لا سوريّة

 

 

يونيو 15, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– بمثل ما أن الانسحاب الأميركي من التفاهم النووي مع إيران بقي على حافة عدم السعي لإلغاء التفاهم تفادياً لذهاب إيران نحو التخصيب المرتفع لليورانيوم، ومواجهة خطر امتلاكها مخزوناً يكفي لتصنيع أول قنبلة نووية حتى لو لم يتم هذا التصنيع، وهو ما كان التفاهم هو الطريق الوحيد لتفاديه طالما الحرب تسرّع بهذا التصنيع وليس بالإمكانية النظرية لحدوثه فقط، فإن العلاقة الأميركية بإيران التي نتجت عن اختبار القوة الذي جرى عام 2013 بإرسال الأساطيل الأميركية تحت عنوان الحرب الحاسمة ضد سورية، وعودتها بلا حرب، وفتح التفاوض بعدها حول الملف النووي الإيراني، لا تزال محكومة بالقواعد ذاتها، تفاوض وعقوبات ولا حرب، وسعي لتفادي عودة إيران للتخصيب المرتفع منعاً لمواجهة الخيارات الصعبة.

– معالم الاستراتيجية الأميركية التي رسمت تلك اللحظة الدراماتيكية مع عودة الأساطيل الأميركية حكمت المنطقة، رغم كون العلاقة مع إيران العنوان الأبرز فيها، لكن عناوينها الأخرى تمثلت في السير نحو تسليم متعرّج بخسارة فرص الفوز بسورية، وخسارة فرص عرقلة نصرها، الذي لم تحُل دونه عملية استيلاد داعش صيف العام 2014، بينما عزّزته عملية التموضع الروسي المباشر في نهاية عام 2015، والتسليم هنا بنصر سورية يسير على حافة مقتضيات الرؤية الإسرائيلية لهوامش الخيارات المتاحة في التعامل مع هذا النصر، ويبدو واضحاً أنه كلما تحقّقت حلقة جديدة وحاسمة في الطريق إلى هذا النصر. كما هو حال تحرير حلب ثمّ دير الزور والبوكمال وصولاً للغوطة، واقتربت فرص النصر من الجنوب، حيث المصالح الإسرائيلية المباشرة تتطلع واشنطن نحو تل أبيب لرسم الخطوة التالية، من دون أن يبدو أن هناك مصالح أميركية منفصلة عن أولوية تلبية التطلعات الإسرائيلية نحو أمن مهدّد، وكيفية بناء الجدران بوجه مخاطر تقدّمه نحوها أكثر.

– يعبر الاستعداد الأميركي للتفاوض على تفكيك قاعدة التنف والانسحاب منها، إذا كان ذلك ضمن تسوية تمنح «إسرائيل» اطمئناناً مؤقتاً تحت شعار عدم تقدّم وحدات المقاومة والوحدات الإيرانية نحو الحدود، وعلى قاعدة التسليم بانتشار الجيش السوري وتفكيك الجماعات المسلحة، عما هو أبعد وأعمق. فما يطبّق في الجنوب هو نموذج صالح للتكرار في الشمال، ولذلك قال الأميركيون إن الأفضل هو ربط الحلول المرحلية الأمنية بالحل السياسي الذي كانوا يرفضونه دون وضع مصير الرئاسة السورية بنداً منه بنوده فوق الطاولة. فارتضوا مؤخراً بالعنوان المقبول سورياً، وهو حكومة في ظل الرئيس الأسد تضمّ المعارضة وممثلي الأكراد وتمهّد لدستور جديد وانتخابات. وهذا يعيد التذكير بما فعله الأميركيون في تلك اللحظة الدراماتيكية مع سحب أساطيلهم وبدء التفاوض مع إيران، عندما منحوا حلفاءهم بعد عام على بدء التفاوض والتثبت من أن لا خيارات أخرى في الأفق، فرصة الإمساك بأوراق قوة تمكنهم من التأقلم مع المرحلة التي كانت قد بدأت للتوّ.

– منذ مطلع العام 2015 حاول الإسرائيليون استثمار الفرصة الممنوحة لهم أميركياً. وكانت عملية القنيطرة أولى المحاولات الجادة لرسم خطوط حمراء في الجنوب السوري، وجاء الرد عليها بعملية نوعية للمقاومة في مزارع شبعا، لتليها محاولات متعددة لرسم معادلات جديدة، كانت تُمنَى كلها بالفشل، فحُرموا من التحليق في الأجواء السورية في العام 2016، وتم إطلاق الصواريخ على طائراتهم في الأجواء اللبنانية حتى أسقطت لهم طائرة الـ «إف15» في مطلع العام 2018، وتبعتها ليلة الصواريخ في الجولان، حتى صار على الإسرائيليين التسليم بلا جدوى الرهان على اللعبة العسكرية، وخطورة المضي في اختبارها، وارتضاء التعايش مع انتصار سورية، مقابل إقامة جدار دولي على حدود الجولان وصولاً لجنوب لبنان ومزارع شبعا، ولو اقتضى الأمر الانسحاب من هذه المزارع، كما ورد في عرض التفاوض الأميركي الجديد للبنان.

– الطرف الثاني المعنيّ بالفرصة الأميركية في تلك اللحظة الدراماتيكية كانت السعودية التي بادرت في ربيع عام 2015 ببدء الحرب على اليمن وفي حسابها حسم الحرب خلال أسابيع، ثم شهور، وها هي تمتدّ للسنة الرابعة، وتبدو السعودية أمام اللحظات الحاسمة التي تُختبر فيها آخر الرهانات الهادفة لبلوغ مخرج مشرّف عبر انتصار جزئي دون توهّم النصر الحاسم، وتشكل معركة الحُدَيْدة آخر فصول هذه الحرب، ليتمّ ترسيم خطوط التفاوض على أساسها، سواء فاز السعوديون بالحُدَيْدة أم فشلوا، وقد باتت ثابتة لهم وللأميركيين استحالة التملص من تسوية طرفها الثاني هم أنصار الله في اليمن الذين يشكلون قوة فاعلة في محور المقاومة، والذين لا يمكن الرهان على كسرهم وإلغاء حضورهم، طالما أن الفوز بالحُدَيْدة، وهو صعب الحدوث، لن ينهي سيطرتهم في صنعاء وصعدة، والمعارك في كلتيهما تحتاج أربع سنوات أخرى، إذا كان الفوز بعدن والحديدة قد استهلك أربع سنوات.

– إيقاع التفاوض في ملفات كثيرة ينتظر الأيام القليلة المقبلة لاستنفاد الفرصة السعودية سلباً أم إيجاباً، أو بالخروج بحل تفاوضي في منتصف الطريق حول الحُدَيْدة يشكّل بداية التفاوض الشامل حول مستقبل اليمن.

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