Uncle Sam dumps the Kurds (yet again)

The Saker

Uncle Sam dumps the Kurds (yet again)

JANUARY 26, 2018

[This article was written for the Unz Review]

The drama which is unfolding in northern Syria is truly an almost ideal case to fully assess how weak and totally dysfunctional the AngloZionist Empire has really become. Let’s begin with a quick reminder.

The US-Israeli goals in Syria were really very simple. As I have already mentioned in a past article, the initial AngloZionist plan was to overthrow Assad and replace him with the Takfiri crazies (Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, ISIS – call them whatever you want). Doing this would achieve the following goals:

  1. Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces and security services.
  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan, but further north.
  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.
  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone”, but this time in Lebanon.
  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
  6. Breakup Syria along ethnic and religious lines.
  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and forces the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.
  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert and eventually attack Iran with a wide regional coalition of forces.
  10. Eliminate all center of Shia power in the Middle-East.

With the joint Russian-Iranian military intervention, this plan completely collapsed. For a while, the USA tried to break up Syria under various scenarios, but the way the Russian Aerospace forces hammered all the “good terrorists” eventually convinced the AngloZionists that this would not work.

The single biggest problem for the Empire is that while it has plenty of firepower in the region (and worldwide), it cannot deploy any “boots on the ground”. Being the Empire’s boots on the ground was, in fact, the role the AngloZionists had assigned to the Takfiri crazies (aka Daesh/IS/ISIS/al-Qaeda/al-Nusra/etc/), but that plan failed. The only US allies left in the region are Israel and Saudi Arabia. The problem with them is that, just like the USA themselves, these countries do not have ground forces capable of actually deploying inside Syria and taking on not only the Syrian military, but the much more capable Iranian and Hezbollah forces. Murdering civilians is really the only thing the Israelis and Saudis are expert in, at least on the ground (in the skies the Israeli Air Force is a very good one). Enter the Kurds.

The AngloZionist wanted to use the Kurds just like NATO had used the KLA in Kosovo: as a ground force which could be supported by US/NATO and maybe even Israeli airpower. Unlike the Israelis and Saudis, the Kurds are a relatively competent ground force (albeit not one able to take on, say, Turkey or Iran).

The folks at the Pentagon had already tried something similar last year when they attempted to create a sovereign Kurdistan in Iraq by means of a referendum. The Iraqis, with some likely help from Iran, immediately put an end to this nonsense and the entire exercise was a pathetic “flop”.

Which immediately begs to obvious question: are the Americans even capable of learning from their mistakes? What in the world were they thinking when they announced the creation of 30’000 strong Syrian Border Security Force (BSF) (so called to give the illusion that protecting Syria’s border was the plan, not the partition Syria)? The real goal was, as always, to put pressure on Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia while grabbing a lot of oil. As always with Uncle Shmuel, the entire plan had no UNSC authorization was thus totally illegal under international law (as is the presence of the USA in the Syria’s airspace and territory, but nobody cares any more).

Did Trump and his generals really think that Turkey, Iran, Syria and Russia would accept a US protectorate in Syria masquerading as an “independent Kurdistan” and do nothing about it? Yet again, and I know this sounds hard to believe, but I think that this is yet another strong indication that the Empire is run by stupid and ignorant people whose brain and education simply do not allow them to grasp even the basic dynamics in the region of our planet there are interfering with.

Whatever may be the case the Turks reacted exactly as everybody thought: the Turkish Chief of Staff jumped into an airplane, flew to Moscow, met with top Russian generals (including Minister of Defense Shoigu) and clearly got a “go ahead” from Moscow: not only were the Turkish airplanes flying over Syria’s Afrin province not challenged by Russian air defense systems (which have ample coverage in this region), but the Russians also helpfully withdrew their military personnel from the region lest any Russian get hurt. Sergei Lavrov deplored it all, as he had to, but it was clear to all that Turkey had the Russian backing for this operation. I would add that I am pretty sure that the Iranians were also consulted (maybe at the same meeting in Moscow?) to avoid any misunderstandings as there is little love lost between Ankara and Tehran.

What about the Kurds? Well, how do I say that nicely? Let’s just say that what they did was not very smart. That’s putting it very, very mildly. The Russians gave them a golden deal: accept large autonomy in Syria, come to the National Dialog Congress to take place in Sochi, we will make your case before the (always reluctant) Syrians, Iranians and Turks and we will even give you money to help you develop your oil production. But no, the Kurds chose to believe in the hot air coming from Washington and when the Turks attacked that is all the Kurds got from Washington: hot air.

In fact, it is pretty clear that the US Americans have, yet again, betrayed an ally: Tillerson has now “greenlighted” a 30km safe zone in Syria (as if anybody was asking for his opinion, nevermind permission!). Take a look at this simple map of the Afrin region and look what 50 miles (about 80km) look like. You can immediately see that this 30km “safe zone” means: the end of any Kurdish aspirations to created a little independent Kurdistan in northern Syria.

To say that  all these developments make the Russians really happy is not an exaggeration. It is especially sweet for the Russians to see that they did not even have to do much, that this ugly mess of a disaster for the USA was entirely self-inflicted. What can be sweeter than that?

Let’ look at it all from the Russian point of view:

First, this situation further puts Turkey (a US ally and NATO member) on a collision course with the US/NATO/EU. And Turkey is not ‘just’ a NATO ally, like Denmark or Italy. Turkey is the key to the eastern Mediterranean and the entire Middle-East (well, one of them at least). Also, Turkey has a huge potential to be a painful thorn in the southern ‘belly’ of Russia so it is really crucial for Russia to keep Uncle Sam and the Israelis as far away from Turkey as possible. Having said that, nobody in Russia harbors *any *illusions about Turkey and/or Erdogan. Turkey will always be a problematic neighbor for Russia (the two countries already fought 12 wars!!!). But there is a big difference between “bad” and “worse”. Considering that in a not too distant past Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft over Syria, financed, trained and supported “good terrorists” in Syria, was deeply involved in the Tatar separatist movement in Crimea, and was the main rear base for the Wahabi terrorists in Chechnia for well over a decade, “worse” in the case of Turkey can be much, much worse than “bad” is today.

Second, these developments have clearly brought Turkey into an even closer cooperative dynamic with Russia and Iran, something which Russia very much desires. Turkey by itself is much more of a potential problem than a Turkey which partners up with Russia and Iran (ideally with Syria too, but considering the animosity between the two countries and their leaders that is something for the distant future, at least for the time being). What is shaping up is an informal (but very real) Russian-Turkish-Iranian regional alliance against the Axis of Kindness: USA-Israel-KSA. If that is what happens then the latter does not stand a chance to prevail.

Third, even though the Kurds are outraged and are now whining about the Russian “betrayal” – they will come to realize that they did it to themselves and that their best chance for freedom and prosperity is to work with the Russians. That means that the Russians will be able to achieve with, and for, the Kurds what the USA could not. Yet another very nice side-benefit for Russia.

Fourth, Syria, Iran and Turkey now realize a simple thing: only Russia stands between the crazy US-Israeli plans for the region and them. Absent Russia, there is nothing stopping the AngloZionist from re-igniting the “good terrorists” and the Kurds and use them against every one of them.

Be it as it may, having the USA and Israel shoot themselves in the leg and watch them bleed is not enough. To really capitalize on this situation the Russians need to also achieve a number of goals:

First, they need to stop the Turks before this all turns into a major and protracted conflict. Since Tillerson “greenlighted” a 30km “safe zone”, this is probably what Erdogan told Trump over the phone and that, in turn, is probably what the Russians and the Turks agreed upon. So, hopefully, this should not be too hard to achieve.

Second, the Russians need to talk to the Kurds and offer them the same deal again: large autonomy inside Syria in exchange for peace and prosperity. The Kurds are not exactly the easiest people to talk to, but since there is really no other option, my guess is that as soon as they stop hallucinating about the US going to war with Turkey on their behalf they will have to sit down and negotiate the deal. Likewise, the Russians will have to sell the very same deal to Damascus which, frankly, is in no position to reject it.

Third, Russia has neither the desire nor the means to constantly deal with violent flare-ups in the Middle-East. If the Empire desperately needs wars to survive, Russia desperately needs peace. In practical terms this means that the Russians must work with the Iranians, the Turks, the Syrians to secure a regional security framework which would be guaranteed and, if needed, enforced by all parties. And yes, the next logical step will be to approach Israel and the KSA and give them security guarantees in exchange for their assurances to stop creating chaos and wars on behalf of the USA. I know, I will get a lot of flak for saying this, but there *are* people in Israel and, possibly, Saudi Arabia who also understand the difference between “bad” and “worse”. Heed my words: as soon as the Israelis and the Saudis realize that Uncle Sam can’t do much for them either, they will suddenly become much more open to meaningful negotiations. Still, whether these rational minds will be sufficient to deal with the rabid ideologues I frankly don’t know. But it is worth trying for sure.

Conclusion

The Trump Administration’s “strategy” (I am being very kind here) is to stir up as many conflicts in as many places of our planet as possible. The Empire thrives only on chaos and violence. The Russian response is the exact opposite: to try as best can be to stop wars, defuse conflicts and create, if not peace, at least a situation of non-violence. Simply put: peace anywhere is the biggest danger to the AngloZionist Empire whose entire structure is predicated on eternal wars. The total and abject failure of all US plans for Syria (depending on how you count we are at “plan C” or even “plan D”) is a strong indicator of how weak and totally dysfunctional the AngloZionist Empire has become. But ‘weak’ is a relative term while ‘dysfunctional’ does not imply ‘harmless’. The current lack of brains at the top, while very good in some ways, is also potentially very dangerous. I am in particular worried about what appears to be a total absence of real military men (officers in touch with reality) around the President. Remember how Admiral Fallon once referred to General Petraeus as “an ass-kissing little chickenshit“? This also fully applies to the entire gang of generals around Trump – all of them are the kind of men real officers like Fallon would, in this words, “hate”. As for State, I will just say this: I don’t expect much from a man who could not even handle Nikki Haley, nevermind Erdogan.

Remember how the USA ignited the Ukraine to punish the Russians for their thwarting of the planned US attack on Syria? Well, the very same Ukraine has recently passed a law abolishing the “anti-terrorist operation” in the Donbass and declaring the Donbass “occupied territory”. Under Ukie law, Russia is now officially an “aggressor state”. This means that the Ukronazis have now basically rejected the Minsk Agreements and are in a quasi-open state of war with Russia. The chances of a full-scale Ukronazi attack on the Donbass are now even higher then before, especially before or during the soccer World Cup in Moscow this summer (remember Saakashvili?). Having been ridiculed (again) with their Border Security Force in Syria, the US Americans will now seek a place to take revenge on the evil Russkies and this place will most likely be the Ukraine. And we can always count the Israelis to find a pretext to continue to murder Palestinians and bomb Syria. As for the Saudis, they appear to be temporarily busy fighting each other. So unless the Empire does something really crazy, the only place it can lash out with little to lose (for itself) is the eastern Ukraine. The Novorussians understand that. May God help them.

The Saker

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Erdogan has made his choice

To Erdogan, if he had to choose between the potential risks of losing Turkey’s NATO membership as against having a Kurdish state south of his border, he would choose the former.

Erdogan has made his choice

January 26, 2018

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

It seems that Erdogan has already made up his mind, but the speculations about what deals have been and haven’t been done seem muddied, to put it mildly.

In the Levant, the Kurds always lose in the end, and regardless of what alliances they make and with whom, they always end up getting stabbed in the back; or at least abandoned. But when they team up with parties like the USA, and even Israel, what else can they expect?

However, the Kurd’s obsession of having their statehood by any means, and the resistance they face and the unpreparedness of certain parties to work together to ensure that there will be no foreign intervention, they all have their adverse consequences. What we see happening in Syria’s north today is the direct outcome of this.

America had been looking for half an excuse to invade Syria for a very long time, and knowing that it wasn’t able to have a full-on presence that would allow it to carpet bomb the whole nation, it used the Kurdish excuse and the false pretext of creating a “security zone” in order to justify its presence on Syrian soil; against Syria’s wish.

But to do this, America needed allies on the ground, and instead of working together with its natural partner and NATO member Turkey (which happens to be a regional superpower) on common denominators, America’s inability to negotiate and give and take, even with its most ardent allies, repelled Turkey and America had to resort to an alliance with the YPG Kurds. What comes next is more sinister.

It is not clear what was Russia’s initial position on establishing any form of Kurdish autonomy in Syria. As a matter of fact, Syria’s FM Walid Mouallem hinted back in September 2017 that the Syrian Government was prepared to look into a limited Kurdish cultural autonomy (https://arabic.rt.com/middle_east/900959-وزير-الخارجية-السوري-لـ-rt-الإدارة-الذاتية-سوريا-وهذا-أمر-قابل-للتفاوض-والحوار/), but this did not go very far. And long before Mouallem’s remark, President Assad himself hinted back in 2012 that the efforts of the people of Ain Al Arab (Kobani in Kurdish) will not be forgotten. But of course, this does not mean he was hinting at some form of autonomy. Was the Syrian Government pressured to not explore every possible avenue for reconciliation with its Kurdish population? And if so, by whom and why? Surely not by Russia because, Russia had always been sympathetic and understanding of Kurdish fears and aspirations. Who else could have stood in the way of reaching some form of pre-emptive reconciliation between the Syrian Government and Syrian Kurds before events reached the dangerous climax they are at today? Definitely not Iran or Turkey.

Arguably, it can be said that the way the YPG went to bed with America has led to its abandonment by the Syrian Government and all other potential allies outside the American circle of influence, and this cannot be more obvious given the recent history of the YPG. In all honesty however, we must in hindsight ask whether it was possible to avoid this impasse or at least mitigate it. We don’t know. Either way, it is probably already too late to “reconcile” and President Assad himself has recently referred to those Kurds who are under America’s beck-and-call as “traitors”.

Ironically, an ardent opposition of having any form of Kurdish autonomy in Syria was, and continues to be, Turkey’s Erdogan. He is concerned about the snow-ball effect and the possibility of similar Turkish-Kurdish aspirations. And Turkey is a multi-ethnic nation with vulnerabilities that cannot be ignored in this crazy era of human history.

Erdogan had told his American “allies” time and time again that they cannot be strategic allies of Turkey if they want to endorse any form of a formal Kurdish entity; even one that is only nominally cultural. Yet, Obama’s USA did not listen any more than Trump’s. They dug in their heels and continued to intimidate in their presence in Syria not only Syria, but also Russia and most ironically, their ally Turkey.

Syria wants America out of Syria.

Russia wants America out of Syria.

Iran wants America out of Syria.

Turkey doesn’t really care if America is in or out of Syria, but Turkey definitely wants the YPG and any other Kurdish military forces disabled in order to put a stop to any possible Kurdish entity from materializing.

But now that the wolf (aka America) is in, who is going to kick it out before it huffs and puffs and blows the whole region in?

The Syrian Army cannot engage directly against American troops, let alone militia supported by America, without risking a major direct military escalation with America itself. As a matter of fact, America perhaps wishes for this to happen as this will justify a bigger presence.

But hang on, let’s not forget that Russian troops are on the ground in Syria, and the Russians and Americans have thus far succeeded in avoiding direct confrontation for decades. Such indirect interaction is something that both super powers are familiar with, and they know how to do it. But this of course means that Russia cannot directly be engaged in ousting American troops from Syria. On the flip-side, America cannot engage with Russia either in an attempt to, say, oust President Assad.

How about Iran then? Well, Iran is already under American (and Israeli) threats, even without engaging directly against American troops. Iran may choose to engage against America or be drawn into such an engagement, but to do this willingly in order to protect Syrians Kurds is an unlikely scenario.

In reality therefore, only Turkish troops can do the job without creating much international havoc of far-reaching devastation.

Does this mean that there is a tacit approval on behalf of the Syrian Government for the Turkish so-called “Olive Branch” operation? Not at all, and in fact, most unlikely. Is there then perhaps an agreement between Turkey on one hand with Russia and Iran on the other hand on this? Also highly unlikely. However, Erdogan knows well that only he can engage in fighting American cohorts in Syria, and he is doing it with or without any need for support, not even tacit support, from either Russia, Iran or Syria.

Now let’s not forget that Turkey is a NATO member and that it houses the Incirlik airbase. However, unlike back in 1955 when Turkey was desperate to join NATO in fear of the “Communist peril”, America and NATO now need Turkey much more than Turkey needs NATO. To Erdogan, if he had to choose between the potential risks of losing Turkey’s NATO membership as against having a Kurdish state south of his border, he would choose the former.

But to Erdogan, his stand against America is not only religiously and nationalistically based, it is also personal. Apart from his doctrinal fundamentalist and nationalist attributes, he regards America as the nation that hosts and protects his political enemy and rival Gulen; who ironically still enjoys a huge level of support within Turkey, despite all the clampdowns on his supporters after the July 2016 coup attempt.

Erdogan and Trump are now playing chicken with each other, each looking at his opponent to see who is going to back off first. Trump has no idea that Erdogan will not waver and that he will simply not allow a Kurdish state south of his border, even though it is not meant to be on Turkish territory. The truth of the matter is that America has never ever considered its allies as friends who may have common objectives with America, but also happen to have their own interests. America is used to dictating its terms and conditions on its allies without a second thought.

But Trump, like his predecessor before him, does not seem to realize that they have pushed Erdogan to the limit and that he is now taking America to task.

So apart from whether or not there are undisclosed deals between Syria, Turkey, Iran and Russia, the fact that they all agree that none of them wants any form of Kurdish autonomy, lifts Erdogan up to the level of the one and only “hero” who can deal with it as he is the only one who doesn’t give a damn about what happens between him and America. He even seems to be reveling in the attention he is receiving at home by challenging America, as this is bolstering his popularity and further enabling him to target Gulen and America who is held responsible for his political survival by giving him asylum.

But in doing all of this, and to follow up on the previous article (http://thesaker.is/erdogans-karmic-trap/), Erdogan has clearly made his choice as to which side on the Syrian ground he is going to support.

Erdogan seems to be distancing himself from Al-Nusra Front, or is he? Well, on the surface at least, he is pushing the card of the allegedly least radical of all militarized Syrian opposition groups; the so-called “Free Syria Army” (FSA). The original FSA members back in 2011 were mainly defectors of the Syrian Army. Back then, they were the only military force on the ground before all the Jihadis and mercenaries came in. No one can really tell with certainty what percentage of those fighters today are of Syrian Army origin, but what is pertinent here is that Erdogan is not going into Afrin together with Al-Nusra Front fighters, but rather with FSA fighters.

To a Syrian patriot, there is no real difference between the FSA and Al-Nusra Front. However, on the books as it were, the FSA is not a fundamentalist Jihadist organization. And as Astana/Geneva/Sochi talks will resume at some stage, lifting the profile of the FSA at one minute to midnight might give the elusive so-called “moderate Syrian opposition” a last minute mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; courtesy of Erdogan. After all, if push comes to shove, the Al-Nusra fighters that Erdogan wishes to protect can always shave their beards and wear FSA uniforms.

It’s a “clever”, or rather conniving, move by Erdogan, because by supporting and resurrecting the FSA, not only is he distancing himself from Al-Nusra Front, but he is bringing back the “moderate Syrian opposition” to the forefront and potentially giving it a place in the final negotiation process, and this fact, may also be used by him as an un-severed link with his American “allies”, because if he wanted to watch his back just in case he needed America in the near future, he can always argue that he did not send his troops into Syria to support President Assad, but rather to support the opposition.

Whichever way events move on from here, Russian diplomacy will be given the ultimate challenge. The time for muscle power in the skies for Russian bombers is over, at least for a while.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JANUARY 23, 2018: U.S. PROPOSES TURKEY TO ESTABLISH ‘SECURITY ZONE’ IN AFRIN

South Front

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has liberated the villages of Totah, Hjaila and Anij Bagra in northern Hama, the country’s defense ministry said on January 22.

On the same day, the SAA, the Tiger Forces and other pro-government factions further advanced on -Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the local branch of al-Qaeda) in the area of Abu al-Duhur and repelled the group’s attack on the town. Claims of pro-militant sources that the town or the airbase were recaptured from the SAA appeared to be fake. Army troops also liberated the villages of Jafr, Majas and Abu Murayr.

Government forces led by General Suheil al-Hassan have encircled 1,500 HTS militants in eastern Idlib, the Russian Defense Ministry announced. It added the SAA is working to eliminate this group. According to the ministry, the militants are armed with battle tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery pieces and mortars.

However, the ministry did not address the ISIS issue in the area. So, it is not clear if the provided number includes HTS members that had defected to the group.

According to Russian media, the SAA and its allies have killed over 600 militants in eastern Idlib and southern Aleppo over the last month.

On January 22, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) opened a new front against Kurdish militias east of Afrin and captured Birsaya Mount. This mount overlooks the town of Sharanli and the northeastern flank of Afrin. However, by the evening Turkey-led forces retreated from it after the FSA had abandoned its positions due to a YPG counter-attack.

On January 23, the TAF and the FSA launched another advance on Birsaya Mount. If they are able to secure it, Turkish forces will likely advance on Sharanli and then make an attempt to link with its positions in Ash Shaykh Khurus where they had achieved notable progress.

According to Turkish media, 6,400 service members are involved in Ankara’s military operation in Afrin.

The US wants to work with Turkey to create a kind of “security zone” in northwestern Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on January 22.

“So we’re in discussions with the Turks and some of the forces on the ground as well as to how we can stabilize this situation and meet Turkey’s legitimate concerns for their security,” Tillerson said, according to a reporter travelling with him to Paris.

Washington will attempt to use Ankara’s Operation Olive Branch to expand its influence further in the area. Earlier this month, the State Department and the Pentagon were promoting an idea of 30,000-strong “border force” established with help of the SDF in northern Syria. Washington needed just few days to abandon this idea publicly and to start addressing so-called “legitimate concerns” of Ankara.

This situation once again highlighted the problem of competing interests between the sides described by Washington as its allies in the conflict: the Kurdish-dominated SDF that has strong separatist intensions and Turkey that sees SDF/YPG/YPJ/PKK as a threat to its national security.

U.S. Proposes Turkey To Establish ‘Security Zone’ In Afrin

Abu al-Duhur Liberation, Operation Olive Branch

تركيا تبيع موقف الائتلاف لموسكو

يناير 24, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لم يكن ينقص هيئة التفاوض للمعارضة السورية التي تتخذ من الرياض مموّلاً ومشغلاً ومقراً لها، سوى فضيحة القرار التركي بإلزام أبرز مكوّناتها الذي يقوده الأخوان المسملون، ويشكل الإئتلاف المعارض إطاره السياسي، بالانضمام للعملية السياسية التي تقودها موسكو عبر مؤتمر الحوار الذي ينعقد نهاية الشهر الحالي، بينما أنقرة في ذروة الحاجة لموقف روسي غير ممانع لعمليتها العسكرية في المواجهة مع الأكراد، الذين يفترض أن واشنطن هي التي تدعمهم وقد تركتهم للحرب التركية في مثال متقابل عن كيف يعامل الأميركيون والأتراك حلفاءهم، لتكتمل الكوميديا السوداء لأهم فريقين مسلحين وسياسيين يمثلان نظرياً المعارضة السورية، ويخرجان عن نطاق سيطرة الدولة السورية بعد داعش والنصرة.

– هيئة التفاوض في موسكو وتعلن أنها لمست تغييراً جذرياً في الموقف الروسي يطمئن لمستقبل الشراكة في سوتشي وهي تدرس الموقف قبل اتخاذ القرار. ويشرح بعض أركان الائتلاف أن تغييراً بلغ حد التخلّي عن الرئيس السوري سمعه أركان الهيئة في موسكو، ليأتي الردّ وعلى قناة العربية على لسان الرئيس السابق للائتلاف جورج صبرا بوصف هذا الكلام بالتسويق المهين وبالفضيحة لمجموعة وصوليين يريدون بيع المواقف وتبريرها، وأن الأكيد أن لا تغيير في الموقف الروسي الواضح بمعادلة، من لا يقبل ببقاء الرئيس السوري فلا يُتعب نفسه بالمجيء إلى سوتشي، ثم يشرح أحد أصدقاء المعارضة السورية من باريس حجم الضغوط التركية التي تتعرّض لها هيئة التفاوض، والحاجة التي تحكمها لمراعاة مقتضيات الحلفاء الإقليميين، بمثل ما ترسل مقاتليها لخوض الحرب التركية في عفرين.

– ما يجري في معركة عفرين في السياسة والميدان يقدّم صورة عن نهاية أجسام أدعت على طرفي المعركة تمثيل شعبها. فالأكراد يخوضون معركة الرهان على الأميركي الذي باعهم عند أول مفترق طرق، بعدما استعملهم وأوهمهم أنه سيمنع أي تهديد عنهم، وها هم يتعرّضون لحرب إبادة يمكن أن يلوموا كل العالم عليها، وعلى تركهم يواجهونها، لكنهم لا يستطيعون إنكار أنهم لم يبادلوا أحداً في هذا العالم الحسنة بالحسنة كي يتوقعوا أن يقف معهم أحد، فلا روسيا ولا سورية اللتان قدّمتا كل الدعم للجماعات الكردية وجدتا منها سوى الجحود والاستعداد للخداع والانقلاب عندما تطلب واشنطن ذلك، بحيث لا يمكن لهذه الجماعات أن تلوم على التخلي الأميركي سوى نفسها، وقد وضعت مصالح ناسها ومستقبلها السايسي في العهدة الأميركية، وبالمقابل لا يخجل مَن يحملون اسم سورية أن يقولوا إنهم يخوضون معركة الأمن القومي التركي، وأن يرفعوا الأعلام التركية وأن يتلقوا التعليمات التركية، وهم يدركون أن لا قضية تخصّ ما وصفوهم بأنه مشروعهم كمعارضة تتصل بهذه الحرب، حتى بالمرجعية الدولية والإقليمية فهم يقاتلون مَن يقاتل تحت لواء الأميركي الذي جعلوه معاً صاحب القرار في مستقبل بلدهم.

– في السياسة كما في الميدان لا ناقة ولا جمل لمحصلة هذه الحرب لأي سوري كردي أو عربي، فهي في النهاية ترصيد لمعادلات قوة بين واشنطن وأنقرة سيدفع الفريقان المحسوبان على المعارضة ثمنها دماءً وسياسة، وستنتهي بتحجيم كل منهما وجعله بصورة أوضح من اليوم مجرد ورقة تفاوضية لحساب مصالح الأميركي والتركي، في علاقته بروسيا وإيران، وتبقى الدولة السورية وحدَها مَن يتحدّث بصدق مع الحليف والخصم بلغة المصلحة السورية.

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The Four Fighting In Efrain الأربعة الذين يتقاتلون في عفرين

الأربعة الذين يتقاتلون في عفرين

يناير 22, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– بعيداً من التوصيفات التحليلية والتركيبية التي تحاول رسم صورة مشهد حرب ذات أبعاد استراتيجية وتبحث لها عن أسماء ووظائف، تبدو الحرب الدائرة في عفرين ببساطة حرباً يشارك فيها مباشرة وغير مباشرة الجانب الأميركي الذي يدعم الجماعات الكردية، ويتخذها كغطاء لبقاء قواته في شمال سورية، ويؤسس عليها ما وصفه وزيرا خارجية ودفاع أميركا، باستراتيجية مواجهة الدورين الروسي والصيني في المنطقة، ومنع التمدّد أمام النفوذ الإيراني. ويبدو بحكم أهمية عفرين للجانب الكردي، وأهميتها المقابلة للجانب التركي، سيكون صعباً رغم كلام واشنطن عن وقوع عفرين خارج نطاق مناطق عمل قواتها، التهوين من نتائج هذه الحرب على قوة الأكراد من جهة، وقوة التغطية التي يقدمونها للدور الأميركي من جهة مقابلة. فالحرب ستكون وقريباً حرباً تركية كردية وجودية، وسيكون الأميركيون متأثرين بنتائجها حكماً، حتى لو نجحوا بالبقاء خارج التورّط بنيرانها.

– الطرف الثاني المنخرط في هذه الحرب هو الجماعات المسلحة التي تعمل في شمال سورية تحت العباءة التركية، والتي تضم آلاف المسلحين الإسلاميين الذين رفعوا راية جبهة النصرة مرة وفيلق الرحمن مرة وأحرار الشام مرة والجيش الحر مرات. ومن الواضح أن الجهد البري في الحرب التي يخوضها الأتراك يقع على عاتق هذه الجماعات، التي تقول إن من أولى نتائج حشودها للشراكة في حرب عفرين كان سرعة خسارتها مواقعها في ريف إدلب، وهو ما سيتكرّر في معارك إدلب المستمرة، وبحكم حجم التعبئة الوجودية التي تقوم بها الجماعات الكردية من جهة، وخبراتها القتالية ونوعية تسليحها من جهة مقابلة، فسيكون لحرب عفرين دور تدميري لقدرات قتالية حقيقية للجماعات المسلحة التي يشغلها الأتراك بديلاً عن جيشهم في الميدان، وسيكون طبيعياً أن تنتهي هذه الحرب، وقد فقد الأتراك الشريك السوري الذي كانوا يستعدون لدخول المعادلة السياسية السورية بواسطته، أو خسر هذا الشريك الكثير من عناصر قوته.

– الطرف الثالث الذي يشكّل عنوان الحرب هو الجماعات الكردية نفسها. وهي تدرك أن العناد والحال المعنوية، بعد الدعم الأميركي المعلن والمبالغات بحجم التسليح والقدرات من جهة، والنصر على داعش من جهة أخرى، ليسا وحدهما سبب الطابع الوجودي لهذه الحرب. فالقيادة الكردية تدرك أن حربها مع الأتراك هي التي ستقول كلمة الفصل حول مستقبل تطلعهم لكيان كردي أو لفدرالية، أو لتفرض عليهم نتائجها ما هو أقل من ذلك بكثير، ولذلك فإن الجانب الكردي سيرمي بثقله للفوز بالصمود في عفرين، بالقدر الذي يحتاج لفرض معادلة الكيان المستقلّ أو الفدرالية، ولن ينهزم وينسحب إلا وقد بلغ حد القبول بالاستسلام، بما يعنيه التخلي عن حلم الكيان أو الفدرالية، سواء لحساب تفاهم مع الدولة السورية ينتهي بحماية المناطق الكردية أو ينتهي لحساب الانسحاب من الحرب كلها.

– الطرف الرابع الشريك هو الذي بادر لشن الحرب، وهو تركيا، التي شعرت مع نهاية داعش وتقدّم الجيش السوري بدعم روسي إيراني في إدلب أنها ما لم تبادر لفرض معادلة جديدة مع الأكراد فستفرض عليها معادلة معاكسة بقوة الدعم الأميركي والتفهم الروسي الذي يلقاه الأكراد، ولذلك سيضطر الأتراك لرفع أهمية الحرب إلى درجة عالية ويضعون ثقلهم السياسي والدبلوماسي والعسكري للفوز بها، لكنهم سيجدون أنفسهم أمام كتل صلبة قادرة على الصمود، وأمام جدار سياسي ليس سهلاً تخطيه، ما سيجعل الحرب استنزافاً عسكرياً سياسياً لمكانة تركيا ودورها ومصادر قوتها.

– الأطراف الأربعة المنخرطون في الحرب تشاركوا بأعمال ومواقف عدائية بحق سورية، ولم يتوانوا عن تبادل المواقع والتعاون والتقاتل لحسابات تنتهك مصالح سورية وسيادتها ووحدتها، ولذلك تبدو الحرب عقاباً يقدمه التاريخ والجغرافيا لكل الذين عبثوا بأمن سورية، ويحق لسورية أن تكتفي بموقف مبدئي وتترك التاريخ والجغرافيا يتصرفان، لأن الحصيلة ستكون بالتأكيد لصالح سورية، التي ستشكل في نهاية حرب الاستنزاف الراهنة خشبة الخلاص التي يحتاج الجميع الاحتماء بتوليها أمن الحدود السورية وأمن المناطق السورية، ولن يجد أحد مبرراً لبقاء قواته فوق الأراضي السورية.

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Iran’s Contributions to the Fight against Terrorism Underscored

ST

DAMASCUS, (ST)_ The victory over terrorism in Syria and Iraq and the Iran’s steadfastness in the nuclear file foiled the scheme drawn for the region as to fracture its states, violate its sovereignty and control its independent decision, underscored H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad.

Receiving the visiting Chairman of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Kamal Kharrazi and an accompanying delegation, President Assad pointed out that the support of Iran to Syria in all fields, particularly in the fight against terrorismcontributed to the successes achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorists.

President Assad added that the brute Turkish aggression against the Syrian City of Afrin cannot be separated from the policy pursued by the Turkish regime since the first day of the crisis in Syria, based basically on Turkey‘s support for terrorism and terrorist organization of all colors and names.

Mr. Kharrazi congratulated President Assad and the Syrian People for the consequent victories against terrorists, and the last of which is through the restoration of Abu Duhur Airport, asserting that such victories would be crowned with the more of accomplishments at the political or the military level.

 Mr. Kharrazi underscored the importance of continued exchange of viewpoints and the close standing cooperation between Syria and Iran as to encounter foreign schemes.

Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Editor-in-Chief

alibrahim56@hotmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/Mohamad.Abdo.AlIbrahim

http://www.presidentassad.net/

  

 Iran

 

Dismemberment Schemes Foiled

Success in Eliminating Terrorism in Syria

Need to Enhance Political Work to Fortify Anti-Terrorism Axis

 Continued Cooperation against Terrorism Underscored

 President al-Assad receives Khrrazi

Syria’s Friendly Countries Played Key Role in Backing Syrians’ Steadfastness

Determination of Syria and its Friends to Pursue Fight against Terrorism Reiterated

Cooperation with Syria in its War against Terrorism Highly Evaluated

Syrian People trust in the Iranian role underlined

The cancerous spread of terrorism should be encountered

Iran Support in the Battle against Terrorism

Syrian-Iranian Economic Relations boosted

Syrians’ Determination to Eliminate Terrorism

Friendly Countries’ Support Greatly Enhanced Syrian People’s Steadfastness

Syrian- Iranian economic relations to be bolstered

 President Al-Assad Interview with the Iranian Khabar TV, October 4, 2015

 President Bashar Al-Assad’s Interview with Iranian TV, June 28, 2012

 PRESIDENT ASSAD/ IRANIAN TV INTERVIEW (September 17, 2008)

A PERSONAL REPLY TO THE FACT-CHALLENGED SMEARS OF TERRORIST-WHITEWASHING CHANNEL 4, SNOPES AND LA PRESSE

wh russia

How about the “fact checkers” and apologists look into why the White Helmets recycled an image claiming to show a victim of “Russian airstrikes” after having previously used the same image before Russia even began bombing ISIS in Syria.

-Eva Bartlett

*republished at: The Indicter

In part 1, I wrote of the Guardian’s quite unoriginal Russophobic story cheering for al-Qaeda’s rescuers, the White Helmets. In this second part, I expose other (some serial) offenders, guilty of disinformation on the White Helmets, and war propaganda on Syria to a degree that Goebbels would be envious. They are further guilty of ignoring the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of Syrians who call a spade a spade, a terrorist a terrorist.

The Channel 4 “Fact Check” Card

In The Guardian article in question, the author began by linking to a Channel 4 News smear piece on myself which had nothing to do with the point she was asserting—whether or not the group had al-Qaeda ties—but which was issued a year ago with the sole intent to cherry-pick my words to discredit myself. Such non sequitur arguments are commonly used by those who cannot backup their statements with facts and who wish to, instead, deflect and mislead.

Had the Guardian had honest intentions regarding the White Helmets article, they might have actually investigated the many members of the White Helmets with ties to al-Qaeda and affiliated extremists. Here is but one example showing the allegiance of over 60 White Helmets members to al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

Regarding the Channel 4 smear which The Guardian’s own hatchet piece linked to, it followed my speaking on a December 2016 panel (over 50 minutes, with question period), with three others, including a lawyer and the head of the US Peace Council, in a press room of the United Nations.

In that panel, we spoke of many important issues, including: the illegality of this war on Syria; the need to lift the devastating sanctions on Syria; the statement of unity among over 200 organizations in the US and internationally in solidarity with the Syrian government’s fight against foreign intervention; the Syrian reconciliation movement; and the heinous acts committed against Syrian civilians by terrorists, whether from the FSA or Nour al-Deen al-Zenki or ISIS or other.

I spoke for thirteen minutes, noting that my trips to Syria have been self-funded, and that I’ve traveled widely, interacting one-on-one with Syrians, and seen wide support for their army and leadership.

I highlighted how the over 1.5 million people of Aleppo had endured sieges and the attacks of terrorists groups, which killed nearly 11,000 civilians by end of 2016, and noted being present when on November 3, 2016, terrorist attacks on Aleppo which killed 18 and injured over 200. I cited being present during the November 4 mortar attacks by extremist factions on one of the humanitarian crossroads.

dscn5261

Photo by Eva Bartlett, July 2017, Aleppo countryside. See my photo essay on Aleppo and countryside.

Other points which I addressed include:

-The words of Syrians who in October 2016 escaped terrorists’ rule in an eastern area of Aleppo, noting that the “moderates” deprived them of food and imposed extremist ideology on the people.

-The unity I saw in Aleppo, between Sunni Muslims and Christians, rejecting the external sectarianism, and rejecting the corporate narrative that Sunnis in Syria are against Bashar al-Assad, and the support of civilians for their army.

-The al-Quds hospital which was not “destroyed”, not reduced “to rubble”, as per Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and as repeated by most corporate media. Admittedly, it was lexiconally-incorrect of me to have stated that the Quds hospital had not been attacked: I cannot prove it has never been lightly or otherwise attacked. The correct wording should have been “not destroyed”, and in fact this June I confirmed that the Quds hospital remained standing, intact as it was when I mentioned it in that December 2016 panel.

However, as I mentioned in December, the Dabeet maternity hospital in Aleppo was internally-destroyed by a terrorist bombing, to the silence of most media. I went there and spoke with the director, who confirmed that three women died the attack in which freedom-bringers fired a missile that landed on a car parked outside the hospital, exploding that car. The director also noted that a week later, terrorists’ mortars hit the roof of the hospital, destroying the roof and injuring construction workers.

In the panel, I also mentioned the Kindi hospital which was destroyed by al-Nusra truck bombings, a rather significant fact, given that it was the largest and best cancer treatment hospital in the region. [Incidentally, I met with Kindi’s former director in November 2016, who spoke of international silence at the destruction of his hospital. While speaking, a terrorist-fired mortar landed outside of the University hospital where we spoke.]

I presented the words of the director of Aleppo’s Medical Association, who told me that in contrast to corporate media’s assertions of “last doctors” and “last pediatricians”, there were over 4,100 active and registered doctors in Aleppo, including over 800 specialists, including 180 pediatricians.

Selective Cricitism, Whitewashing Crimes

Out of that lengthy December 2016 panel, the sole issue that Channel 4 cherry-picked was a remark I made in the question period following, on the issue of exploitation of children in war propaganda—or more specifically, whether one girl has been exploited repeatedly.

I will note that while I cannot prove definitively that one of the girls I mentioned (or those which Channel 4 piece assumed I referred to) have been used in staged videos, it is entirely feasiblethat she/they and other children have been, and is entirely worthy of serious investigative research, particularly given the western-funded, terrorist-affiliated nature of the various sources.

For example, on the issue of staged media, as I wrote in June 2017 (emphasis added):

“In December 2016, filmmakers in Egypt were arrested in the process of staging an Aleppo video with two children: the girl was meant to look injured, and the boy was to vilify both Russia and Syria.”

My article detailed the misuse of a Lebanese music video scene to claim it was Aleppo; and BBC’s endorsement of the November 2014 ‘Syrian hero boy’ clip as definitely being in Syria, “probably on the regime frontlines,” although it was filmed in Malta by Norwegian filmmakers.”

In June 2017, I also wrote about one famous boy, the “boy in the ambulance”, exploited including by Channel 4 News and the Guardian. When this June I went to Aleppo and met the boy and his father, the latter confirmed that the story pushed in corporate media was false, and that media had exploited his son. As it turns out, Mohammad Daqneesh supports the Syrian army, and was disgusted by the exploitation of his son, by media and the terrorists themselves.

Further, there is the White Helmets video in which “rescuers” seem to be fake-rescuing children, employing practices which would kill them, as outlined by Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli, head of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR). His March 2017 article noted the opinions of Swedish medical doctors, specialists, who asserted that:

“the life-saving procedures seen in the film are incorrect – in fact life-threatening – or seemingly fake, including simulated resuscitation techniques being used on already lifeless children.”

He cites a specialist in paediatrics:

“After examination of the video material, I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children”.

And a Swedish medical doctor and general practitioner:

“If not already dead, this injection would have killed the child!”

His follow-up report noted:

“The new findings…demonstrate that the main highlighted ‘life-saving‘ procedure on the infant shown in the second video of the sequence was faked. Namely, no substance (e.g. adrenaline) was injected into the child while the ‘medic’ or doctor introduced the syringe-needle in a simulated intracardiac-injection manoeuvre…”

Recall the incubator babies story sobbed by the fake-nurse daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US (endorsed and propagated by Amnesty International), which preceded and had a role in swaying public opinion prior to the 1991 US/UK war on Iraq. Regarding the White Helmets video in question, de Noli noted it was,

“shown at the UN Security Council April 16, 2015. After that meeting, US Ambassador Samantha Powers declared, ‘I saw no one in the room without tears. If there was a dry eye in the room, I didn’t see it’.

Ensuing, just four days after, on April 20, 2015, CNN broadcasted a news-program reproducing segments taken from exactly the same videos and propagated for the No-Fly Zone on behalf of “the Syrian doctors” campaigning.

This horrifying syringe-children example, and the above-listed incidents of faked footage and exploitation of children in war propaganda, are more than enough reason to warrant serious investigations into other videos produced by the White Helmets (and those of like western-funded “opposition media” in Syria, including formerly the Aleppo Media Centre [AMC]).

Channel 4 Team Mucked the Facts

Regarding the Channel 4 “fact check”, Patrick Worrall got his facts wrong in his very second sentence, which read:

“She writes a blog for the state-funded Russian media outlet Russia Today.”

Alas, the Channel 4 team didn’t do the most elementary investigative research to see where exactly my supposed “blog” on RT was. Had Channel 4 followed the link, they would find the opinion section dubbed “Op Edge”, to which 19 writers currently contribute, many of whom also contribute to numerous other publications. Many papers have such opinion sections, including The Guardian, which describes the entries there as “opinion pieces” and not “blog posts”.

Channel 4 also described the UN panel in question as “organised by the Syrian mission to the UN”. In fact, I initiated contact with the Syrian mission to request that I do what the US Peace Council had done in August 2016: to present some of what I had seen and heard in Syria. The Syrian mission did arrange for the room, as per my request. Worrall’s wording is to imply that I was merely invited to speak, whereas in fact I requested to speak, since corporate media won’t give voices like mine a fair platform.

In an attempt to legitimize the narrative of White Helmets rescuing babies or people from rubble, Channel 4 wrote that I had reported a case of someone buried alive in Gaza in 2009 who (I wrote a few weeks after his injury) emerged with “only a mere scar at his left eyebrow”.

bartlett-abu-qusay

*Image provided by Abu Qusay.

Yet, my 2009 article clearly portrays a man with thick blood streaming down his face, who (as he explained) couldn’t walk on his own, and by his own testimony passed out and woke up in hospital. In contrast, the girl in question (number two in Channel 4’s article), supposedly buried, seemingly has no visible blood on her face, and in spite of having been pulled by her ponytail after being buried by rubble, is alert and conscious. Not such an apt comparison, Channel 4. It indeed begs the question of just how injured she was.

Of girl number 2, Channel 4 wrote:

“Someone would have had to have buried a screaming child up to their chest in rubble and carefully assembled a large amount of heavy wreckage around and on top of her…”

Indeed. It’s funny how the White Helmets did exactly that in their “mannequin challenge” video, extracting from rubble a man who appears unable to walk… later photographs show the actor standing with his “rescuers”.

wh-video

Further, the video presented by Channel 4 regarding the ponytail-grabbed girl in no way shows “a large amount of heavy wreckage around and on top of her”. Rather, it shows a child waist-deep in rubble, “rescuers” wiping rubble here and there, and finally the child extracted (video strangely cuts the extraction point, why is that?), the rescuer running to and beyond the waiting ambulance.

I challenge Channel 4 to find any actual doctor, medic or rescuer that would pull a child supposedly buried in rubble by her ponytail, knowing that any damage to the spine can be fatal or leave the victim paralyzed.

Terrorist-Affiliated Sources Not Credible, Even If Reuters

Later in the article, Channel 4 refers to “a Reuters photographer on the ground at one of the incidents, who was satisfied that the events he was recording were genuine.” Given that the photographer in question, Abdalrhman Ismail, was embedded in al-Qaeda areas, litters his Facebook posts with pro-“rebel” and anti-Assad propaganda, and has selfies with at least one of the member of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki terrorists who beheaded a Palestinian boy in 2016, his credibility and impartiality is shot, to say the least.

retuers ismail

*Abdalrhman Ismail on left, Zenki child-beheader centre.

Ismail also participated in the propaganda that the Quds hospital in Sukkari, Aleppo had been destroyed by airstrikes, which it was not.

Channel 4 cited me as saying that the White Helmets can be found carrying guns and standing on dead bodies of Syrian soldiers, but did not address these points, nor did they address the curious issue of the obscene amount of funds these “volunteers” have received. What strange omissions. Channel 4 also did not address my point about internal refugees who fled not Assad, as claimed in corporate media, but the terrorists themselves, and how these internal refugees are given housing, food, education and medical care by the Syrian government. Not important?

Clearly Channel 4 reports only that which supports the “rebels” and “revolution” narrative, whitewashing the terrorism not only of the extremists but also the governments funding and supporting them, and governments imposing sanctions on Syria.

Incidentally, Channel 4 (as I wrote) produced a report embedded with the Nour al-Din al-Zinki faction, who Channel 4 deemed “moderates,” although in July prior they had savagely beheaded Abdullah Issa. Not initially a problem for Channel 4, they did later remove the incriminating video.” This is the same Channel 4 whose reporter, when returned to Aleppo after its liberation, refused to “get into history” about his lies and war propaganda. In other words: Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru Murthy lied throughout 2016, and when confronted did not even have the dignity and integrity to admit he was wrong.

Snopes: Factually-Challenged

In December 2016, the self-professed “fact check” website Snopes also produced a smear piece full of logical fallacies on me. Interestingly, had they not, I might not have come across their article whitewashing al-Qaeda’s rescuers.

Snopes’ Bethania Palma opened with this teaser (emphasis added):

“The idea that victims of mass tragedies are ‘recycled’ is a common theme among conspiracy theorists, but there are international reports and footage of the Al Quds Hospital attack.”

In addition to the unoriginal use of “conspiracy theorists”, two different issues were conflated: That of whether people are being used in staged videos, and that of the al-Quds hospital “attack”. The conclusion following “but” has absolutely nothing to do with the first part of the sentence. This is a straw man argument, and is designed to mislead.

Snopes continued with things like “outlandish-sounding claims” and that I believe “international media are conspiring to fabricate stories of hospital bombings,” and that I refer to “all factions fighting President Bashar al Assad’s forces as terrorists.”

As it turned out, my outlandish-sounding claims were true. The al-Quds hospital was not “destroyed”, the “last doctors” theme was a propaganda ploy, as was the “last pediatrician in Aleppo,” and many other ruses. Indeed, international media did conspire to fabricate stories, such as that on Omran Daqneesh, and also on Bana al-Abed.

The international media did conspire to claim that Assad was starving civilians in Aleppo, which was laid to rest when media actually spoke to civilians (and not terrorist mouthpieces) after Aleppo’s liberation.

The international media also conspired along the same lines regarding Madaya. I went to Madayathis June and learned the same sordid realities (starvation, torture, imprisonment) that civilians endured in Aleppo, due to al-Qaeda and affiliated extremists. The international media continue to conspire, with the same tired claims.

Snopes stated, regarding Syria’s 2014 Presidential election: “Voting in that election only took place in government-held territories.”

False. Voting occurred also in neighbouring Lebanon, where I witnessed the first of two days of mass-turnout of Syrians to vote. Syrians in countries like Canada which has closed the Syrian embassy flew to Damascus airport just for the right to vote.

Snopes also neglected to mention that, in their efforts to bring “democracy” to Syria, “moderates” shelled voting stations throughout Syria on June 3, firing 151 shells on Damascus alone, killing at least 5 and maiming 33 Syrians,” in Damascus, as I wrote in 2014.

As for whether forces fighting the Syrian army and civilians are terrorists, I have heard this repeatedly from civilians in Syria themselves, like this civilian in Aleppo in June 2017. Whether FSA, al-Qaeda, al-Zenki or another shade of extremist, they all commit acts of terrorism against Syrian civilians.

Snopes then strangely pointed out the following, as if I would refute it: “Bartlett has a statement on her own web site:

‘I support Syria against a ‘civil’ war that is funded, armed and planned by the western powers and their regional allies with a view to wiping out all resistance to imperialism in the Middle East…’.”

Indeed, I did have it on my blog, and one can still see it among my Facebook cover photos. Thanks for sharing that, Snopes! Incidentally, Qatar’s former PM admitted this as well, noting Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey had been coordinating with America and sending weapons to militants since events began in 2011. What a dang conspiracy theorist the former Qatari Prime Minister is! Almost as conspiratorial as the former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, who noted (video here):

“I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.

This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate.

Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me….This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned.”

Otherwise, in their “fact check” Snopes repeated points I’ve already addressed above, including about the Quds hospital, which Snopes neglected to mention that MSF had said was “destroyed”. Thus, the explanation that it was somehow risen from the rubble and working anew in September is simply illogical. It was “destroyed”, remember? Reduced “to rubble”, said MSF.

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How Neutral is Snopes?

Snopes completely avoided investigating my mention that the White Helmets “can be found carrying guns and standing on the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers”, although she did cite me as having said it.

Near the beginning of her article, Snopes’ Palma mentioned that I was billed as an “independent Canadian journalist,” immediately following with: “She is also a contributor at RT, a news site funded by the Russian government.”

As noted in part one (and also on my blog), I contribute to a number of sites, RT just one among them, and do so precisely because these independent websites, and RT, allow me to write exactly what I believe, with zero censorship.

In any case, is Snopes as independent, neutral and apolitical as claimed to be, and as an impartial fact checking group must be?

June 2016 article (albeit by the Daily Caller) looked at the politics of some of Snopes’ “fact checkers”, noting “Snopes’ “fact-checking” looks more like playing defense for prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton.”

Another article noted Snopes’ “spinning for (Hillary) Clinton”, as well as occasions where Snopes patently lied.

Forbes had an interesting article on the matter, looking at a sensationalistic Daily Mail exposethat one of Snopes’ founders “embezzled $98,000 of company money and spent it on ‘himself and prostitutes’.” While the Forbes author was initially sceptical of the Daily Mail piece, after corresponding with Snopes’ founder David Mikkelson, he became sceptical of the site’s lack of transparency and the competency of fact checkers.

The myth of Snopes as a reliable, neutral, fact checker is as dead as the myth of the White Helmets as neutral, volunteer, rescuers in Syria.

Canadian Yellow Journalist

Following in the footsteps of Snopes and Channel 4 was a poor attempt at discrediting me by a Canadian corporate hack. I am addressing this feeble smear article solely because Agnès Gruda was an apologist for the terrorists which destroyed Libya, and silenced honest reporting on Iraq.

In January 2017, Montreal, Canada, I was part of a panel on Syria. During the shared panelI spoke for over half an hour, highlighting the need to question the veracity of media reports and of videos produced by the al-Qaeda affiliated White Helmets and other compromised Western-funded sources based solely in terrorist-occupied areas.

Following the question period, two Canadian journalists approached demanding an interview, camera already filming. One of the journalists, Alexandra Szacka of Radio Canada, had been persistently messaging me two weeks prior, expressing what she claimed was an interest in hearing my perspective on Syria. A look at her Twitter feed revealed her real interests and allegiances: towing the Western narrative on Syria.

alexandra and agnes while i mention carla del ponte and rebels sarin khan al assal

Agnès Gruda and Alexandra Szacka while I refer to Carla del Ponte’s comments regarding the complicity of  “rebels” in the Khan al Assal chemical weapons attack.

However, based on the request of a mutual contact to grant the interview, I did. Prior to agreeing to the interview with Szacka and sister Agnès Gruda, of La Presse, I pointed out that for the past hour I had given numerous examples of corporate media fabrications, lies, and obfuscations. They pledged to be different. Gruda lied.

Since much of the content of Gruda’s piece is unsurprisingly very similar to prior smears, I’ll address only points not already made, noting, that Gruda also unsurprisingly failed to address a single one of the numerous points I made in that January panel.

As for the December 2016 panel at the UN, Gruda, in her haste to taint the event, wrote that “it was held in fact inside the offices of the Syrian delegation to the UN.”

lie

Screenshot from Gruda’s article.

False. The panel was held in an official press room at the United Nations Headquarters, in an entirely different building complex than (and two blocks away from) the offices of the Syrian mission to the UN.

UN press room location

She correctly, however, stated that I’ve never set foot on the “rebel” side. I’m not keen on being beheaded. Veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn even wrote:

They are not there for the very good reason that Isis imprisons and beheads foreigners while Jabhat al-Nusra, until recently the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is only a shade less bloodthirsty and generally holds them for ransom. … all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups.”

But anyway, when was Gruda in Syria…?

With this sort of “never set foot” on the terrorists’ side comment, war propagandists like Gruda negate the very real suffering of Syrians in government-secured areas being targeted by mortars, rockets, car and suicide bombings and more. It is disingenuous to imply that by visiting the many and vast government-secured areas in Syria one cannot get an accurate idea of the will of Syrian people and their experiences.

Going to population hubs like Damascus, Latakia, Tartous, and Homs, one encounters Syrians from all over the country, from all faiths (see examples from my extensive travels in summer 2016), some of the at least 7 million internal refugees.

In Latakia alone, there are over 1 million internal refugees, including many who have come from areas of Aleppo formerly occupied by militants and terrorists. One can hear their testimonies by visiting shelters for refugees, or even encountering these displaced people in commercial areas, including many internal refugees who have left everything behind, fleeing the terror of western-backed ‘rebels’ for the safety of government-secured areas.

Regarding my four Aleppo  visits in 2016, the areas and routes we took involved frequent potential exposure to ‘rebel’-terrorist sniper fire or shelling.

Had Gruda been present on the November 2nd visit to extremely dangerous areas, in some instances less than 100 metres or even less than 50 metres from al-Qaeda snipers, she would have overheard the bombastic corporate journalists (who would later distort truth on their visit) complaining that they didn’t feel comfortable visiting those areas—areas where we were seeing first-hand the effects of terrorists’ bombings on civilians, and where we were speaking with brave Syrians who had refused to leave, victims of terrorists’ sniping.

Gruda wrote that I relied heavily on this particular trip with mostly corporate journalists (I was interested to see how they would spin truth in their reports) when speaking of Aleppo. In fact, I spoke of my own completely independent visit in July, subsequent independent visit in August, and my other independent visit in November, returning to the city roughly a week after I’d been there with the delegation.

aleppo visits discussed in montreal talk

Screenshot of folder used in my January presentation.

Finally, and again predictably, Gruda attempted to imply I am financed by Russia or Syria, was sceptical that readers who appreciate my efforts donate to me. On that note, please follow me on Patreon or support me via Paypal. This is what truly enables me to survive while fully committing my time to anti-war, anti-occupation, anti-nuke-the-DPRK efforts.

However, on Gruda and her employer, Canadian journalist and author, Yves Englerasked:

“…Does Gruda describe herself as an employee of the billionaire Desmarais family that is heavily involved in Canadian and other countries’ politics? How does Gruda describe journalists who’ve written for Al Jazeera, which is owned by a Qatari monarchy that has backed armed opposition to Assad? Or how about the BBC, CBC and other media outlets owned by governments?

Or, does she mention journalists’ ties when they have freelanced for Radio Canada International, a “Canadian government propaganda arm”? Initially focused on Eastern Bloc countries, beginning in 1945 RCI beamed radio abroad as part of “the psychological war against communism”, according to external minister Lester Pearson. Early on External Affairs was given a copy of the scripts used by commentators and it responded to criticism of Canada’s international policies. Into the 1990s RCI’s funding came directly from External Affairs. Highlighting Russia’s “propaganda system” to a Canadian audience without mentioning the one at home indicates either a journalist’s ignorance or that she is part of it.

I’d say the latter.

Gruda’s Track Record of Supporting Terrorism

While Gruda fails in the ethics department, she is at least consistent: she also cheerled the destruction of Libya, and Iraq prior, romanticizing the militants in Libya as “rebels”, even posing while holding the weapon of one.

aucun

Gruda: “No journalist worthy of the name will say to support any regime whatsoever, or any faction whatsoever. And will not show the symbols of one or the other part …”

Jihadi Agnès, in her article, took issue with my wearing a bracelet with the Syrian flag on it.

But I guess her Brega, Libya, gun-toting pose in a “rebel”-terrorist area is completely professional.

agnes rifle

A very neutral and professional Agnès Gruda in Libya 2011.

More revealingly, Jooneed Khan, an international affairs journalist for 40 years who formerly worked at La Presse, told me of Gruda’s censorship of his honest reporting.

“I spent 3 months of 2003 in Iraq, before, during and after the bombing and the occupation. I was in Baghdad in April 2003 reporting for La Presse. On the day following the toppling of the statue of Saddam in Firdaus Square, I wrote a 1,400 word piece saying Iraqis did not welcome the GIs as ‘liberators’, that armed check-points were going up all over the city, that tension was rising. She, and others, massacred my text, cut in down to 400 words, made it say the opposite of what it said, and published it with my by-line. In 40 years that is the worst case of censorship I met at the hands of my bosses.

Gruda’s Sectarian Slant

Had Gruda wished to speak with Syrians from greater Aleppo, I did offer to connect her with actual accredited doctors working in Aleppo, as well as Sunnis in the city. But, Gruda seemed to prefer approaching her ‘reporting’ from a sectarian perspective and only wished to speak with Christians at the January Montreal event, though many Sunni Syrians were present.

A Bossalinie Armanazi who attended my lecture later messaged me to say that although Gruda was encouraged to interview him, a Sunni, Gruda suddenly didn’t have time. Armanazi wrote to me:

“She had a storyline and needed the right cast with specific characteristics to fit the story. Apparently, I got disqualified because my religious sect and political views did not fit in the story she wants to tell.

I am among the Sunni Muslims that do not support the so-called ‘revolution’ and stand with the Syrian state in addressing and resolving this conflict. I, like many others, did not see any positive change coming out from the so-called rebels, which are nothing but radicalized barbaric groups flowing from all over the world and given political, logistical, financial and weaponry support to fight on behalf of another group of states/kingdoms that have offered nothing but destruction.”

Indeed, the panel’s organizers confirmed that they had encouraged both Agnès Gruda and her sister Alexandra Szacka to interview the many Sunnis present that day. They were not interested.

What Gruda, Channel 4, Snopes, and others issuing smear pieces have done is to concoct articles which negate all valid points I have made, in their attempt to discredit me, and others like me who have gone to Syria and shared the voices and realities of Syrians.

When any of these sites make an error, or lie, (and they do), what is the response? A simple retraction in passing that few will notice anyway. Please recall that the BBC claimed a photo taken in Iraq depicted Houla, Syria. When called out by the photographer, the BBC issued an non-retraction statement of having included that the photo could not be independently verified.

Also recall that the BBC was filming in an area held by extremists, including al-Qaeda and ISIS, and in December 2013 normalized the terrorist group as a “Syrian rebel” group. Robert Stuart has exposed the BBC’s lies in “Fabrication in BBC Panorama ‘Saving Syria’s Children’”. These are not one-offs, these are examples of systematic war propaganda.

When flooded with over 1000 messages/emails in December 2016, I did at least manage to see and address the email from a Toronto-based Buzzfeed writer in December 2016. His smear piece was cookie cutter perfect.

More will follow, and they will follow the CIA memo, and other smear tactics. But after this rebuttal, I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Deconstructing the White Helmets’ Apologists

Regarding the issue so covered up by these various authors–the White Helmets, al-Qaeda’s rescuers–I refer now to a number of excellent articles debunking of the recent Guardian story.

-Ridiculous Guardian Smear Piece Results In Epic Satire, Dec 19, 2017, Brandon Turbeville, Activist Post
-What The Guardian Is Afraid Of When Attacking Honest Syria Reporters?, Dec 20, 2017, Adam Garrie, Oriental Review
-The Guardian’s Attempt to Save the White Helmets, Dec 20, 2017, John Wight, Sputnik
-Understanding The Guardian’s Latest ‘Russia-White Helmets’ Conspiracy Theory, Dec 20, 2017, 21st Century Wire
-UK Column Deconstructs Olivia Solon’s ‘Russia-White Helmets Conspiracy’ Guardian Article, Dec 21, 2017, 21st Century Wire

Veteran journalist John Pilger described the White Helmets as “a complete propaganda construct.

On November 30, 2016, Gareth Porter wrote of the White Helmets, focusing on one particular incident which blew their credibility. He wrote:

“…The highly political role played by the White Helmets in relation to foreign press coverage was dramatically demonstrated after the attack on a Syrian Red Crescent truck convoy in the rebel held area of Urum al-Kubra, just west of Aleppo on September 19. The assault took place immediately after a ceasefire agreed to by Russia, the U.S. and the Syrian government was shattered by a deadly U.S. air attack on Syrian army forces battling ISIS around the city of Deir Ezzor on September 17.

…In the days following the attack, news media coverage relied heavily on accounts provided by the White Helmets. The head of the organization in Aleppo, Ammar Al-Selmo, was offering them a personal on-the-scene account. Selmo’s version of the story turned out to be riddled with falsehoods; however, many journalists approached it without an ounce of skepticism, and have continued to rely on him for information on the ongoing battles in and around Aleppo.”

Porter went on to detail Selmo’s self-contradicting claims, as well as the contradictory statements of another White Helmet member, Urum al-Kubra WH director Hussein Badawi, whose own words contradicted those of Selmo’s claims.

More recently, Porter commented in an interview on RT:

“The White Helmets have been lionized by the news media, and treated as simply heroes of the Syrian war. There has been no criticism really allowed in the media of the White Helmets, in terms of other aspects of what they do that may be less attractive. They have been assigned the job of basically being the propaganda arm of those authorities (al-Qaeda). …It’s a matter of public record. It’s not denied that this organization gets its funding from the United States, from the UK, in the 10s of millions of dollars.”

In his November 2016 article, Porter noted:

“The uncritical reliance on claims by the White Helmets without any effort to investigate their credibility is yet another telling example of journalistic malpractice by media outlets with a long record of skewing coverage of conflicts toward an interventionist narrative.

The Guardian, Channel 4, Snopes, and Agnès Gruda are indeed guilty of journalistic malpractice, and war propaganda of the most heinous kind.

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