Trump’s Syria Missile Strike Was a Scandal

December 31, 2019

Peter HITCHENS

I suspect the Third World War will begin with a claimed atrocity — probably the use of poison gas by a ‘regime’ against ‘its own people’. Such things are now the favorite way to make wars where there was peace.

Border violations went out of fashion years ago. Invasions are illegal under the UN Charter. There are no Archdukes left to assassinate. ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ will forever evoke hollow laughter. But democracy needs a popular pretext for war, and righteous mass outrage about the inhumanity of the enemy is almost invariably effective.

This is why it is rather important that the people we trust to verify such claims are honest and trustworthy. For who will verify the verifiers? Ignore this little matter and we could obliterate the world by mistake, sooner than you think.

Hence this story of one of the least-covered major scandals of the moment. Apart from Tucker Carlson on his Fox show, no journalist in the United States has even touched it yet. Things are not that much better in Europe.

It begins on April 7, 2018, when social media, quickly followed by professional news organizations, began to spread harrowing reports of mass murder by gas in the Damascus suburb of Douma. Many deaths were reported. Urgent amateur films then appeared showing the dead, horrible to behold, some of them children, many foaming at the mouth. President Trump reacted swiftly, Tweeting ‘Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia, and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!’

In fact he did not wait for that verification. Within a week, the USA had showered Syria with missiles crammed with high explosives. France and Britain swallowed any doubts they may have had and added their own small salvoes, in the usual coalition of the sycophantic.

But then the problems began. It is actually illegal to bomb sovereign countries unless you have a clear justification. And nobody really knew what had happened in Douma. There were no independent Western sources there at the time of the alleged atrocity. They would have been killed or kidnapped if they had been, by the notoriously feral jihadi militia, Jaysh al Islam, which then held the area. The journalists who wrote so confidently about it were in no cases nearer than Beirut, 85 miles away. More of them were even more distant, in Istanbul, London and New York. The sources they quoted from the scene were unnamed and uncheckable. As for the films, there was no way of knowing for sure where they had been made, or how.

It is to resolve doubts such as this that most of the nations of the world — the USA among them — pay for the impartial verification services of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). From its toadstool-shaped headquarters in The Hague, capital of the Netherlands, the OPCW sent a small team of experts. The jihadis were gone. The area was clear. They were able to get swift access.

By late June of that year they had compiled their report. It contained no smoking gun. Rather the opposite. There was no trace at all of sarin — despite the fact that the corpses in the films showed symptoms normally associated with that cruel gas. And there was about as much chlorine there as you might find in your kitchen. It was present only in trace elements, parts per billion, and in forms so common that it could have come from household bleach.

And then the scientists discovered that they had come up with the wrong answer. Diligent fair inquiry was not wanted at all. Thanks to a courageous whistleblower, who passed on the details, I and a small number of other journalists reported this week that a disgraceful thing happened inside the OPCW. A new report had been prepared for publication. It was a travesty of what the investigators had written. Their careful, impartial work had been trashed by persons or persons unknown. Their document had been slashed and censored to remove crucial information, especially that the traces of chlorine were tiny.

There were protests. In response, a group of three unidentified US officials appeared unexpectedly at the OPCW’s high-security building. According to one scientist present, these men simply told them that the Syrian regime had conducted a gas attack. Even after this, the struggle for truth went on. Senior officials eventually promised — after much argument — to include the key information about the tiny traces of chlorine in the report that was about to be published. The promise was immediately broken.

The document that was finally issued was conveniently vague, and major news organizations rushed to decide, quite incorrectly, that it had said chlorine gas had been used. Actually, it said nothing of the sort. We have to wonder how so many agencies, broadcasters and major newspapers all reached this wrong conclusion from these few vague words ‘Various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from Locations 2 and 4’. But they did.

Now it has been established beyond doubt that the report was doctored. But most people still don’t know that, as it has barely been reported. Why is this? Is it possible that many in the media, just like many in politics, had invested so much in the original outrage that they now could not bear to find that there was, in fact, no proper evidence of the thing they had blazoned on their front pages and shouted in their bulletins? They had been furious and righteous and condemnatory. And now they were left without any proof that the thing had even happened.

We all know Hans Christian Andersen’s fable of the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’, which don’t exist, and of the little boy who cries out that the potentate is naked, and everyone in the town then joins in with the little boy. But experience in this case tells me this is all rubbish. In reality the Emperor’s secret police would have arrested the little boy and his father and told them to shut up. And of course, the imperial media would have kept quiet about the incident, providing detailed descriptions for their readers of the monarch’s sumptuous apparel. So it has been in the case of the OPCW. The whistle was blown, but hardly anyone heard it. Who is verifying the verifiers? Nobody is verifying the verifiers, who will one day take us to war — and hell — on a falsehood.

spectator.usThe views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.


Syria, Washington and the Kurds. “The Rojava Dream is Dead”

By Prof. Tim Anderson

Global Research, December 31, 2019

American Herald Tribune

With the defeat of ISIS and Nusra, the exposure of the ‘White Helmets’ and the various Chemical Weapons stunts, and with the collapse of ‘Rojava’, Washington is fast running out of options in Syria. Syria is winning, but the big power has not yet given up. Knowing that it is losing, it still acts to prolong the endgame and punish the Syrian people.

***

We are sitting at a joint military command center in Arima (northern Syria, just west of Manbij) with three Syrian Arab Army (SAA) colonels and two uniformed Kurd SDF ‘koval’ (comrades). There are Russians here too, but they do not enter our conversation. Yet even in the friendly chat, as we wait for permission to travel on to Manbij and Ayn al Arab (Kobane), some tensions are apparent.

Sharing coffee and food, both the SAA officers and the SDF comrades acknowledge they are fighting and dying together against an invading Turkish army and its proxy militias. The frontline is just a few kilometers away.

When I ask what differences there are between DAESH, Nusra and the ‘Free Army’, they all respond derisively.  “There is no difference, it is a money game, the fighters go back and forwards depending on the pay rates”. “Any difference between groups in the numbers of foreigners?” I suggest. “No difference”, they repeat. SDF Comrade B passes me a recent video of ‘Free Army’ fighters at Tal Abiad, to the north-east, protesting conditions and demanding their return to HTS/Nusra controlled Idlib.

But we all know they fight for a different cause. The SAA officers are fighting for a liberated and united Syria, while the SDF comrades still dream of an independent ‘Kurdistan’ by cutting out parts of contemporary Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Separatist Kurds collaborated with US occupation forces in pursuit of their ‘Rojava’ dream (western Kurdistan), even though Washington never really supported the project. Many Syrians see them as traitors. But the SAA is patient, dealing with one enemy at a time, and at the moment the enemy in north Syria is Erdogan.

The ‘Rojava’ dream is effectively dead. As both Afrin (in March 2018) and Manbij (in October 2019) demonstrated, no Kurdish militia can defend itself from Ankara, which correctly sees any ‘Rojava’ statelet as a stepping stone for the bigger game, a large slice of Turkey. Protection by US occupation forces could not last forever. Moreover, Kurdish groups have no exclusive historical claims over any parts of northern Syria. Many others live there. In much of north Syria Kurds are a small minority.

Despite these tensions a close, even affectionate relationship remains in the room. The SAA colonels are all older men, in their 40s and 50s, while the SDF comrades are younger men, around 30 years old. Colonel H offers more coffee to Comrade A while Comrade B tells of Kurdish conquests. “We lost 850 martyrs liberating Manbij”, he says, and “2,000 in Kobane”. And what about all those in your prisons? one of the colonels asks. “They are reformatories”, Comrade B replies.

Aleppo and Manbij dcc6a

*(Between Aleppo and Manbij there is a switch from checkpoints controlled by the Syrian Arab Army to those controlled by the Kurdish SDF, even though the SAA and Russia now secure most of these ‘SDF controlled’ areas)

What Comrade B does not say about the “liberation” of Manbij is that (1) the 2016 battle was effectively a transfer of the city from one US proxy (ISIS/DAESH) to another (SDF), and (2) there were very few Kurds in that mostly Arab city. After the major battles, many from surrounding areas fled to the city, swelling its population. A recent estimate puts its population at 700,000, of which 80% are Arab (Najjar 2019). Of the rest there are other non-Arab minorities, including Assyrians, Circassians and Armenians. There is no real social base for a separatist Kurd regime in Manbij.

Yet even after the departure of US occupation forces from this part of northern Syria, and even though the Syrian and Russian presence constrains Turkish ambitions, the SDF has been allowed to maintain its former administration of both the city and the region.

The bizarre and unsustainable nature of this regime is made apparent when Nihad Roumieh, my Syrian journalist colleague, asks one of the colonels to show us where we are. Colonel A happily rolls out a military map, with friend and enemy troop placements. The first thing apparent is that six Syrian armored units protect Manbij, to the north. Second, although Syrian forces have resumed control of more than 200km of the northern border, it is depressing to see how much of northern Syria remains occupied by Erdogan and his proxies.

The picture seemed even more grim when we later spoke with a Manbij councilor and his lawyer friend. They complained of many held in prison and tortured, under the SDF regime. They said there were only two Kurd villages in Manbij.

Nevertheless, it seems that a transition is taking place. Over November-December both Syrian and Russian flags were raised over previous SDF positions in Hassakah, Ayn al Arab, Jarablus and Tal Jemaa (Syrian Observer 2019; Semenov 2019; SOHR 2019), with suggestions that the SDF was involved in negotiations with Damascus “to reach conclusive solutions”. However, SDF leader Mazloum Abadi said that the group wanted “Syrian unity … [with] decentralized self-administration” including maintenance of the separate SDF militia (Syrian Observer 2019). Damascus is unlikely to accept such terms.

*

The claim for a Kurdish homeland in Syria is no indigenous movement, claiming the return of ancestral lands. Nor does the debate over Kurds as historical migrants (in Yildiz 2005) or long-standing inhabitants (Hennerbichler 2012: 77-78) resolve the question. While Kurdish languages are of Iranian origin, and the longer history passes through Mesopotamia (Iraq) and the Ottoman Empire, Kurds are certainly part of the native Syrian population.  However at 1.5 million Syria hosts the smallest group in the region, with around 20 million in Turkey (Gürbüz 2016: 31) and another 6-8 million each in Iran and Iraq.

The idea of a ‘Rojava’ statelet in Syria has been compromised in three ways. First, the Kurdish groups in the north and north-east Syria are only one of several groups (amongst Assyrians, Circassians, Armenians and Arabs), and in some areas small minorities. Second, the Kurdish separatist movement in Syria has been over-determined by the politics of and migration from Turkey. ‘Rojava’ was seen as the stepping stone for a larger ‘Kurdistan’ project, driven from the north. Third, intervention by the imperial power raised separatist expectations and has damaged Kurdish relations with other Syrian groups.

In the longer history of Syria, a traditional refuge for minorities, there have been many Kurds, including famous personalities, who did not buy into the separatist dream.

Sheikh Mohammad al Bouti

Two of them are buried inside the grounds of the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus: the 12th-century ruler Sala’addin and the Quranic scholar Sheikh Mohammad al Bouti (murdered by Jabhat al Nusra in 2013). Many Syrians of Kurdish origin embraced the idea of a wider identity. Before the 2011 conflict Tejel (2009: 39-46) classified Syrian Kurdish identities as comprising Arab nationalist, communist and Kurdish nationalist, with Syrian Kurd leaders Husni Za’im and Adib al-Shishakli campaigning for a non-sectarian ‘Greater Syria’.

The Turkish Kurd influence began early in the 20th century, as Kurdish culture was repressed by the post-Ottoman Turkish state. Turkish Kurds first took refuge in Syria, including in Damascus, after their failed rebellion in 1925. The very idea of a Syrian Kurdish party first came in 1956 from the Turkish refugee Osman Sabri; and another Turkish refugee Nûredîn Zaza, became president of that party (al Kati 2019: 45, 47).

There were multiple splits in subsequent years. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) emerged in the 1980s as a branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), loyal to its leader Abdallah Öcalan, who in 1996 acknowledged that “most of the Kurds of Syria were refugees and migrants from Turkey and they would benefit from returning there” (in Allsop 2014: 231). Many of the claims about ‘stateless’ Kurds in Syria have to be read in light of this Turkish influx. However, Öcalan departed in 1998, as part of Syria’s Adana agreement with Turkey (al Kati 2019: 49-52).

The big powers, conscious of the potentially divisive role of separatist Kurds, have used them for decades, to divide and weaken Arab governments. US regional allies Israel and Iran (pre-1979) joined in, with the Shah in 1962 ordering his SAVAK secret police to help finance the Kurdish insurgency in northern Iraq, so as to undermine Baghdad. The Israelis joined in two years later. The CIA offered further help to the Barzani-led Kurds in 1972. One result was that Iraq was unable to join the Arab resistance against Israeli expansion in 1967 and 1973 because a large part of its military was deployed in northern Iraq (Gibson 2019).

The US-led war on Syria in 2011 presented new separatist opportunities. Peoples Protection Units (YPG) were reactivated in 2012, at first with support from Damascus so that Syrians in the north could fight ISIS. However, the US occupation of parts of north and east Syria in late 2015 led to the reorganization of many YPG units into the US-sponsored ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) (Martin 2018: 96). These were sometimes referred to as a ‘Rojava’ force, while at other times the Kurdish component was played down.

According to one US military report in 2017 the SDF in Manbij was only 40% Kurd (Townsend in Humud, Blanchard and Nikitin 2017: 12), addressing the embarrassing reality that Manbij had a very small Kurdish population. In late 2016 US Col. John Dorrian, gave a higher overall Kurd estimate, saying that the SDF “consists of approximately 45,000 fighters, more than 13,000 of which are Arab” (USDOD 2016). Many of the latter came from the fragments of earlier US proxy militia in Syria.

Syrian Colonel Malek from Aleppo confirmed to me that the bulk of SDF members were always Kurdish, including many from Iraq and Turkey. The size of the non-Kurd and foreigner contingents varied according to the money on offer. A report from the London based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) recognized that both the YPG and SDF ground forces remained largely arms of the Turkish PKK (Holland-McCowan 2017: 10).

The failure of the September 2017 separatist referendum in Iraq dealt a serious blow to the regional project. The KDP and PUK put aside their rivalry to hold an independence referendum (having already pushed for and gained federal status) even though it was not authorized by Baghdad. The proposal was said to have gained 92% approval, but was immediately rejected by the Iraqi Government and Army, which drove Peshmerga forces out of Kirkuk in just a few hours (Gabreldar 2018; ICG 2019). For the first time in decades the Iraqi Army took control of the NE region. Baghdad was showing a political will that had been lacking for many years.

In Syria, US forces did nothing to stop the YPG’s ethnic cleansing of non-Kurds in areas to which they laid claim. In October 2015, the western aligned group Amnesty International accused the YPG (just before the US rebranded them as the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’) of forcibly evicting Arabs and Turkmens from areas they took after displacing ISIS. Amnesty produced evidence to show instances of forced displacement, and the demolition and confiscation of civilian property, which constituted war crimes (AI 2015). Similar accusations had come from Turkish government sources (Pamuk and Bektas 2015) but also from refugees who said that ‘YPG fighters evicted Arabs and Turkmens from their homes and burned their personal documents’ (Sehmer 2015; Al Masri 2015).

However, after the US forces became direct patrons of the SDF in late 2015, a UN commission, co-chaired by US diplomat Karen Koning AbuZayd, continued its quest to place most of the blame for abuses on Syrian Government forces. The Commission accused the YPG/SDF of forcibly displacing communities “[but only] in order to clear areas mined by ISIL”, and of forcible conscription, but “found no evidence to substantiate claims that YPG or SDF forces ever targeted Arab communities on the basis of ethnicity, nor that YPG cantonal authorities systematically sought to change the demographic composition of territories” (IICISAR 2017: 111 and 93).What Syria’s Kurds “Think” They are Fighting For Versus Reality

Nevertheless, in 2018 there were ongoing reports of the ethnic cleansing of Assyrian Christians from US-SDF held areas in NE Syria. Young men in the Qamishli area were reported to have been arrested and forcibly conscripted into Kurdish militia, alongside property theft by those same militias (Abed 2018). In 2019 the SDF were reported to have closed more than 2,000 Arabic-teaching schools in the Hasaka region (Syria Times 2019) and to have shot, killed, wounded and jailed displaced people who were trying to escape from al-Hawl Refugee Camp in South-Eastern Hasaka (FNA 2019). Nevertheless, once US forces created and adopted the Kurdish-led ‘SDF’, Amnesty International and the western media muted their earlier criticisms.

Washington in 2012 had looked favorably on the ISIS plan for a “Salafist principality”, so as to weaken Damascus (DIA 2012). In September 2016 US air power was used to attack and kill more than 120 Syrian soldiers at Mount Tharda behind Deir Ezzor airport, to help the terrorist group’s (failed) efforts to take over and threaten the city (Anderson 2017). But when Russia, Syria and Iraq began wiping out these Saudi clones, USA forces simply rescued their best commanders and replaced ISIS with a Kurdish-led ‘SDF’ (Anderson 2019: Chapters 5 and 7), once again to undermine and weaken Damascus.

But US occupation forces did not wait around to sponsor the ill-fated Rojava project. In October 2019 President Trump gave the order for a partial withdrawal from northern Syria. Former US diplomat Robert Ford had warned in 2017 that the US would abandon the SDF (O’Connor 2017). So, stripped of US military protection and their main source of arms and finance, the SDF was forced to rapidly put together a new alliance with Damascus and Russia, to prevent annihilation by Erdogan’s forces. The Turkish leader saw the Öcalan-led YPG/SDF as a stepping stone to its larger project in Turkey (Demircan 2019).

Western liberals complained the US was ‘betraying’ its Kurdish allies; but they placed too much faith in romantic myths. Ünver (2016), for example, presented separatist Kurds as recipients of unplanned opportunities in Syria’s “civil war” in an “age of shifting borders”, as though the big power were not once again using the ‘Kurdish card’ to divide and weaken both Iraq and Syria. Schmidinger (2018: 13, 16-17) tried to twist Syria’s historic diversity into an argument for the ‘Rojava’ sectarian division – instead of an inclusive unitary state. But, as has been said many times before, imperial powers never have real allies, only interests. Lebanese Resistance leader Hassan Nasrallah told Kurdish separatists in February 2018: “In the end they will work according to their interests, they will abandon you and they will sell you in a slave market.”

Meanwhile, with Washington’s blessing, Erdogan persists with his plan to control large parts of northern Syria, with the aim of settling many of the refugees in Turkey under a Muslim Brotherhood style regime, controlled by sectarian Islamist militia. Retired Syrian Major General Mohammad Abbas Mohammad told me that Turkey’s leader has not given up his ambition of becoming a modern-day ‘Caliph’ of Muslim nations, and is working to colonise Syrian minds with his constant Islamist slogans.

*

Nevertheless, with the help of its allies, Syria is winning the war. ISIS/DAESH and Nusra are virtually defeated, the ‘White Helmets’ and the Chemical Weapons stunts have been exposed and the Rojava myth has collapsed. But a Washington-driven economic war now targets all the independent countries of the region, aggravating the occupation and the terrorism.

Director of the Syrian Arab Army’s Political Department Major General Hassan Hassan, tells us that the US “has the power to destroy the world, many times over, but it has not been able to turn that power into capabilities.” That is why US wars are failing across the region.

While we are indeed heading for a multi-polar world, he says, we are not there yet. “Syria still faces the unipolar regime”. Erdogan, ISIS, Israel and the SDF are all “puppets” of this dying world order. Authorized by the US, Erdogan still wants to set up a Muslim Brotherhood region in north and east Syria. This is a dying and a “most dangerous” order, General Hassan says. “The US deep state knows that its unipolarity is failing, but that has not yet been announced. The new world system is born, but is not yet recognized. The US wants to prolong this conflict as long as possible, and to punish the Syrian people”.

Euphrates f77f4

(Crossing the huge Furat (Euphrates) river, from rural Manbij to rural Raqqa, north Syria)

In that transitional phase we see collaboration between the SAA and the SDF, the extraordinary anomaly of an SDF-run Manbij and the ongoing experiment of ‘Kobane’, the SDF controlled border town which Syrians call Ayn al Arab.

Traveling from rural Aleppo to rural Raqqa on the M4 highway we cross the Furat (Euphrates) river, a huge, semi-dammed expanse of fresh water which appears particularly sweet between two deserts. Turning north we arrive in Ayn al Arab, at the Turkish border, in less than an hour. Although Erdogan’s gangs are attacking Ayn al Issa, deeper inside Syria on the M4, there is no sign of fighting near Ayn al Arab itself. Major General Abbas says that Erdogan is aiming at narrow incursions, which can later be widened.

This small city of perhaps 45,000 people was evacuated during earlier fighting and still shows signs of great destruction, especially on the eastern and northern sides. Less than a tenth of the size of Manbij it is now said to have a majority of Kurds and the SDF comrades seem well organized. We are taken to their small headquarters, a three-story building, to await further security checks and an escort to one of their schools and one of their hospitals.

At the secondary school, as in the headquarters, they seem wary of a foreigner accompanied by an SAA Colonel and a Syrian journalist. That breaks down a little as I ask about their curriculum and the children, who have clearly gone through substantial trauma. The headmaster says they are developing programs to help students deal with their war experiences. The threat is not over, as Erdogan’s troops, including sectarian Islamist gangs, are only a few kilometers to the north.

The Kurdish nationalist curriculum has made a break with the centralized Arabic-based system set in Damascus. The headmaster explains that their syllabus is carried out 60% in the Kurdish language, 20% in Arabic and 20% in English. For children from Arab families the syllabus is 60% Arabic, 20% Kurdish and 20% English. They speak of four ‘nationalities’ in Kobane: Kurd, Arab, Yazidi and Christian. That is how they see it.

The management of the small hospital is also strongly Kurd nationalist. I ask where they get their support and they mention the Americans and some international NGOs. Of course, there is nothing from Ankara. “What about Damascus?” I ask. “Nothing and we want nothing”, says one of the managers.

That may be true for this hospital. However Syrian colleagues tell that most of the health centers in SDF controlled areas still get finance and supplies from Damascus. So not only is their security guaranteed by the Syrian state, so are most of their social services.

It remains to be seen how much Kurdish autonomy will remain, under a final political settlement. Federation is not part of the discussion, it is clear that Damascus sees that as a path which would dismember and weaken the country. While the SAA and the SDF jointly fight Erdogan’s gangs, Damascus has been calling on Arab leaders in the north and north east, who had collaborated with the US occupation force and the SDF, to return to the Syrian Arab Army. On the other side, SDF Commander General Mazloum Abdi opposes incorporation of the SDF into the SAA (Van Wilgenburg 2019) and wants to hold onto as much local administration as possible (Syrian Observer 2019). The continued US presence and sponsorship of SDF units in Hasaka, Qamishli and Deir Ezzor (Ahval 2019), serves to maintain the illusions of autonomy.

In the Russian media there is some pessimism about an SDF-Damascus reconciliation. One observer suggests that “Russia will eventually force most (if not all) of Turkey’s forces to leave Syria … [but Damascus] and the Syrian Kurds have opposing political and military goals that will not be easily reconciled” (Stein 2019).

However, Damascus has some other cards. The YPG/PKK/SDF grew its influence through US sponsorship and, as that declines, other voices in the north, including Kurdish voices, are likely to re-emerge, especially through the constitutional process in Geneva. Major General Abbas points out that there are now dozens of Kurdish parties in the north east (Syria Times 2018). Given the intransigence of the US-dependent SDF, Russia is said to be recruiting Syrian Kurd youth to a rival group (Duvar 2019), which is likely to be incorporated into the SAA.

In my view, there will likely be some accommodation of Kurdish nationalist demands at the cultural and local administrative levels, but alongside efforts to ensure this does not privilege Kurds above other Syrian groups. That should appear in the amended constitution. The old world order is dying and the new one is still being born. In this transitional world, Washington persists with its losing war, to divide and punish the Syrian people.

*

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Dr. Tim Anderson is Director of the Sydney-based Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies. He has worked at Australian universities for more than 30 years, teaching, researching and publishing on development, human rights and self-determination in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. In 2014 he was awarded Cuba’s medal of friendship. He is Australia and Pacific representative for the Latin America based Network in Defence of Humanity. His most recent books are: Land and Livelihoods in Papua New Guinea (2015), The Dirty War on Syria (2016), Global Research, 2015, now published in ten languages; Countering War Propaganda of the Dirty War on Syria (2017) and Axis of Resistance: towards an independent Middle East (2019).

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ICG (2019) ‘After Iraqi Kurdistan’s Thwarted Independence Bid’, International Crisis Group, Report 199 / Middle East & North Africa 27 March, online: https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iraq/199-after-iraqi-kurdistans-thwarted-independence-bid

IICISAR (2017) ‘Human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations in the Syrian Arab Republic, 21 July 2016’, Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, ‘Conference room paper’, 10 March 2017, online: https://www.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?sourcedoc=/Documents/Countries/SY/A_HRC_34_CRP.3_E.docx&action=default&DefaultItemOpen=1

Kutschera, Chris (1994) ‘Mad Dreams of Independence: The Kurds of Turkey and the PKK’, Middle East Report, No. 189, The Kurdish Experience (Jul. – Aug., 1994), pp. 12-15

Martin, Kevin (2018) ‘Syria and Iraq ISIS and Other Actors in Historical Context’, in Feisal al-Istrabadi and Sumit Ganguly (2018) The Future of ISIS: Regional and International Implications, Brookings Institution Press

Mohannad Al-Kati (2019) ‘The Kurdish Movement in the Arab World: The Syrian Kurds as a Case Study’, AlMuntaqa , Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1 (April/May 2019), pp. 45-61

Najjar, Faray (2019) ‘New front in Syria’s war: Why Manbij matters’, Al Jazzera 16 October, online: www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2019/10/front-syria-war-manbij-matters-191015143157365.html

O’Connor, Tom (2017) ‘’U.S. will lose Syria to Iran and abandon Kurdish allies, former Ambassador says’, Newsweek, 19 June, online: https://www.newsweek.com/us-military-kurds-lose-iran-syria-former-ambassador-627395

Pamuk, Humeyra and Umit Bektas (2015) ‘Turkey sees signs of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Kurdish fighters in Syria’, Reuters, 17 June, online: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-kurds-turkey-idUSKBN0OW1SA20150616

Schmidinger, Thomas (2018) Rojava: Revolution, War and the Future of Syria’s Kurds, Pluto, London

Sehmer, Alexander (2015) ‘Thousands of Arabs flee from Kurdish fighters in Syria’s north’, The Independent, 1 June, online: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/thousand-of-arabs-flee-from-kurdish-fighters-in-syrias-north-10289475.html

Semenov, Kirill (2019) ‘Russia faces Dilemmas in northeastern Syria’, Al Monitor, 21 November, online: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/russia-syria-us-turkey-kurds.html

SOHR (2019) ‘Lens of SOHR monitors the rise of the Syrian flag and the flag of Syriac Military Council affiliated to “SDF”, in Tal Jemma north of Tal Tamr town’, 4 December, Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, online: http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=149576

Stein, Aaron (2019) ‘Temporary and Transactional: The Syrian Regime and SDF Alliance’, Valdai Club, 29 November, online: https://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/temporary-and-transactional-the-syrian-regime/

Syrian Observer (2019) Russia takes over SDF Base in northern Hassakeh, 2 December, online: https://syrianobserver.com/EN/news/54623/russia-takes-over-sdf-in-northern-hassakeh.html

Syria Times (2018) ‘Syrian officer to ST: forces in Syria’, 31 December, online: http://syriatimes.sy/index.php/editorials/opinion/39606-syrian-officer-to-st-forces-in-syria

Syria Times (2019) ‘SDF militia closes 2154 Syrian schools and gives some of them to US occupation army’, 27 September, online: http://syriatimes.sy/index.php/news/local/43878-sdf-militia-closes-2154-syrian-schools-and-gives-some-of-them-to-us-occupation-army

Tejel, Jordi (2009) Syria’s Kurds: History, Politics and Society, Routledge, New York

Ünver, H. Akin (2016) Schrödinger’s Kurds: Transnational Kurdish Geopolitics in the Age of Shifting Borders, Journal of International Affairs , Vol. 69, No. 2, Shifting Sands: The Middle East in the 21st Century (SPRING/SUMMER 2016), pp. 65-100

USDOD (2016) ‘Department of Defense Press Briefing by Col. Dorrian via teleconference from Baghdad, Iraq’, U.S. Department of Defense, 8 December, online:

https://www.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript-View/Article/1025099/department-of-defensepress-briefing-by-col-dorrian-via-teleconference-from-bag

Van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (2019) ‘SDF leadership meets with Arab tribes in response to Damascus call to defect’, Kurdistan24, 11 December, online: https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/09be9fde-3988-4307-be32-ab161da48412

Yildiz, Kerim (2005) The Kurds in Syria: the forgotten people, Ann Arbor, London

All images in this article are from the AHTThe original source of this article is American Herald TribuneCopyright © Prof. Tim AndersonAmerican Herald Tribune, 2019

OPCW Official Ordered Deletion Of ‘All Traces’ Of Dissenting Report On ‘Douma Chemical Attack’ – Wikileaks

Source

By Staff, Agencies

The leadership of the chemical weapons watchdog took efforts to remove the paper trail of a dissenting report from Douma, Syria which pointed to a possible false flag operation there, leaked documents indicate.

In an internal email published by the transparency website WikiLeaks on Friday, a senior official from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] ordered that the document be removed from the organization’s Documents Registry Archive and to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever.”

The document in question is a technical assessment written by inspector Ian Henderson after a fact-finding mission to Douma, a suburb of Damascus, in the wake of an alleged chlorine gas attack.

Western politicians and media said at the time that the government forces had dropped two gas cylinders as part of an offensive against terrorist forces, killing scores of civilians.

The OPCW inspector said evidence on the ground contradicted the airdropping scenario and that the cylinders could have been placed by hand. Considering that the area was under the control of anti-government forces, the memo lands credence to the theory that the so-called rebels had staged the scene to prompt Western nations to attack their opponents.

The final report of the watchdog all but confirmed that Damascus was behind the incident, but in the past months an increasing amount of leaked documents and whistleblower testimonies have emerged, pointing to a possible fabrication. The OPCW leadership stands accused of withholding opinions contravening the West-favored narrative and using misleading language to report what the inspectors found on the ground.

The alleged email was written by Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW. Its authenticity is yet to be confirmed, but the organization never said any of the previously leaked documents were not real.

Another document published on Friday outlines a meeting with several toxicology experts and their opinions on whether symptoms shown and reported in alleged victims of the attack were consistent with a chlorine gas poisoning.

“The experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure,” the document said, adding that the chief expert suggested that the event could have been “a propaganda exercise.”

The Douma incident in April 2018 spurred Western governments into action, with the US, the UK and France delivering a barrage of missiles at what was dubbed chemical weapons sites in Syria days after.

Further Proof: U.S., UK, & France Committed War-Crime on 14 April 2018

December 29, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

U.S., UK, and French ‘news’-media hide the fact, but it is now incontestably a fact, that they committed an international war-crime on 14 April 2018. The OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) does everything they can to hide this fact. Therefore, starting with the latest, and then proceeding in chronological order, with the earliest and then the subsequent ones that had been issued prior to that latest one, here are the real and verified news-reports which have been published (none in the mainstream press), proving both this international war-crime, and the OPCW’s hiding of it:

https://www.rt.com/news/476965-opcw-wikileaks-leak-douma/

“Senior OPCW official ordered deletion of ‘all traces’ of dissenting report on ‘Douma chemical attack’ – WikiLeaks’ new leak”

F. 27 December 2019

The leadership of the chemical weapons watchdog [OPCW] took efforts to remove the paper trail of a dissenting report from Douma, Syria which pointed to a possible false flag operation there, leaked documents indicate.

In an internal email published by the transparency website WikiLeaks on Friday [see it here], a senior official [Chief of Cabinet] from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) ordered that the document be removed from the organization’s Documents Registry Archive and to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever.”

WikiLeaks@wikileaks

Email from the Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, demanding deletion of dissenting engineering assessment: “Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive]… And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA”https://wikileaks.org/opcw-douma/#OPCW-DOUMA%20-%20Release%20Part%204 …

9:30 AM – Dec 27, 2019

The document in question [here ordered deleted] is a technical assessment written by [the chief] inspector Ian Henderson after a fact-finding mission [by Henderson] to Douma, a suburb of Damascus, in the wake of an alleged chlorine gas attack. Western politicians and media said at the time that the government forces had dropped two gas cylinders [on Douma] as part of an offensive against jihadist forces, killing scores of civilians.

The OPCW inspector [Henderson] said evidence on the ground contradicted the airdropping scenario [which had falsely implicated Syria’s Government as having dropped both from a plane] and that the cylinders could [and this was actually the only alternative scenario proposed] have been placed [there] by hand. Considering that the area was under the control of anti-government forces, the memo lands [RT meant “lends”] credence to the theory that the jihadists had staged the scene [in order] to prompt Western nations to attack their [the jihadists’] opponents [Syria’s Government forces, which the U.S., UK, and France, missile-attacked on 14 April 2018, in alleged retaliation for the alleged Syrian Government gas-attack].

The final report of the watchdog [the OPCW] all but confirmed that Damascus was behind the incident, but in the past months an increasing amount of leaked documents and whistleblower testimonies have emerged, pointing to [the alleged chemical-weapon event’s having been] a possible fabrication. The OPCW leadership stands accused [now is actually proven in this leaked document from the OPCW’s Chief of Cabinet] of withholding opinions [by the OPCW’s on-the-ground expert investigators] contravening the West-favored [actually its only] narrative and using misleading language to report what the inspectors [had] found on the ground.

ALSO ON RT.COM

New leaks provide further evidence that OPCW suppressed & altered findings on Douma ‘chemical attack’

https://www.rt.com/news/475926-opcw-leaks-report-syria-chemical/

15 December 2019

“A new cache of internal documents [from Wikileaks] reveal that members of the OPCW team tasked with probing the Douma “chemical attack” protested the organization’s final report on the incident, which they said misrepresented their conclusions. In a memo addressed to OPCW Director General Fernando Arias, one scientist who participated in the OPCW’s fact finding mission (FFM) wrote that there are “about 20 inspectors who have expressed concern” over how the OPCW presented its findings on the alleged Syrian chemical attack. According to the memorandum, the organization’s final report does not reflect the FFM’s findings, presented in their interim report, which is also part of the new document dump.”

The alleged [here RT.com is insinuating that Wikileaks could be releasing here a faked] email was written by Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW. Its authenticity is yet to be confirmed, but the organization never said any of the previously leaked documents were not real. [RT.com is here alleging that Wikileaks’s publication of a document does not, in itself, constitute an official allegation by Wikileaks that the document is, in Wikileaks’s opinion, authentic — a bizarre and undocumented allegation by RT.com, asserting that Wikilweaks is untrustworthy. If RT considers Wikileaks untrustworthy, then isn’t RT obliged to provide some evidence of that?]

Another document published on Friday outlines a meeting with several toxicology experts and their opinions on whether symptoms shown and reported in alleged victims of the attack were consistent with a chlorine gas poisoning. “The experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure,” the document said, adding that the chief expert suggested that the event could have been “a propaganda exercise.” [The OPCW’s official published conclusion was that this event definitely wasn’t a sarin-gas attack but might possibly have been a chlorine gas attack. But now, Wikileaks has revealed that the OPCW’s technical experts, who had actually performed the investigation, said that it also wasn’t a chlorine gas attack, if there was, indeed, even any chemical-weapons attack there at all.]

The Douma incident in April 2018 spurred Western governments into action, with the US, the UK and France delivering a barrage of [105] missiles at what was dubbed chemical weapons sites in Syria days after [on April 14th]. This didn’t prevent the government from seizing control over the neighborhood, but put the reputations of the three governments [U.S., UK, and France] at stake. The OPCW report [now discredited by the OPCW’s own technical experts] gave credence to [i.e., alleged to have been possibly a reaction to an actual war-crime by Syria’s Government] the Western show of force. [In other words: RT here is trying to assert that the “credence to” those three Governments’ 14 April 2018 missile-attacks against Syria is in doubt — instead of having been disproven — because the OPCW’s management had trashed and rewritten their technical investigators’ reports about the on-site findings, which were that there was no evidence whatsoever that any gas-attack at all had occurred in Douma on 7 April 2018, and that if one had been done, then it hadn’t been done by Syria’s Government (i.e., by air-drop).]

ALSO ON RT.COM

‘Journalism is dying’: US govt ‘has its tentacles’ in every part of media, reporter who quit over ‘suppressed’ OPCW story warns

https://www.rt.com/news/475940-media-controlled-us-govt-newsweek/

15 December 2019

“Tareq Haddad announced his resignation from Newsweek last week, claiming that his editors had shot down his attempt to report on a leaked email which casts doubt on the OPCW’s findings regarding an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, in April 2018. … ‘The US government, in an ugly alliance with those [that] profit the most from war, has its tentacles in every part of the media — imposters, with ties to the US State Department, sit in newsrooms all over the world. … Inconvenient stories are completely blocked. As a result, journalism is quickly dying. America is regressing because it lacks the truth.’”

“SUPPRESSED OPCW FINDING: War-Crime Likely Perpetrated by U.S. Against Syria on 14 April 2018”

Eric Zuesse, 19 May 2019

////

UPDATE: On 4 June 2019, WashingtonsBlog headlined at Zero Hedge “Eminent American Scientist: Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Was STAGED” and Dr. Postol presented there a detailed analysis of who and how and why at the OPCW the report from their engineering team had been hidden from the public (prior to that team’s report having become leaked to the public on 13 May 2019 — and yet still suppressed by the press, just as Dr. Postol’s June 3rd report likely also will be).

////

On May 13th, Tim Hayward of the Working Group on Syria made public on his website an utterly damning document that had been suspiciously excluded from the final investigative report by the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) regarding the U.S.-and-allied allegation that on 7 April 2018 the Syrian Government had sarin-attacked residents in its town of Douma and had killed a large number of non-combatants. Seven days after that alleged incident, the U.S. and two of its allies, UK and France, massively missile-invaded Syria on April 14th, in alleged international ‘response’ to that alleged national war-crime on the part of Syria’s Government. It now turns out that that alleged national war-crime was totally staged by America’s own proxy-soldiers, Islamic terrorists who were trying to overthrow Syria’s Government, and so the attack against Syria on 14 April 2018 by U.S., UK and France, constitutes an international war-crime, an unequivocal violation of the U.N.’s Charter.

This excluded finding by the OPCW is proof that “the US Government’s Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT”. That’s the way an independent detailed study by the two top U.S. experts had concluded their study of the U.N.’s evidence concerning the U.S.-and-allied allegations that there had been a 21 August 2013 sarin-attack by the Syrian Government against its town of East Ghouta. Their finding then was virtually identical regarding that U.S.-alleged sarin-use by Syria’s Government — identical to this recent OPCW finding. And that finding regarding the earlier ‘incident’ likewise was suppressed, instead of reported by the ‘news’-media. The two investigators in that earlier report, which was issued on 14 January 2014, were MIT’s Ted Postol and Richard Lloyd.

The clearest summary-report about the newer suppressed finding was “signed by Ian Henderson (an investigative team leader for the OPCW” and is best summarized by Kit Knightly’s May 14th “Leaked Report: Douma ‘Chemical Attack’ Likely Staged” at Off-Guardian.org (a terrific website of investigative journalism that exposes lies by mainstream ‘news’-media, such as Britain’s Guardian). As Knightly especially pointed out, that OPCW investigative team’s report to OPCW had concluded:

“In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being dropped.”

As we shall later show, that statement at the end of the OPCW team’s report, was a huge understatement: they had, in fact, proven that “both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations [by the anti-Government side, as a set-up to stage the event and blame it on the Government] rather than being dropped [by a plane, from the Government, as the U.S. alleged].”

So: that’s virtually a clone of the earlier Postol-Lloyd finding regarding the 13 August 2013 incident, except that, whereas the earlier incident was real and had been carried out by America’s Syrian proxy-forces (fanatic Islamists), this more recent ‘incident’ was (as now is clear not only from the latest revelation) entirely staged by the U.S.-and-allied side. It had not existed at all.

Obviously, if that finding is confirmed by an international tribunal not for internal war-crimes but for international war-crimes, then Donald Trump, Theresa May, and Emmanuel Macron, could be sentenced to prison, or worse, but is there any tribunal anywhere that could handle such cases? Almost certainly not. Leaders, such as those, stand above any law. And isn’t that the real problem here?

On 17 May 2019, Russia’s Tass news agency headlined “Militants preparing provocation with chemical weapons in Syria” and reported that, “Militants from Jebhat al-Nusra terrorist group (banned in Russia) are preparing a provocation to accuse Russian servicemen of using chemical weapons in Syria, the Russian Center for reconciliation of the conflicting sides said on Friday [May 17th].” Jabhat al-Nusra is Syria’s branch of Al Qaeda, and U.S. President Barack Obama’s efforts to overthrow the Syrian Government depended very heavily upon that organization to train the non-Kurdish proxy-forces that the U.S. regime and its press called ‘rebels’ instead of jihadists (which they actually were). The U.S. armed and protected al-Nusra.

Back on 13 February 2018, less than two months prior to the faked 7 April 2018 Douma chemical ‘attack’, Russia’s RT had headlined “Tip-off received on Al-Nusra, White Helmets plotting chemical weapons provocation in Syria – Moscow”, and reported that:

Russia’s Center for Reconciliation in Syria says it’s been warned that Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorists brought in chlorine containers to a local village, where they aimed to work with the White Helmets to stage “a provocation.” … According to the source, on the afternoon of February 12, rebels from the Jabhat Al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) terrorist organization brought three cars packed with more than 20 cylinders of chlorine along with personal protective equipment to Serakab. Additionally, according to the caller, representatives of the local branch of the White Helmets, wearing individual means of protection, conducted rehearsals of “giving first aid” to “local residents” who were supposedly suffering from poisoning.”

That appears to have been an accurate description of what the OPCW investigators found in Douma after the faked 7 April 2018 incident there. However U.S.-allied press didn’t report anything of the kind, neither before nor after that faked incident. The reality was suppressed instead of reported there. The latest suppressed finding by the OPCW is a repeat of that pattern.

Further indication of how clear the evidence actually is that the 7 April 2018 Douma incident was staged has been presented by the excruciatingly detailed May 12th document from the team of Paul McKeigue, David Miller, and Piers Robinson, headlined “Assessment by the engineering sub-team of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission investigating the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018”. It explains “that the cylinders were manually placed in position is ‘the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene’,” BECAUSE (and this is quoting now directly from paragraph 32 of the OPCW Engineer’s suppressed report of his team’s findings) “The dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders, and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder being delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.”

The full paragraph 32 opened by saying that “At this stage the FFM engineering sub-team cannot be certain that the cylinders at either location arrived there as a result of being dropped from an aircraft.” But when it went on to say “In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene,” that “alternative hypothesis” referred to the alternative to the cylinder’s “being dropped from a plane.” That “alternative hypothesis” refers to people on the ground having placed it there. That “alternative hypothesis” referred to the event’s having been staged by people on the ground. That “alternative hypothesis” referred to the U.S. side’s proxy-forces — America’s ‘Syrian rebels’) having staged this event and filmed its alleged aftermath so that the U.S.-UK-led White Helmets could then feed it to the U.S.-and-allied ’news’-media so as to enrage their publics against Syria’s Government enough for those publics to think that the subsequent U.S.-and-allied bombing of Syria, On 14 April 2018, was a ‘humanitarian’ action.

The OPCW’s Engineering team stated there, very clearly, that the U.S.-and-allied allegations that those cylinders had been dropped from a plane or planes “CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT,” as Postol and Lloyd had previously said about the U.S.-and-allied alleged Syrian Government 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack against East Ghouta. This is a tactful way of saying that the U.S. and its allied regimes had lied about it.

Britain’s Daily Mail headlined on May 16th “Strange News from the OPCW”, and Peter Hitchens, at his blog there, reported that “I have received the following reply from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.” It said that, “the OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question.” This had been an “unauthorized release”; no question was being raised as to the document’s authenticity.

Who will get the rope to hang Trump, May, and Macron? Of course, nobody. This is the type of world we are living in. Accountability and punishment are only downward, to the individuals below (and many of them are railroaded); credit and rewards are only upward, to the masters above; and so there is no ultimate downside for the people at the very top to perpetrate any crime. There really is no legal jeopardy for people in the positions of Trump, May, and Macron. Such people administer whatever laws actually apply to themselves. There is no accountability for such people, in our world. They are above the reach of any law. And their press say that they are a free press, and that their nation is a democracy. Has the term “democracy” now lost all significant meaning? Or is everything that’s important now, just propaganda, just lies? Is that what we should expect? How can democracy even function under such conditions? It obviously can’t.

The lengthy presentation and analysis of this Engineering report, that the group to which the document had been leaked issued, closed by saying “We thank the OPCW staff members who have communicated with us at considerable personal risk.” All of the decent people there must be terrified, much like a woman who has just been raped is. But this is on a much bigger scale.

“U.S., UK, & France, certainly committed an international war crime against Syria on 14 April 2018.”

Eric Zuesse, 6 November 2019

It is now clear that on 14 April 2018, the three Governments of U.S., UK, and France, fired over a hundred missiles against Syria, on no more ‘justification’ than staged videos that had been done by those regimes’ own proxy boots-on-the-ground fighters in Syria, who are trying to overthrow Syria’s existing, non-sectarian Government and replace it by a Sharia-law regime that would be selected by agents of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family. In other words: the fighters whom the U.S., UK, and France, had been arming and training, had themselves created this pretext of a faked ‘gas attack’ having been perpetrated against civilians, as an excuse in order for those three national regimes (which Governments are those jihadists’ own foreign supporters and backers — the real  international “Deep State” imposing the empire of which they themselves are already a part as the empire’s proxy boots-on-the-ground army) to, additionally and now directly, invade Syria, by means of over a hundred missiles against Syria, on that date: 14 April 2018. The U.S.-and-allied Deep State worked in conjunction with these jihadists in order to wage their war against Syria. This international war-crime, of “aggression” against a sovereign state — or, in common parlance, unprovoked aggression, for conquest — is now clear, and will be fully documented in the following news-report, providing the evidence for prosecution of those three Governments, in an appropriate forum:

On 27 October 2019, Caitlin Johnstone posted to Twitter a 2:18-long audio clip from the BBC World Service in which Jonathan Steele, who specializes in reporting on the Midddle East, reported that now a second whistleblower from within the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) (the U.N.-authorized agency to investigate possible chemical-weapons attacks) is alleging that the OPCW’s final report, regarding the alleged 7 April 2018 chemical attack against Douma Syria, had lied in some significant ways in order to avoid concluding that the ‘attack’ (which had been the excuse for the 14 April 2018 invasion) had been staged and never actually occurred. Johnstone then posted to the American Herald Tribune and other non-mainstream online news-media, an article “The USA’s History Of Controlling The OPCW To Promote Regime Change”, saying:

When the Courage Foundation and WikiLeaks published the findings of an interdisciplinary panel which received an extensive presentation from a whistleblower from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation of an alleged 2018 chlorine gas attack in Douma, Syria, it was left unclear (perhaps intentionally) whether this was the same whistleblower who leaked a dissenting Engineering Assessment to the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media this past May or a different one. Subsequent comments from British journalist Jonathan Steele assert that there are indeed two separate whistleblowers from within the OPCW’s Douma investigation, both of whom claim that their investigative findings differed widely from the final OPCW Douma report and were suppressed from the public by the organization.

The official final report aligned with the mainstream narrative promulgated by America’s political/media class that the Syrian government killed dozens of civilians in Douma using cylinders of chlorine gas dropped from the air, while the two whistleblowers found that this is unlikely to have been the case. The official report did not explicitly assign blame to Assad, but it said its findings were in alignment with a chlorine gas attack and included a ballistics report which strongly implied an air strike (opposition fighters in Syria have no air force). The whistleblowers dispute both of these conclusions.

CONCLUDING NOTE: If this sort of thing doesn’t make clear why the U.S. and UK regimes have, for over a decade, imprisoned Julian Assange without trial, and are now slowly murdering him, in solitary confinement, then what ever possibly could make these dictatorships clear?


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Why Western Media Ignore OPCW Scandal

Image result for Why Western Media Ignore OPCW Scandal

December 20, 2019

The credibility of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is on the line after a series of devastating leaks from whistleblowers has shown that the UN body distorted an alleged CW incident in Syria in 2018. The distortion by the OPCW of the incident suggests that senior directors at the organization were pressured into doing so by Western governments.

This has grave implications because the United States, Britain and France launched over 100 air strikes against Syria following the CW incident near Damascus in April 2018. The Western powers rushed to blame the Syrian government forces, alleging the use of banned weapons against civilians. This was in spite of objections by Russia at the time and in spite of evidence from independent investigators that the CW incident was a provocation staged by anti-government militants.

Subsequent reports by the OPCW later in 2018 and 2019 distort the incident in such a way as to indict the Syrian government and retrospectively exculpate the Western powers over their “retaliatory” strikes.

However, the whistleblower site Wikileaks has released more internal communications provided by 20 OPCW experts who protest that senior officials at the organization’s headquarters in The Hague engaged in “doctoring” their field reports from Syria.

Copies of the doctored OPCW reports are seen to have suppressed important evidence casting doubt on the official Western narrative claiming that the Syrian government was to blame. That indicates the OPCW was engaged in a cover-up to retrospectively “justify” the air strikes by Western powers. This is a colossal scandal which implies the US, Britain and France wrongly attacked Syria and are therefore guilty of aggression. Yet, despite the gravity of the scandal, Western media have, by and large, ignored it. Indicating that these media are subordinated by their governments’ agenda on Syria, rather than exposing the truth as independent journalistic services.

An honorable exception is Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson who has given prominence to the scandal on US national TV. So too has veteran British journalist Peter Hitchens who has helped expose the debacle in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

Apart from those sources, the mainstream Western media have looked away. This is an astounding dereliction of journalistic duty to serve the public interest and to hold governments to account for abusing power.

Major American news outlets have been engrossed in the Trump impeachment case over his alleged abuse of power. But these same media have ignored an arguably far more serious abuse of power with regard to launching missiles on Syria over a falsehood. That says a lot about the warped priorities of such media.

However, their indifference to the OPCW scandal also reflects their culpability in fomenting the narrative blaming the Assad government, and thereby setting up the country for military strikes. In short, the corporate media are complicit in a deception and potentially a war crime against Syria. Therefore they ignore the OPCW scandal.

That illustrates how Western news media are not “independent” as they pompously claim but rather serve as propaganda channels to facilitate their governments’ agenda.

An enlightening case study was published by Tareq Haddad who quit from Newsweek recently because the editors censored his reports on the unfolding OPCW scandal. Haddad explained that he had important details to further expose the OPCW cover-up, but despite careful deliberation on the story he was inexplicably knocked back by senior editors at Newsweek who told him to drop it. There is more than a hint in Haddad’s insider-telling that senior staff at the publication are working as assets for Western intelligence agencies, and thus able to spike stories that make trouble for their governments.

Given the eerie silence among US, British and European media towards the OPCW scandal it is reasonable to posit that there is a systematic control over editorial policies about which stories to cover or not to. What else explains the blanket silence?

The scandal comes as Western powers are attempting to widen the powers of the OPCW for attributing blame in such incidents. Russia has objected to this move, saying it undermines the authority of the UN Security Council. Given the scandal over Syria, Russia is correct to challenge the credibility of the OPCW. The organization has become a tool for Western powers.

Russian envoy to the OPCW and ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin says that Moscow categorically objects to expanding the OPCW’s functions and its powers of attributing blame. The extension of powers is being recommended by the US, Britain and France – the three countries implicated in abusing the OPCW in Syria to justify air strikes against that country.

The Russian envoy added: “The OPCW’s attribution mechanism is a mandate imposed by the US and its allies, which has nothing to do with international law and the Chemical Weapons Convention’s provisions. Any steps in this direction are nothing more than meddling in the UN Security Council’s exclusive domain. We cannot accept this flagrant violation of international law.”

Thus, the OPCW – a UN body – is being turned into a rubber-stamp mechanism by Western powers to legalize their acts of aggression. And yet despite the mounting evidence of corruption and malfeasance, Western corporate media studiously ignore the matter. Is it any wonder these media are losing credibility? And, ironically, they have the gall to disdain other countries’ media as “controlled” or “influence operations”.The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

المقابلة التي امتنعت محطة راي نيوز_24 الإيطالي عن بثها.. الرئيس الأسد: أوروبا كانت اللاعب الرئيسي في خلق الفوضى في سورية

المقابلة التي امتنعت محطة راي نيوز_24 الإيطالي عن بثها.. الرئيس الأسد: أوروبا كانت اللاعب الرئيسي في خلق الفوضى في سورية

أكد السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد أن سورية ستخرج من الحرب أكثر قوة وأن مستقبلها واعد والوضع الميداني فيها الآن أفضل، مشيراً إلى ما حققه الجيش العربي السوري من تقدم كبير في الحرب ضد الإرهاب.

وفي مقابلة مع التلفزيون الإيطالي جرت في الـ 26 من تشرين الثاني الماضي على أن تبث بتاريخ الثاني من كانون الأول الجاري وامتنع التلفزيون الإيطالي عن بثها لأسباب غير مفهومة أوضح الرئيس الأسد أن أوروبا كانت اللاعب الرئيسي في خلق الفوضى في سورية ومشكلة اللاجئين فيها بسبب دعمها المباشر للإرهاب إلى جانب الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وتركيا ودول أخرى.

وبين الرئيس الأسد أنه منذ بداية الرواية المتعلقة بالأسلحة الكيميائية أكدت سورية أنها لم تستخدمها وأن التسريبات الأخيرة حول تقرير منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيميائية تثبت أن كل ما قالته سورية على مدى السنوات القليلة الماضية كان صحيحاً وأنها كانت محقة وهم كانوا مخطئين.

وأكد الرئيس الأسد أن ما فعلته منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيميائية هو فبركة وتزوير لتقرير بشأن استخدام الكيميائي لمجرد أن الأمريكيين أرادوا منها فعل ذلك لتثبت أنها منظمة منحازة ومسيسة تستخدم كذراع لأمريكا والغرب لخلق المزيد من الفوضى.

ودعا الرئيس الأسد الدول التي تتدخل في المسألة السورية للتوقف عن هذا التدخل وكذلك التوقف عن انتهاك القانون الدولي والتزام الجميع به الأمر الذي ينعكس إيجاباً على وضع الشعب السوري.

وفيما يلي النص الكامل للمقابلة…

السؤال الأول:

سيادة الرئيس، شكراً لكم على استقبالنا. هل لكم أن تخبرونا عن ماهية الوضع في سورية الآن؟ ما الوضع على الأرض، وماذا يحدث في البلاد؟

الرئيس الأسد:

لو أردنا الحديث عن المجتمع السوري، فإن الوضع أفضل بكثير، حيث إننا تعلمنا العديد من الدروس من هذه الحرب. وأعتقد أن مستقبل سورية واعد، لأن من الطبيعي أن نخرج من هذه الحرب أكثر قوة. فيما يتعلق بالوضع على الأرض، فإن الجيش السوري يحقق تقدماً على مدى السنوات القليلة الماضية، وحرر العديد من المناطق من الإرهابيين وبقيت إدلب، حيث توجد (جبهة النصرة) المدعومة من الأتراك. وهناك أيضاً الجزء الشمالي من سورية، حيث غزا الأتراك أراضينا الشهر الماضي. أما فيما يتعلق بالوضع السياسي فيمكن القول إنه أصبح أكثر تعقيداً بسبب وجود عدد أكبر من اللاعبين المنخرطين في الصراع السوري من أجل إطالة أمده وتحويله إلى حرب استنزاف.

السؤال الثاني:

عندما تتحدثون عن التحرير، نعلم أن هناك رؤية عسكرية في ذلك الشأن، لكن ماذا عن الوضع الآن بالنسبة للأشخاص الذين قرروا العودة إلى المجتمع؟ أين وصلت عملية المصالحة؟ هل تحقق نجاحاً أم لا؟

الرئيس الأسد:

في الواقع، إن النهج الذي تبنيناه عندما أردنا خلق مناخٍ إيجابي سميناه المصالحة، لكن من أجل تمكين الناس من العيش معاً، ولتمكين أولئك الذين عاشوا خارج المناطق التي تسيطر عليها الحكومة من العودة إلى المؤسسات وسيادة القانون، منحنا العفو للجميع، وسيتخلى هؤلاء عن أسلحتهم ويلتزمون بالقوانين. الوضع ليس معقداً فيما يتعلق بهذه القضية. وقد تتاح لكِ الفرصة لزيارة أي منطقة، وسترين أن الحياة تعود إلى وضعها الطبيعي. فالمشكلة لم تكن في أن “الناس كانوا يقاتلون بعضهم بعضاً”؛ ولم يكن الوضع -كما تحاول الرواية الغربية تصويره- أن السوريين يقاتلون بعضهم بعضاً، أو أنها “حرب أهلية” كما يسمونها، هذا تضليل. واقع الحال هو أن الإرهابيين كانوا يسيطرون على تلك المنطقة ويطبقون قواعدهم. وعندما لا يعود أولئك الإرهابيون موجودين، سيعود الناس إلى حياتهم الطبيعية ويعيشون مع بعضهم بعضاً. لم تكن هناك حربٌ طائفية ولا حربٌ عرقية ولا حرب سياسية، بل كان هناك إرهابيون مدعومون من قوى خارجية ولديهم المال والسلاح، ويحتلون تلك المنطقة.

السؤال الثالث:

هل لديكم مخاوف من أن هذا النوع من الأيديولوجيا الذي طبق وأصبح أساساً لحياة الناس اليومية لسنوات عديدة، يمكن أن يظل –بطريقة أو بأخرى- موجوداً في المجتمع وأن يعود إلى الظهور عاجلاً أم آجلاً؟

الرئيس الأسد:

هذا هو أحد التحديات الرئيسية التي نواجهها. ما طرحته صحيح تماماً. لدينا مشكلتان. تلك المناطق الواقعة خارج سيطرة الحكومة كان يتحكم بها أمران: الفوضى، بسبب غياب القانون، وبالتالي لا يعرف الناس، وخصوصاً الأجيال الشابة، شيئاً عن الدولة والقانون والمؤسسات. الأمر الثاني، وهو متجذر بعمق في العقول، هو الأيديولوجيا.. الأيديولوجيا الظلامية.. الأيديولوجيا الوهابية، إن كان (داعش) أو (النصرة) أو (أحرار الشام)، أو أي نوع من هذه الأيديولوجيات الإسلامية الإرهابية المتطرفة. الآن، بدأنا بالتعامل مع هذا الواقع، لأنه عندما يتم تحرير منطقة، ينبغي حل هذه المشكلة، وإلا فما معنى التحرير؟ الجزء الأول من الحل هو ديني، لأن هذه الأيديولوجيا هي أيديولوجيا دينية، ورجال الدين السوريون، أو لنقل المؤسسة الدينية في سورية، تبذل جهداً كبيراً في هذا المجال، وقد نجحوا في مساعدة هؤلاء الناس على فهم الدين الحقيقي، وليس الدين الذي علمتهم إياه (جبهة النصرة) أو (داعش) أو الفصائل الأخرى.

السؤال الرابع:

إذاً، فقد كان رجال الدين والجوامع، بشكل أساسي، جزءاً من عملية المصالحة هذه؟

الرئيس الأسد:

هذا هو الجزء الأكثر أهمية. الجزء الثاني يتعلق بالمدارس؛ ففي المدارس، هناك مدرسون وتعليم، وهناك المنهاج الوطني. وهذا المنهاج مهم جداً لتغيير آراء تلك الأجيال الشابة، ثالثاً، هناك الثقافة ودَوْر الفنون والمثقفين، وما إلى ذلك. في بعض المناطق، ما يزال من الصعب لعب ذلك الدور، وبالتالي كان من الأسهل علينا أن نبدأ بالدين، ومن ثم بالمدارس.

السؤال الخامس:

 سيادة الرئيس، لنعد إلى السياسة للحظة. لقد ذكرتم تركيا، صحيح؟ وقد كانت روسيا أفضل حلفائكم على مدى هذه السنوات، وهذا ليس سراً، لكن روسيا تساوم تركيا على بعض المناطق التي تعتبر جزءاً من سورية. كيف تقيّمون ذلك؟

الرئيس الأسد:

لفهم الدور الروسي، علينا أن نفهم المبادئ الروسية. الروس يعتبرون أن القانون الدولي، والنظام الدولي الذي يستند إليه، هو في مصلحة روسيا ومصلحة العالم أجمع. وبالتالي، فإن دعم سورية، بالنسبة لهم، هو دعم للقانون الدولي. هذه نقطة. النقطة الثانية هي أن عملهم ضد الإرهابيين هو في مصلحة الشعب الروسي وفي مصلحة العالم بأسره. وبالتالي، فإن قيامهم بـ”مساومات” مع تركيا لا يعني أنهم يدعمون الغزو التركي، لكنهم أرادوا أن يلعبوا دوراً لإقناع الأتراك بأن عليهم أن يغادروا سورية. إنهم لا يدعمون الأتراك. إنهم لا يقولون: “هذا واقع جيد ونحن نقبله، ويتعين على سورية قبوله”. إنهم لا يقولون ذلك.

لكن، وبسبب الدور الأمريكي السلبي، والدور الغربي السلبي فيما يتعلق بتركيا والأكراد، تدخل الروس من أجل تحقيق التوازن مع ذلك الدور. لجعل الوضع، أنا لا أقول أفضل الآن، وإنما أقل سوءاً، إذا توخينا الدقة.

إذاً، هذا هو دورهم في هذه الأثناء. أما في المستقبل، فموقفهم واضح جداً: سيادة سورية وسلامة أراضيها. وسيادة سورية وسلامة أراضيها يتناقضان مع الغزو التركي، وهذا واضح بجلاء.

السؤال السادس:

إذاً، تقولون إن الروس يمكن أن يساوموا، لكن سورية لن تساوم تركيا. أقصد أن العلاقة ما تزال متوترة تماماً؟

الرئيس الأسد:

لا حتى الروس لم يساوموا بشأن السيادة. إنهم يتعاملون مع الواقع. وهناك واقع سيئ، وبالتالي عليك أن تنخرط فيه، ولا أقول للمساومة، لأن هذا ليس حلاً نهائياً. قد تكون مساومة فيما يتعلق بوضع قصير الأمد، لكن على المدى الطويل، أو المتوسط، ينبغي على تركيا أن ترحل. ليس هناك أي شك في ذلك.

 السؤال السابع:

وعلى المدى البعيد، هل هناك خطة لإجراء نقاشات بينكم وبين السيد أردوغان؟

الرئيس الأسد:

لن أشعر بالفخر إذا تعين عليّ ذلك يوماً ما؛ بل سأشعر بالاشمئزاز من التعامل مع مثل هذا النوع من الإسلاميين الانتهازيين. ليسوا مسلمين، بل إسلاميين، وهذا مصطلح آخر، مصطلح سياسي. لكنني أقول دائماً إن وظيفتي لا تتعلق بمشاعري، ولا بأن أكون سعيداً أو غير سعيد بما أفعله، وظيفتي تتعلق بمصالح سورية. وبالتالي، أينما كانت تلك المصالح، فسأتجه.

السؤال الثامن:

في الوقت الراهن، عندما تنظر أوروبا إلى سورية، بصرف النظر عن اعتباراتها بشأن البلد، ثمة قضيتان رئيسيتان: الأولى تتعلق باللاجئين، والثانية تتعلق بالجهاديين أو المقاتلين الأجانب وعودتهم إلى أوروبا. كيف تنظر إلى هذه الهواجس الأوروبية؟

الرئيس الأسد:

بداية، علينا أن نبدأ بسؤال بسيط: من خلق هذه المشكلة؟ لماذا لديكم لاجئون في أوروبا؟ إنه سؤال بسيط. لأن الإرهاب مدعوم من أوروبا، وبالطبع من الولايات المتحدة وتركيا وآخرين؛ لكن أوروبا كانت اللاعب الرئيسي في خلق هذه الفوضى في سورية. وبالتالي كما تزرع تحصد.

السؤال التاسع:

لماذا تقول: إن أوروبا كانت اللاعب الرئيسي؟

الرئيس الأسد:

لأن الاتحاد الأوروبي دعم علنا الإرهابيين في سورية منذ اليوم الأول، أو لنقل الأسبوع الأول، من البداية. حمّلوا المسؤولية للحكومة السورية؛ وبعض الأنظمة -كالنظام الفرنسي- أرسلت لهم الأسلحة. هم قالوا ذلك، أحد مسؤوليهم، أعتقد أنه كان وزير الخارجية فابيوس الذي قال “إننا نرسل أسلحة”. هم أرسلوا الأسلحة وخلقوا هذه الفوضى. ولذلك فإن عددا كبيراً من الناس – ملايين الناس لم يعد بإمكانهم العيش في سورية ووجدوا صعوبة في ذلك، وبالتالي كان عليهم الخروج منها.

 السؤال العاشر:

في اللحظة الراهنة، هناك اضطرابات في المنطقة، وهناك نوع من الفوضى. أحد حلفاء سورية الآخرين هي إيران، والوضع هناك يسير نحو التعقيد. هل لذلك أي انعكاس على الوضع في سورية؟

الرئيس الأسد:

بالتأكيد، فكلما كانت هناك فوضى، ستنعكس سلباً على الجميع، وسيكون لها آثار جانبية وتبعات، وخصوصاً عندما يكون هناك تدخل خارجي. إن كان الأمر عفوياً.. إن كنت تتحدثين عن مظاهرات وأناس يطالبون بالإصلاح أو بتحسين الوضع الاقتصادي، أو أي حقوق أخرى، فإن ذلك إيجابي. لكن عندما تكون عبارة عن تخريب ممتلكات وتدمير وقتل وتدخل من قبل القوى الخارجية، فلا يمكن لذلك إلا أن يكون سلبياً، لا يمكن إلا أن يكون سيئاً وخطيراً على الجميع في هذه المنطقة.

السؤال الحادي عشر:

هل أنتم قلقون حيال ما يحدث في لبنان، وهو جاركم الأقرب؟

الرئيس الأسد:

نفس الشيء. بالطبع، لبنان سيؤثر في سورية أكثر من أي بلد آخر لأنه جارنا المباشر. لكن مرة أخرى، إذا كان ما يحدث عفوياً ويتعلق بالإصلاح والتخلص من النظام السياسي الطائفي، فإنه سيكون جيداً للبنان. ومجددا، فإن ذلك يعتمد على وعي الشعب اللبناني بألا يسمح لأي كان من الخارج أن يحاول استغلال التحرك العفوي أو المظاهرات في لبنان.

السؤال الثاني عشر:

لنعد إلى ما يحدث في سورية. في حزيران، بعث البابا فرنسيس لكم برسالة يطلب فيها منكم الاهتمام بالناس واحترامهم، وخصوصاً في إدلب، حيث ما يزال الوضع متوتراً جداً بسبب القتال هناك، وحتى عندما يتعلق الأمر بمعاملة السجناء. هل رددتم عليه، وماذا كان ردكم؟

الرئيس الأسد:

تمحورت رسالة البابا حول قلقه بشأن المدنيين في سورية. وكان لدي ذلك الانطباع بأن الصورة ليست مكتملة لدى الفاتيكان، وهذا متوقع، بالنظر إلى أن الرواية في الغرب تدور حول هذه “الحكومة السيئة” التي تقتل “شعباً طيباً”. وكما ترين وتسمعين في نفس وسائل الإعلام بأن كل طلقة يطلقها الجيش السوري وكل قنبلة يرميها لا تقتل سوى المدنيين ولا تقع إلا على المستشفيات! إنها لا تقتل الإرهابيين بل تختار أولئك المدنيين! وهذا غير صحيح.

وبالتالي، رددت برسالة تشرح للبابا الواقع في سورية، وبأننا أول وأكثر من يهتم بحياة المدنيين، لأنك لا تستطيعين تحرير منطقة بينما يكون الناس فيها ضدك، لا تستطيعين التحدث عن التحرير بينما المدنيون أو المجتمع ضدك. الجزء المحوري الأهم في تحرير أي منطقة عسكرياً هو أن تحظى بالدعم الشعبي في تلك المنطقة بشكل عام. وهذا ما كان واضحاً على مدى السنوات التسع الماضية.

السؤال الثالث عشر:

لكن هل جعلتك تلك الدعوة تفطن، بطريقة ما، بأهمية حماية المدنيين وحماية الناس في بلدكم؟

الرئيس الأسد:

لا، فهذا ما نفكر فيه كل يوم، وليس من منظور الأخلاق والمبادئ والقيم وحسب، بل من منظور المصالح أيضاً. كما ذكرت قبل قليل، فبدون هذا الدعم، بدون الدعم الشعبي، لا يمكن تحقيق شيء، لا يمكن تحقيق التقدم سياسياً، أو عسكرياً، أو اقتصادياً أو في أي وجه من الوجوه. ما كنا سنتمكن من الصمود في هذه الحرب لتسع سنوات دون الدعم الشعبي، كما لا يمكنك أن تحظي بالدعم الشعبي بينما تقومين بقتل المدنيين، إنها معادلة بديهية لا يمكن لأحد دحضها. ولذلك قلت إنه بصرف النظر عن هذه الرسالة، فإن هذا هو هاجسنا.

لكن الفاتيكان دولة، ونعتقد أن دور أي دولة، إن كان لديها قلق بشأن أولئك المدنيين، هو أن تعود إلى السبب الرئيسي. والسبب الرئيسي هو الدعم الغربي للإرهابيين، والعقوبات المفروضة على الشعب السوري التي جعلت الوضع أسوأ بكثير، وهذا سبب آخر لوجود اللاجئين في أوروبا الآن. كيف تتسق رغبتكم بعدم وجود اللاجئين بينما تقومون في الوقت نفسه بخلق كل الأوضاع أو الأجواء التي تقول لهم: “اخرجوا من سورية واذهبوا إلى مكان آخر”. وبالطبع، فإنهم سيذهبون إلى أوروبا.

إذاً، ينبغي على هذه الدولة، أو أي دولة، أن تعالج الأسباب، ونأمل أن يلعب الفاتيكان ذلك الدور داخل أوروبا وفي العالم، لإقناع العديد من الدول بالتوقف عن التدخل في المسألة السورية، والتوقف عن انتهاك القانون الدولي. هذا كافٍ، فكل ما نريده هو التزام الجميع بالقانون الدولي. عندها سيكون المدنيون في أمان، وسيعود النظام، وسيكون كل شيء على ما يرام. لا شيء سوى ذلك.

السؤال الرابع عشر:

سيادة الرئيس، لقد اُتهمتم مرات عدة باستخدام الأسلحة الكيميائية، وقد شكل ذلك أداة لاتخاذ العديد من القرارات، ونقطة رئيسية، وخطاً أحمر ترتبت عليه العديد من القرارات. قبل عام أو أكثر من ذلك بقليل، وقع حادث دوما الذي اعتبر خطاً أحمر آخر. بعد ذلك، كانت هناك عمليات قصف، وكان يمكن أن تكون أسوأ، لكن شيئاً ما توقف. هذه الأيام، ومن خلال ويكيليكس، يتبين أن خطأً ما ارتكب في التقرير. إذاً، لا أحد يستطيع حتى الآن أن يقول ما حصل، إلا أن خطأ ما ربما حدث خلال صياغة التقرير حول ما جرى، ما رأيكم؟

الرئيس الأسد:

نحن نقول دائماً، ومنذ بداية هذه الرواية المتعلقة بالأسلحة الكيميائية، إننا لم نستخدمها، ولا نستطيع استخدامها، ومن المستحيل استخدامها في وضعنا، لعدة أسباب، دعينا نقل أسبابا لوجستية..

مداخلة:

أعطني سبباً واحداً!

الرئيس الأسد:

سبب واحد وبسيط جداً هو أننا عندما نكون في حالة تقدم، لماذا نستخدم الأسلحة الكيميائية؟! نحن نتقدم، فلماذا نحتاج لاستخدامها؟! نحن في وضع جيد جداً، فلماذا نستخدمها؟! وخصوصاً في عام 2018، هذا سبب.. السبب الثاني، ثمة دليل ملموس يدحض هذه الرواية: عندما تستخدمين الأسلحة الكيميائية، فأنتِ تستخدمين سلاح دمار شامل، أي تتحدثين عن آلاف القتلى، أو على الأقل مئات. وهذا لم يحدث أبداً، مطلقاً. هناك فقط تلك الفيديوهات التي تصوّر مسرحيات عن هجمات مفبركة بالأسلحة الكيميائية، وفي التقرير الذي ذكرته، طبقاً للتسريبات الأخيرة، ثمة عدم تطابق بين ما رأيناه في الفيديوهات وما رأوه كتقنيين وخبراء.

كما أن كمية الكلور التي يتحدثون عنها، وبالمناسبة فإن الكلور ليس سلاح تدمير شامل. هذا أولاً. ثانياً، الكمية التي عثروا عليها هي نفس الكمية التي يمكن أن تكون لديك في منزلك، لأن هذه المادة -كما تعرفين- موجودة في العديد من المنازل، ويمكن أن تستعمليها ربما في التنظيف، أو لأي غرض آخر. نفس الكمية بالتحديد. وما فعلته منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيميائية، هو فبركة وتزوير التقرير لمجرد أن الأمريكيين أرادوا منهم فعل ذلك.

لذلك، لحسن الحظ، فإن هذا التقرير أثبت أن كل ما كنا نقوله على مدى السنوات القليلة الماضية، منذ عام 2013، كان صحيحاً. نحن كنا محقّين، وهم كانوا مخطئين. وهذا هو الدليل، الدليل الملموس بشأن هذه القضية.

إذاً، مرة أخرى تثبت منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيميائية انحيازها، وأنها مسيّسة ولا أخلاقية. وتلك المنظمات التي ينبغي أن تعمل بالتوازي مع الأمم المتحدة على خلق المزيد من الاستقرار في سائر أنحاء العالم، تُستخدم كأذرع لأمريكا والغرب لخلق المزيد من الفوضى.

السؤال الخامس عشر:

سيادة الرئيس، بعد تسع سنوات من الحرب، تتحدثون عن أخطاء الآخرين. أودّ أن تتحدثوا عن أخطائكم، إذا كان هناك أي أخطاء. هل هناك شيء كان يمكن أن تفعلوه بطريقة مختلفة، وما الدرس الذي تعلمتموه ويمكن أن يساعد بلدكم؟

الرئيس الأسد:

بالتأكيد، فعندما تتحدثين عن فعل أي شيء، لا بد أن تجدي أخطاء. هذه هي الطبيعة البشرية. لكن عندما تتحدثين عن الممارسة السياسية، لنقل، ثمة شيئان: هناك الاستراتيجيات أو القرارات الكبرى، وهناك التكتيك، أو لنقل التنفيذ. وهكذا، فإن قراراتنا الاستراتيجية أو الرئيسية تمثلت في الوقوف في وجه الإرهاب، وإجراء المصالحات والوقوف ضد التدخل الخارجي في شؤوننا.

وحتى اليوم بعد تسع سنوات، ما زلنا نتبنى نفس السياسة، بل بتنا أكثر تمسكاً بها. لو كنّا نعتقد أنها كانت خاطئة، لغيرناها. في الواقع، فإننا لا نعتقد أنه كان هناك أي خطأ فيها. لقد قمنا بمهمتنا، وطبقنا الدستور في حماية الشعب.

الآن، إذا تحدثنا عن الأخطاء في التنفيذ، فبالطبع يوجد العديد منها. لكن أعتقد أنك إذا أردت التحدث عن الأخطاء المتعلقة بهذه الحرب فلا ينبغي أن نتحدث عن القرارات المتخذة خلالها، لأن الحرب -في جزء منها- هي نتيجة لأمور حدثت قبلها..

هناك شيئان واجهناهما خلال هذه الحرب: الأول هو التطرف. والتطرف نشأ في هذه المنطقة في أواخر ستينيات القرن العشرين وتسارع في ثمانينياته، خصوصاً الأيديولوجيا الوهابية. إذا أردت التحدث عن الأخطاء في التعامل مع هذه القضية، نعم، سأقول إننا كنّا متساهلين جداً مع شيء خطير جداً. وهذا خطأ كبير ارتكبناه على مدى عقود. وأتحدث هنا عن حكومات مختلفة، بما في ذلك حكومتنا قبل هذه الحرب.

الشيء الثاني هو عندما يكون هناك أشخاص مستعدون للثورة ضد النظام العام، وتدمير الممتلكات العامة، والتخريب، وما إلى ذلك، ويعملون ضد بلدهم، ويكونون مستعدين للعمل مع قوى أجنبية وأجهزة استخبارات أجنبية، ويطلبون التدخل العسكري الخارجي ضد بلادهم.. فهناك سؤال آخر: هو كيف وجد هؤلاء بيننا؟ إن سألتني كيف، فسأقول لك إننا قبل الحرب، كان لدينا نحو 50 ألف خارج عن القانون لم تقبض عليهم الشرطة، على سبيل المثال. وبالنسبة لأولئك الخارجين عن القانون فإن عدوهم الطبيعي هو الحكومة، لأنهم لا يريدون أن يدخلوا السجن.

السؤال السادس عشر:

وماذا عن الوضع الاقتصادي أيضا؟ لأن جزءاً مما حدث – لا أعلم ما إذا كان جزءاً كبيراً أم صغيراً – تمثل في سخط السكان والمشاكل التي عانوا منها في مناطق معينة لم يكن الاقتصاد ناجحاً فيها. هل يشكل هذا درساً ما تعلمتموه؟

الرئيس الأسد:

قد يشكل هذا عاملاً، لكنه بالتأكيد ليس عاملاً رئيسياً، لأن البعض يتحدث عن أربع سنوات من الجفاف دفعت الناس لمغادرة أراضيهم في المناطق الريفية والذهاب إلى المدن.. وبالتالي يمكن أن تكون تلك مشكلة، لكنها ليست المشكلة الرئيسية. البعض أيضا يتحدث عن السياسات الليبرالية. لم يكن لدينا سياسة ليبرالية، بل ما نزال اشتراكيين، وما يزال لدينا قطاع عام كبير جداً في الحكومة. لا يمكن الحديث عن سياسة ليبرالية بينما لديك قطاع عام كبير. وكنّا نحقق نموا جيداً.

مرة أخرى بالطبع، وفي أثناء تنفيذ سياستنا، يتم ارتكاب أخطاء. كيف يمكن خلق فرص متكافئة بين الناس.. بين المناطق الريفية والمدن؟ عندما تفتح الاقتصاد بشكل ما، فإن المدن ستستفيد بشكل أكبر، وسيؤدي هذا إلى المزيد من الهجرة من المناطق الريفية إلى المدن. قد تكون هذه عوامل، وقد يكون لها بعض الدور، لكنها ليست هي القضية، لأنه في المناطق الريفية، حيث هناك درجة أكبر من الفقر، لعب المال القطري دوراً أكثر فعالية مما لعبه في المدن، وهذا طبيعي؛ إذ يمكن أن يدفع لهم أجر أسبوع على ما يمكن أن يقوموا به خلال نصف ساعة. وهذا أمرٌ جيد جداً بالنسبة لهم.

السؤال السابع عشر:

شارفنا على الانتهاء، لكن لديّ سؤالين أودُّ أن أطرحهما عليكم. السؤال الأول يتعلق بإعادة الإعمار التي ستكون مكلفة جداً. كيف تتخيلون أنه سيكون بإمكانكم تحمّل تكاليف إعادة الإعمار، ومن الذين يمكن أن يكونوا حلفاءكم في إعادة الإعمار؟

الرئيس الأسد:

ليس لدينا مشكلة كبيرة في ذلك. وبالحديث عن أن سورية ليس لديها المال. لا، لأن السوريين في الواقع يمتلكون الكثير من المال. السوريون الذين يعملون في سائر أنحاء العالم لديهم الكثير من المال، وأرادوا أن يأتوا ويبنوا بلدهم؛ لأنك عندما تتحدثين عن بناء البلد، فالأمر لا يتعلق بإعطاء المال للناس، بل بتحقيق الفائدة. إنه عمل تجاري. ثمة كثيرون، وليس فقط سوريون، أرادوا القيام بأعمال تجارية في سورية. إذاً، عند الحديث عن مصدر التمويل لإعادة الإعمار، فالمصادر موجودة، لكن المشكلة هي في العقوبات المفروضة التي تمنع رجال الأعمال أو الشركات من القدوم والعمل في سورية. رغم ذلك، فقد بدأنا وبدأت بعض الشركات الأجنبية بإيجاد طرق للالتفاف على هذه العقوبات، وقد بدأنا بالتخطيط. ستكون العملية بطيئة، لكن لولا العقوبات لما كان لدينا أي مشكلة في التمويل.

السؤال الثامن عشر:

أودُّ أن أختتم بسؤال شخصي جداً. سيادة الرئيس، هل تشعر بنفسك كناجٍ؟

الرئيس الأسد:

إذا أردت الحديث عن حرب وطنية كهذه، حيث تعرضت كل مدينة تقريباً للأضرار بسبب الإرهاب أو القصف الخارجي أو أشياء من هذا القبيل، عندها يمكنك اعتبار أن كل السوريين ناجون. لكن مرة أخرى أعتقد أن هذه هي الطبيعة البشرية، أن يسعى المرء للنجاة.

مداخلة:

وماذا عنك شخصيا؟

الرئيس الأسد:

أنا جزءٌ من هؤلاء السوريين، ولا يمكن أن أنفصل عنهم، ولديّ نفس المشاعر. مرة أخرى، الأمر لا يتعلق بأن تكون شخصاً قوياً ناجياً، لو لم يكن لديك هذا المناخ، هذا المجتمع، هذه الحاضنة -إذا جاز التعبير- للنجاة، فإنك لا تستطيعين النجاة. إنها عملية جماعية، ولا تقتصر على شخص واحد. إنها ليست عملاً فردياً.

الصحفية:

شكراً جزيلاً لكم، سيادة الرئيس.

الرئيس الأسد:

شكراً لكِ.

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Syria News: Terror Attacks, Call for OPCW Transparency

 

Syria Jarabulus car explosion Turkey terrorists in-fighting

Western colonial media currently wallows in the misery its politicians have brought to its populations while ignoring the misery it has brought to Syria. On the heels of British media erupting in righteous concern over the fate of ISIS terrorists in Syria, came the ISIS terror attack on London Bridge, complete with every imaginable quirks, including heroes with fire extinguishers and narwhal tusks, heroes in the form of a convicted murderer and a man walking from the scene carrying a clean knife.

Meanwhile, in Syria another car bomb was remotely detonated in downtown Ayn al-Arous south of Tal Abyad in Raqqa northern countryside, 30 November. The terrorist perpetrators are part of Erdogan’s mercenary gangs. SANA has reported no details, simply that at least 13 persons were killed or injured in the massive explosion.

Two children, ages 8 and 9, were murdered by a landmine while grazing sheep in the farmland of Hosh Nasri village in the Douma area of Eastern Ghouta. Landmines left behind — and frequently buried in farmland — by fleeing terrorists remains an ongoing problem. Despite an MoU signed by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) signed in July 2018, this group’s best work involves Agnes Marcaillou keeping impressive stats on death and dismemberment, reported to the Security Council on a somewhat regular basis.

Speaking of Douma, H.E. Bassam Sabbagh addressed the 24th conference of the State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in The Hague, 29 November and voiced his government’s concern over the recent leaked “contents of correspondences of a member of the fact finding mission to the Office of the Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)…which unveil that the OPCW report misrepresented some of the facts on the alleged Douma chemical attack in Damascus countryside” 7 April 2018, which “was used as a pretext for the United States, France and Britain to launch their tripartite military aggression” against the Syrian Arab Republic.

Envoy Sabbagh called for transparency, and noted that the three countries are currently trying to keep a blackout on the leaked report.

To explain in non-diplomatic protocol, the OPCW — corrupt since its ejection of Jose Bustani, per the demand of Dick Cheney via neocon John Bolton — lied in its report on the Douma chemical hoax, in order to allow the war criminal states of the US, UK, and France to maintain their cover story for their illicit, breach of international law, bombing of Syria, based on the lies of al Qaeda terrorists who occupied Douma at that time.

One need only have looked at the video and still photographs provided by the terrorists, dutifully reported by transatlantic NATO stenographer journalists, to know that there were no chemical weapons used, that the human garbage committed a massacre of mostly women and children, so that the criminal tripartite aggressors would bomb Syria, as they had bombed Syria one year earlier, for al Qaeda occupiers of Khan Sheikhoun.

One might also note the length of time between the investigations in Khan Sheikhoun and Douma, for the OPCW findings and also that investigators were too afraid of the various factions of al Qaeda in Khan Sheikhoun to enter, instead accepting fake evidence from the terrorists, and investigators on the ground in Douma, under the protection of the Syrian Arab Army.

Syria has begun participation in the meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), in Rome, to discuss means of combating terrorism in the region. This engagement may mean a breakthrough in return of normalized diplomatic relations between the countries; in February 2018, General Ali Mamlouk visited Rome to discuss security with top Italian officials, but this visit was not publicly acknowledged, by Italy.

SANA has announced a medical breakthrough by the neurosurgery team of the Ibn al-Nafis Hospital in Damascus, in using artificial bone created with 3D printing technology, to expand the cranium size of a patient. This was the first operation of this kind in the SAR.

Also on 30 November are reports of a Jarabulus car bomb detonation, along with its driver, euphemistically referred to as a “militant.” Jarabulus, Syria, has been under the occupation of Caliph wannabe Erdogan thugs, since late 2016.

Syria Jarabulus Turkey terrorists warlords fighting over bounties car bomb explosion
Erdogan’s terrorists killing each other in Jarabulus, Syria.

Erdogan’s warlords are fighting over bounties.

May they continue.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

— Miri Wood

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