Will Jordan get involved in the southern of Syria? هل يتورّط الأردن في جنوب سورية؟

Will Jordan get involved in the southern of Syria?

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It was not a coincidence that Daraa in the south of Syria was chosen to launch the fire ball, which became a world war on Syria, and it was not a coincidence the formation of the US operations room which is known by MOC in Jordan which organizes and trains the militants to fight in Syria, before Washington decided to be present directly under the cover of the fighting ISIS in the northern of Syria. The Syrian south forms the geopolitical entry to have control over the capital of Damascus and the Syrian borders with the Occupied Golan, which means what is related to the concept of the Israeli security which was and still the plea of the continuation of the war on terrorism.

All the attempts of organizing and assembling the militants to achieve the desired goals to threaten the security of the Syrian capital or to provide a real security belt for Israel have failed, despite the fact that the number of the armed groups became tens of thousands. It seems clear for the operations room of the war on Syria that what has not been achieved in the conditions of the rise of the armed groups and their progress will not be attainable in the conditions of their regression and the start of their decline despite the attempts of revival, either through the US strike at Al Shuairat Airport or through the threat to open the southern front under a Jordanian-Israeli-American- British partnership.

The Israelis who are supposed to be the owners of the main interest in forming the southern canton that is similar to the northern canton formed by both  the Americans and the Turks in the northern of Syria and was the farce of the Security belt sponsored by Moshe Ya’alon since he was the minister of the war, and nothing has left  of it but some Israeli bombs that were falling to protect A Nusra front in the depth of the Syrian south, and which are falling today near the border line, tried for several times to undermine the deterrence equations, but they were frustrated because these equations proved their stability, once on the day of their first raid on Quineitra and the martyrdom of Jihad Mughniyeh and the response in Shebaa’s farms, and in the two consecutive times for launching the Syrian missiles on their planes and their recognition that the equations change contrary to their interests.

The Saudis after getting the US approval tried to cover the presence of Al Nusra from the gate of Damascus’s invasion and the countryside of Hama, but their failure was abject, the victories of the Syrian army are still rolling. The Americans and the British people did not seem ready for more than sending special operations units under the slogan of war on ISIS, to entrust Jordan with a process to organize it and to cover the movement of the armed groups which were gathered and organized on the Syrian borders. It is an attempt to extract a part of the geography of the Syrian south under the title of safe areas for the Syrian immigrants as Turkey did, but the result will be the loss of Jordan and its falling into the trap that may lead to repercussions inside the borders and maybe in the capital. Syria today is different from yesterday and the international and the regional situation has changed radically. What is related to Israel has different considerations. So did the American and the British want to embroil Jordan in order to make the Jordanian territories a joint area that the units of ISIS which flee from Mosul and Raqqa across the Syrian and the Iraqi deserts can enter to?

 Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 


هل يتورّط الأردن في جنوب سورية؟

أبريل 25, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– لم يكن مجرد صدفة أن يقع الاختيار على درعا جنوب سورية لإطلاق كرة النار التي صارت حرباً عالمية على سورية، ولا من باب الصدفة أيضاً إنشاء غرفة عمليات أميركية عرفت بغرفة الموك في الأردن تتولى تنظيم وتدريب المسلحين للقتال في سورية، قبل أن تقرر واشنطن الانتشار المباشر تحت غطاء قتال داعش شمال سورية، فالجنوب السوري يشكل المدخل الجيوسياسي للإمساك بالعاصمة دمشق وبالحدود السورية مع الجولان المحتل، وبالتالي خط الاتصال بمفهوم الأمن «الإسرائيلي» الذي كان ولا يزال حذر مواصلة الحرب على سورية.

– فشلت كل محاولات تنظيم وتجميع المسلحين للدرجة التي تسمح بتحقيق الأهداف المرجوة بتهديد أمن العاصمة السورية، أو توفير حزام أمني حقيقي لـ«إسرائيل»، رغم بلوغ الجماعات المسلحة أرقاماً بعشرات الآلاف، ويبدو واضحاً لغرفة عمليات الحرب على سورية أن ما لم يتم تحقيقه في ظروف صعود الجماعات المسلحة وتقدمها، لن يكون بالمقدور تحقيقه في ظروف هبوطها وبدء انحدارها، رغم محاولات الإنعاش التي تلقتها سواء، بالضربة الأميركية لمطار الشعيرات، أو بالتهديد بفتح الجبهة الجنوبية بشراكة أردنية «إسرائيلية» أميركية بريطانية.

– حاول «الإسرائيليون» الذين يفترض أنهم صاحب المصلحة الرئيسية بتشكيل كانتون جنوبي يشبه الكانتون الشمالي الذي أنشأه كل من الأميركيين والأتراك شمال سورية، وكانت مهزلة الحزام الأمني الذي رعاه موشي يعالون منذ كان وزيراً للحرب، ولم يتبقّ منه إلا بضع قذائف إسرائيلية كانت تتساقط لحماية جبهة النصرة في عمق الجنوب السوري وصارت تتساقط اليوم قرب خط الحدود، وعندما حاول «الإسرائيليون» مرات كسر معادلات الردع أصيبوا بالإحباط لتكريسها وتثبيتها، يوم غارتهم الأولى على القنيطرة واستشهاد جهاد مغنية والردّ في مزارع شبعا، وفي المرتين المتتاليتين لإطلاق الصواريخ السورية على طائراتهم، واعترافهم بأن المعادلات تتغير بعكس مصالحهم.

– حاول السعوديون بعد الحصول على الموافقة الأميركية تغطية حضور النصرة من بوابة غزوة دمشق وريف حماة وكان الفشل الذريع، ولا تزال انتصارات الجيش السوري تتدحرج، ولا يبدو أن الأميركيين والبريطانيين مستعدون لأكثر من إرسال وحدات عمليات خاصة، تحت شعار الحرب على داعش، لإسناد عملية يريدون للأردن تولّي مهمة تنظيمها وتغطية حركة الجماعات المسلحة التي تمّ تجميعها وتنظيمها لعبة الحدود السورية، ومحاولة اقتطاع جزء من جغرافيا الجنوب السوري، والمشروع تحت عنوان المناطق الآمنة للنازحين السوريين كما فعلت تركيا، لكن النتيجة ستكون خسارة الأردن ووقوعه في فخ قد يؤدي لتداعيات داخل الحدود وربما في العاصمة، فسورية اليوم غير الأمس، والوضع الدولي والإقليمي تغيّرا جذرياً، وما يتصل بـ«إسرائيل» حساباته مختلفة، فهل يريد الأميركي والبريطاني توريط الأردن لجعل الأراضي الأردنية مشاعاً تدخله وحدات داعش الهاربة من الموصل والرقة عبر الباديتين السورية والعراقية؟

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A Tale of Two Cities: How Fake News in the War Against ISIS Distorts Your Perspective

MARCH 28, 2017 BY

2 Fake News Syria Iraq
Martin Jay
21st Century Wire

How influenced do you think you are by western media and its biased reporting in the Middle East? Here’s a simple test. When you think of Aleppo in December being taken by Syria’s army, does the word “fallen” feature in your lexicon? Did Berlin also “fall” when in 1945 allied troops took its western flank in the last days of World War II? I’m sure, like most, you would think of Berlin being “liberated” as it was until that point controlled by an evil, fascist regime. So how did Aleppo “fall” for you? Are you also thinking about Mosul in Iraq being “liberated” soon by Iraqi forces with their US allies by their sides?

The gargantuan difference between how the two battles are reported on is not about military strategy or its battlefield logic, but media bias and in particular how western journalists of mainstream media are still stuck in a Cold War mindset when reporting on the Middle East. It’s as though Russia and its allies (Iran, Syria and Hezbollah) are on one side and the west the other and, if the situation is confusing, then falling back on the old east-west clichés will suffice for most readers who read all of the big titles who all used the word “fall” when Syrian regime forces kicked out extremists groups from the old city in December and restored public services and reconstruction.

Leading up to the old city being retaken by government forces last year, many western journalists were embedded with opposition groups in and around the old city. Typically many would cling to activist-type groups or with ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition fighters like the FSA. And it’s this ‘embedding’ which is at the heart of the malaise of poor journalism in Syria and Iraq and biased reporting. To really understand the embedding process and what its derivatives are though, you have to go back to the 60s.

In Vietnam, the US administration gave journalists an entirely free hand in the stories they wished to pursue and granted journalists the support of the military. There were no spin doctors or consultants hiding in the shadows and manipulating the fourth estate. Some of the bigger guns in the newsroom used to literally run out and jump into Huey helicopters and tell pilots where they wanted to go. The result was an unrivalled victory for reporting and serving the public’s needs for relevant information, holding the US government to account for its errors and more devious ploys often with civilians the main victims. But it was a cataclysmic disaster for the US administration which was losing the war on two fronts: both in the battlefield and also with hearts and minds of everyday folk back home.

Fast forward to Gulf War I in 1992 where ‘embedding’  US journalists on the front line of the ‘battle’ for Kuwait and we see a dichotomy of strategy which is to form the very basis of the unparalleled sloppy and entirely biased reporting from mainstream media today – which I would argue has fuelled citizen journalism via Twitter, which has taken from MSM much of their audience base. The first and second Gulf wars set a new precedent which was largely unchallenged by readers and viewers: that the biased ‘call centre journalism’ which you get from a journalist in a US military camp and who is being spoon fed so-called ‘facts’ could be overlooked for the sensational, ‘live’ reporting from the front line in a new, 24 hour news cycle.

But with the roll out of the internet, time has not been kind to this paradigm which is now feeding what we are now calling ‘fake news’.

In the second Gulf War in particular, the very early hard core Sunni extremists which were formed in cities in Iraq where Saddam Hussein had his loyalist base, learnt very quickly that US journalists were entirely biased and often wrote totally incorrect reports about the war in Iraq. A precedent was forged in their minds: the journalists are merely propaganda agents and not at all what Hollywood had portrayed them as. They never contact us to even get our comment or viewpoint on a given news subject and, as a consequence, are prone to making more and more innocuous errors, or even sometimes deliberate ones.

And the same precedent was set for autocratic governments who were happy to set up news websites which were entirely biased as a new generation of young journalists was emerging who knew no better anyway.

SYRIA
AFTERMATH: Large sections Aleppo were destroyed from 5 years of fighting (Photo: Vanessa Beeley @21WIRE)

In Aleppo most journalists are vexed by their proximity to opposition fighters and the fact that they know they are being led to breaking stories which portray the Assad regime and its allies as war criminals. They also know that some false information must be being fed their way and that more balanced stories about what those rebels are doing are not getting covered. But the opportunity to even give a ‘right to reply’ to the other side (the regime) is simply not there because of this polarization from the second Gulf War – and which I witnessed first hand in Afghanistan in 2008 where NATO spin doctors were distinctly unhelpful to me when I refused an ‘embed’ while reporting for Euronews.

The responsibility for any such ‘response’ from the Assad “regime” as western journalists can’t help calling it should be with the news desks in Beirut or Washington. But I don’t see that happening.

Consequently we are seeing a vastly misreported war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In Aleppo, many of the western journalists – by being with so-called rebels in the north and entering the region illegally are, by default, never going to enter the regime side officially as they are too afraid of being arrested and dying in a Syrian gaol. Subsequently, they have signed their pact with the devil and their copy reflects a deep bias. If a regime won’t even let me have a journalist visa to visit the capital one day, then all of the appalling things I am told about human rights violations and torture must be correct, is the mindset.

This mindset is apparent in the reporting. Journalists camped in Aleppo all used the word “fall” when the city was captured by Syrian army forces. And previous that moment, their reports were also tilted against Assad and his allies. An extraordinary amount of coverage was given to reports of civilian casualties from Russian bombing and the rescuing of victims trapped under rubble by the so-called White Helmets who even the most naive hack in Aleppo knows are opposition fighters on alternate days. Low hanging fruit? Possibly, as these stories write themselves. But the vocabulary is key and the Russians are always portrayed as an evil empire wishing to conquer humble, innocent people. But it is seldom reported that opposition groups in the region also had a lot of support from Aleppo residents, certainly at the beginning of the war back in 2011.

It’s an identical story in Mosul, but the boot is on the other foot.

With the battle to retake the city, western journalists seem reluctant to report on the civilian casualties leaving only the Russian network RT to do this.

Until just recently, when US bombing appear to have killed over 140 in one day in Mosul, journalists – American journalists in particular – seem to almost bypass the subject altogether while their colleagues in Aleppo were obsessed with it, when it was Russian planes dropping the bombs. What we are seeing in Aleppo is a slick American PR machine with the unwritten rules being quite rigorously applied and no one reporting on the real agenda Trump has there. Journalists are keen to write up the stories which paint the US operation as a liberation, almost a noble quest to save the world from the evil of ISIS. The constant accounts which are largely favourable to the ‘liberators’ win prizes for those hacks: special access to scoops.

But is the West getting all the information about the hideous brutality of the campaign with what could be the largest humanitarian disaster to date in the region? Unlikely. Journalists who feature this will be sidelined by US generals, just in exactly the same way I was in Afghanistan.

What we should be asking ourselves is in this environment of biased reporting, are we not encouraging a parallel of fake news to be fed into the system? The temptation from those peddling fake news is too great when they see how vulnerable journalists are to being manipulated. It’s a similar narrative with the celebrity bloggers who are given the bandwidth as bona fide journalists, like former British UK Louise Mensch who has set herself up as a conspiracy theorist recently claiming that President Putin was responsible for the murder of the Breibart founder – without a single shred of evidence to back up her assertions.

The push for Raqqa is expected to kick off in May. There will not be much reporting on civilian causalities or the atrocities expected to be carried out by the various groups who have been given their lottery tickets. Again, it will be one-sided reporting from embedded journalists who will be anxious to please their hosts and will be happy to be led to what they want them to see.

But it’s worse than that. In this atmosphere of cash strapped media giants who are scrambling to ‘break news’ many take short cuts with dire consequences. I have written about my comical experience in the past with CNN, where I was ordered by a loud mouthed producer to “sex up” a report (which I refused to do) and we all know of the incident where the US cable giant was stung in Syria by an activist paid by opposition groups to feed the US network with fake news.

But when you look at how many big guns in the news sector get their raw material you begin to wonder if anything we are reading from the Syrian battlefield has any resemblance to facts. Recently a bombing carried out by US forces in Idlib, Syria killed 42 civilians praying in a mosque and was reported by the giants of the MSM as from Russian planes. These agencies all cited an anti-Assad one man outfit based in the UK which is funded by the EU and has a very distinct agenda to report biased facts which please its masters in Brussels. After hours passed many corrected their initial reports but the incident is a good example which can he held up to demonstrate how sloppy and biased MSM is when most of its ‘facts’ are being reprinted verbatim from a propaganda outfit which is fed entirely by activists from the Syrian opposition.

You couldn’t make it up.

***
Journalist Martin Jay recently won the U.N.’s prestigious Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize (UNCA) in New York in 2016, for his journalism work in the Middle East. He is based in Beirut and can be followed at @MartinRJay.

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

Which “War Torn” Country? – U.S. Slaughter In Somalia, Yemen And Syria

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biggeroriginal tweet

When I saw the above tweet this morning I wondered which “war torn” country those Somalis were fleeing from when they were murdered. The tweet doesn’t say. Were they fleeing from the “war torn” Somalia? Or were the fleeing from “war torn” Yemen?

It is a sad world when has to ponder such.

It tuned out these people were fleeing from both wars:

Coast guard Mohammad Al Alay told Reuters the refugees, carrying official UNHCR documents, were on their way from Yemen to Sudan when they were attacked by an Apache helicopter near the Bab Al Mandeb strait.

An Apache attack helicopter shot up the refugees’ boat. There are Saudi, United Emirati and U.S. Apache helicopters in or around Yemen. It is unknown which of them ordered and which executed the strike. These helicopters, their ammunition and the service for them are a favored U.S. export to belligerent dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.

The UN warns that 5 million people in Yemen are only weeks away from starving. The Saudis, the U.S. and the Emirates block all land routes, air ports and the coast of Yemen and no food supplies come through. This is an ongoing huge war crime and literally a genocide. But “western” media seem totally unimpressed. Few, if any, reports on the war on Yemen get published. Never have they so openly displayed their hypocrisy.

Somalia is falling back into an all-out civil war fueled by the decades old unwillingness of the U.S. to condone an independent local unity government. The Islamic Court Union, a unity government created by the Somalis in 2006, was the last working instance of a real Somali state. It had no Jihadist agenda and held down local warlords. It was destroyed by the Bush administration:

A UN cable from June 2006, containing notes of a meeting with senior State Department and US military officials from the Horn of Africa task force, indicates that the United States was aware of the ICU’s diversity, but would “not allow” it to rule Somalia. The United States, according to the notes, intended to “rally with Ethiopia if the ‘Jihadist’ took over.” The cable concluded, “Any Ethiopian action in Somalia would have Washington’s blessing.” Some within the US intelligence community called for dialogue or reconciliation, but their voices were drowned out by hawks determined to overthrow the ICU.

During the last 10 years an on-and-off war is waged in Somalia with the U.S. military interfering whenever peace seems to gain ground. Currently a new round of war is building up. Weapons are streaming into Somalia from Yemen, where the Houthi plunder them from their Saudi invaders:

Jonah Leff, a weapons tracing expert with conflict Armament Research, said many [Somali] pirates had turned to smuggling. They take boatloads of people [from Somalia] to Yemen and return with weapons, he said.

The wars on Somalia and Yemen are the consequences of unscrupulous and incompetent(?) U.S. foreign policy. (Cutting down the size of the U.S. State Department, as the Trump administration now plans to do, is probably the best thing one can do for world peace.)

The U.S. military should be cut down too. It is equally unscrupulous and incompetent.

Last night the U.S. military hit a mosque in Al-Jīnah in Aleppo governate in Syria. It first claimed that the strike, allegedly targeting a large meeting of al-Qaeda, was in Idleb governate. But it turned out to be miles away west of Aleppo. Locals said a mosque was hit, the roof crashed in and more than 40 people were killed during the regular prayer service. More than 120 were injured. The U.S. military said it did not hit the local mosque but a building on the other side of the small plaza.

The U.S. maps and intelligence were not up-to-date. A new, bigger mosque had been build some years ago opposite of the old mosque. The old mosque was indeed not hit. The new one was destroyed while some 200 people were in attendance. Eight hellfire missiles launched from two Reaper drones were fired at it and a 500lb bomb was then dropped on top to make sure that no one escaped alive. Al-Qaeda fighters were indeed “meeting” at that place – five times a day and together with the locals they have pressed by force to attend the Quran proscribed prayers.

Had the Russian or Syrian army committed the strike the “western” outcry would have been great. For days the media would have provide gruesome photos and stories. The U.S. ambassador at the UN would have spewed fire and brimstone. But this intelligence screw-up happened on the U.S. side. There will now be some mealymouthed explanations and an official military investigation that will find no fault and will have no consequences.

Amid this sorry incident it was amusing to see the propaganda entities the U.S. had created to blame the Syrian government turning against itself. The MI6 operated SOHR was the first to come out with a high death count. The al-Qaeda aligned, U.S./UK financed “White Helmets” rescuers made a quick photo session pretending to dig out the dead. The sectarian al-Qaeda video propagandist Bilal Abdul Kareem, which the New York Times recently portrait in a positive light, provided damning video and accusing comments. The amateur NATO researchers at Bellingcat published what they had gleaned from maps, photos and videos other people created. The NATO think tank, which defended al-Qaeda’s invasion of Idleb, will shed crocodile tears.

Each new lie and obfuscation the U.S. Central Command in the Middle East put out throughout the day was immediately debunked by the horde of U.S. financed al-Qaeda propaganda supporters. This blowback from the “information operation” against Syria will likely have consequences for future U.S. operations.

In another operation last night the Israeli air force attacked Syrian forces near Palmyra which were operating against ISIS. The Israeli fighters were chased away when the Syrians fired air defense missiles. This was an Israeli attempt to stretch the “rules of operation” it had negotiated with the Russian military in Syria. The Russians, which control the Syrian air space, had allowed Israel to hit Hizbullah weapon transports on their way to Lebanon. Attacks on any force operating against Jihadis in Syria are taboo. The Russian government summoned the Israeli ambassador. Netanyahoo broke the rules. He will now have to bear the consequences.

Posted by b at 03:42 PM

U.S. Representative: “For years, our government has been providing support to armed groups working under the command of terrorists like Al-Qaeda and ISIS”

To help refugees, stop arming terrorists – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Published time: 1 Mar, 2017 23:05

Edited time: 2 Mar, 2017 11:06

To help refugees, stop arming terrorists – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Representative Tulsi Gabbard called again for the US to stop aiding terrorists like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, while her guest at the presidential address to Congress, a Kurdish refugee activist, called for an end to the US policy of “regime change in Syria.”

While many Democrats invited immigrants as their guests for President Donald Trump’s speech to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, hosted Tima Kurdi, whose 3-year-old nephew drowned on the shores of Turkey in September 2015. Photos of Alan Kurdi’s body quickly became the symbol of Syrian refugees’ plight – and led the US to step up efforts to overthrow the Syrian government, actually magnifying their suffering.

On Wednesday, Tima Kurdi joined Gabbard at a press conference on Capitol Hill and called on Trump “to end the regime change in Syria.”

“The most important question is, how do we address the cause of these people fleeing their homes,” said Gabbard, pointing to the bill she submitted in this session of Congress. Her “Stop Arming Terrorists Act,” or HR 608, would ban the use of US taxpayers’ funds to aid terrorist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda or Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

“For years, our government has been providing both direct and indirect support to these armed militant groups, who are working directly with or under the command of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, all in their effort and fight to overthrow the Syrian government,” Gabbard told RT.

Gabbard traveled to Syria in January on a fact-finding mission, meeting with President Bashar Assad. She also visited Aleppo, liberated in December from Islamist rebels led by Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham, a re-branded Al-Qaeda affiliate formerly known as Jabhat Al-Nusra.

The Pentagon’s $500 million effort to train and equip “moderate” Syrian rebels to fight against IS and Damascus met with disaster in 2015, as the majority of the fighters either surrendered or defected to Al-Nusra, with all of their US-funded weaponry. In the end, the program produced only “five or six” trainees, to the consternation of Congress.

With that fiasco in mind, Gabbard propose the first draft of her bill in December 2016. Her subsequent trip to Syria was met with outrage from the US foreign policy establishment and in the mainstream media, who denounced her as “Assad’s mouthpiece.”

Representative Tom Garrett (R-Virginia), a US Army veteran, spoke out in support of HR 608 and said that the goal of US policy in Syria should be peace.

“Tulsi understands that arming the so-called ‘rebels’ in Syria has only led to more bloodshed, more suffering, and created more refugees,” Tima Kurdi said in a statement on Tuesday. “A military solution in Syria is not the answer. I hope that President Trump will stop arming terrorists and commit to a political solution in Syria—it is the only way to restore peace.”

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A Look at Syria Following Nearly Six Years of Crisis

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(photo by Omar Sanadiki – © REUTERS)

As the Syrian crisis approaches its 6th anniversary, we take a look at some of the Syrian government’s social, political and economic policies. This will not only give an insight into what life has been like in Syria, but it also provides an indication of what values and principles are important to the Syrian government.

Generally speaking, President Bashar al-Assad, and his late father, Hafez al-Assad operated a secular state, allowing all religions to be practised across Syria. The government itself is made up of a range of different religions, although Islam is the state religion.

A government soldier with the Syrian flag

Access to education has been a championed value in Syria for several decades, with free education being provided by the government, even at universities (although there are some private alternatives available.)

Despite the raging conflict, most schools and academic institutions continue to function in government-held areas. However, the war has displaced millions internally, and in the vast majority of cases, they have moved from areas held by Daesh or other militant groups, to areas under the sanctuary of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allied forces.

This has put a strain on facilities, including schools and universities, and many of them are now operating well-above their standard capacity. For example, more than 200,000 students currently study at Damascus University, as it has accepted displaced students from across Syria.

Damascus University, which was founded in 1923, is Syria’s largest and oldest university, and until now, it offers a variety of courses, ranging from Medicine to Engineering.

The war and economic sanctions on Syria’s economy have resulted in a sharp decrease in national GDP, whilst also triggering high levels of price inflation. This has dragged many Syrians into poverty, making basic goods unaffordable. To reduce the financial strain on many Syrians, some schools no longer require students to wear uniforms, as this would be an unnecessary additional cost.

In mid-2010, Syria became the first Muslim country ban the burka and niqab. Specifically, they were banned at public and private universities. The ban was implemented to counter oppression against women, and combat radical Islam. The Daily Mail interviewed a 32-year-old Syrian engineer, named Ahmed, who said: “Hijabs and niqabs have been a symbol of oppression and religious extremism over the past hundreds of years. They have been a tool used by fundamentalist men to repress women.”

The Syrian government, especially when it was led by Hafez al-Assad, decided to preserve Syria’s natural resources for future generations, as opposed to exploiting it for financial gain. This policy may no longer be followed in a post-war context, as Syria looks to rebuild itself, and bolster the economy.

In terms of immigration policy, Syria allowed millions of Palestinians and Iraqis to settle in the country over the past few decades. Very few Syrians permanently left the country, and in most cases, they would travel to Europe for educational purposes, typically funded by the government.

Defending and liberating Palestine is a core Baathist policy, and Syria went to war with Israel on several occasions, eventually leading to the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, located in Southern Syria.

However, Syria adopted a pragmatic approach, militarily intervening in Lebanon against the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the early 1980s, because PLO forces were massacring Lebanese Maronite Christians. Once again, this further reinforces their commitment to secularism.

Access to healthcare was another core value and policy. According to an article published in the Independent, Syria’s pre-war healthcare system was “the envy of the Middle East,” and the country had a life-expectancy of 75, similar to the UK.

Russian doctors provide consultations to residents of Kaukab, Syria during the distribution of Russian humanitarian aid. (File)

Syria’s pharmaceutical industry was drastically improved and developed over the past few decades, with the successful implementation of Good Manufacturing Practise (GMP), allowing Syria to export its pharmaceuticals to more than 50 countries, while also meeting around 90% of domestic demand for medicaments.

When you look at some the Syrian government’s policies, it is easy to see why President Assad still enjoys support from millions of Syrians.

It is impossible to tell exactly how things will develop once the conflict reaches its conclusion, but we can expect secularism, and access to education and healthcare to continue being the cornerstones of the current government’s policies.


SOURCES:
Sputnik News, by Suliman Mulhem
Submitted by SyrianPatriot
War Press Info Network at :
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/6-years-crisis/
~

Aoun: who have changed? You or I? عون: مَنْ الذي تغيّر؟ أنا أم أنتم؟

Aoun: who have changed? You or I?

فبراير 20, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

After hundred days in the era of the General the President Michael Aoun we recall the debates of the few days that preceded his election, accompanied with questions about the content of the implicit agreement that was included in the understanding with Al Mustaqbal Movement to nominate the General Aoun as the President of the Republic, that understanding was preceded by a similar understanding between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces. The media campaign which was organized by Al Mustaqbal and the Forces together has succeeded by the suggestion to indicate to the presence of guarantees that they got from the General Aoun in exchange of nominating him for the presidency of the Republic, these guarantees affect his previous positions especially the parliamentary elections law and the understanding on keeping the law of sixty that will lead to a new consideration of the balances of interior and repositioning of the Free Patriotic Party within them in new alliances on one hand, and the dealing of the Movement and its leader after the arrival to presidency with the regional issues especially the weapons of the resistance, the relationship with Syria, and the position toward the war which targets it, along with the surrounding alliances of this war on the other hand.

The General Aoun kept silent toward this campaign, smiling when he is asked and just saying that he is not among those who hold understandings indirectly, and that he is not from those who pay costs for the positions. Those who accepted him for the presidency of the Republic have embraced Michael Aoun for his biography and positions. The inauguration speech which was the first position through which the General Aoun has emerged as a President was an occasion to express his commitments that are not in conformity with the campaign of the Al Mustaqbal Movement and the Lebanese Forces, either in his pledge to hold the parliamentary elections under a new law or in his expression that “ it is a pre-emptive war on the terrorism” or “ to confront the Israeli threat with everything possible  including “ we will not reserve resistance” but those who launched the campaign went out with interpretations for these positions, trying to change their content and to play with words  and to talk about the difference between (resistance and the resistance), however, once again the success was relatively to the launchers of the campaign, benefitting from the interpretations and the meanings that they granted to the visit of the General the President to Riyadh, talking about what may be the secrets, but the inquires about the validity of what the people of Al Mustaqbal Movement and the Lebanese Forces claim become wider.

During the last days, the General the President has reached in his commitment to the new election law to the extent of going to the choice of vacancy if he is obliged to choose between the law of sixty and the extension, so the Minister of Interior Nuhad Al Mashnouk has threatened of the loss of the era due to the internal and external consensus, then the President responded in a decisive way  to those who claim the injustice of the relative system toward them and toward their communities to stop the political indulgence and to behave rationally as the senior and the officials, and to refute the backgrounds of those who refuse the relativity through their desire to have seats for their sect and for the other sects by the force of the hegemony and the bullying. On the eve of his visit to Cairo the General the President talked clearly and frankly about the resistance weapons and about Syria as well as the Lebanese-Syrian relationship as he used to talk before he became a president, but in the language of presidency and its responsibility, so all the lies and the falsity of allegations and the claimers were revealed.

Those who fabricated the lie hastened to deal with the speech of the President as if they were without their consciousness and wanted to behold him the responsibility for the regression of promises that they have created, fabricated, and dreamt of. So they did not find what to say about the lie of promises but only to say that this speech is not acceptable from the President of the Republic, as if their tongues were tightened when they met him before giving him their electoral votes, did not say that it does not suit us to maintain on your speech after you become a president. The prevention of saying that before, was enough to accept him implicitly, and to make their criticism today a cowardice, weakness, and silliness, you have given your vote to the presidency of the Republic for a man whose his positions are declared and whose his options are known, after you were for two years and a half refraining from voting due to these positions, finally you accepted him as a president but you did not negotiate him to change his options, because you know that he will not change them, you gave him your votes because he is your only gateway to return back to the rule, so what is that hypocrisy which is behind your criticism today?

Some of the allies who were skeptical are involved today to say to the General the President we were unjust toward you.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

عون: مَنْ الذي تغيّر؟ أنا أم أنتم؟

فبراير 14, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– نستعيد مع الأيام المئة التي مرّت من عهد الرئيس العماد ميشال عون، النقاشات التي أحاطت الأيام القليلة التي سبقت انتخابه، وما رافقها من تساؤلات حول مضمون اتفاق ضمني تضمّنه التفاهم على سير تيار المستقبل بانتخاب العماد عون رئيساً للجمهورية، بعدما كان قد سبقه تفاهم مشابه بين التيار الوطني الحر والقوات اللبنانية. وقد نجحت الحملة الإعلامية التي نظمها المستقبل والقوات معاً بالإيحاء بوجود ضمانات حصلا عليها من العماد عون لقاء السير به لرئاسة الجمهورية تطال مواقفه السابقة، خصوصاً لجهة قانون الانتخابات النيابية والتفاهم على بقاء قانون الستين وما يرتّبه هذا التفاهم من نظرة جديدة لتوازنات الداخل وتموضع التيار ضمنها في تحالفات جديدة  من جهة، وتعامل التيار وزعيمه بعد الوصول لرئاسة الجمهورية مع القضايا الإقليمية، خصوصاً سلاح المقاومة والعلاقة مع سوريا والموقف من الحرب التي تستهدفها والتحالفات المحيطة بهذه الحرب من جهة أخرى.

– بقي العماد عون ملتزماً الصمت تجاه هذه الحملة يبتسم عندما يسأل، ويكتفي بالقول إنه ليس من الذين يجرون تفاهمات تحت الطاولة، وإنه ليس من الذين يدفعون أثماناً للمناصب والمواقع، وإن من ارتضاه لرئاسة الجمهورية فقد ارتضى ميشال عون الذي يعرفه بتاريخه ومواقفه. وكان خطاب القسم أولى المحطات التي أطلّ عبرها العماد عون من موقعه كرئيس في اللحظة الأولى، مناسبة لإطلاق التزامات لا تنسجم مع الحملة القواتية المستقبلية، سواء بتعهّده إجراء الانتخابات النيابية وفقاً لقانون جديد، أو لجهة إشاراته لـ«حرب وقائية على الإرهاب» أو لمواجهة الخطر «الإسرائيلي» بكل ما توفر بما في ذلك «لن ندّخر مقاومة»، لكن أصحاب الحملة خرجوا بتأويلات لهذه المواقف تحاول إفراغها من مضمونها والتلاعب بالكلمات والحديث عن الفرق بين مقاومة والمقاومة، وأل التعريف بينهما، ومرة أخرى كان النجاح نسبياً لأهل الحملة مستفيدين من تأويلات ومعانٍ منحوها لزيارة العماد الرئيس إلى الرياض والحديث عما دار فيها من «أسرار»، لكن التساؤلات حول صحة ما يدّعيه اهل المستقبل والقوات تكبر.

– خلال الأيام الأخيرة بلغ الرئيس العماد في التزامه بقانون انتخاب جديد حدّ المجاهرة بالذهاب إلى خيار الفراغ، إذا أُجبر على الاختيار بين قانون الستين والتمديد، فخرج وزير الداخلية المستقبلي نهاد المشنوق يهدّد بخسارة العهد للإجماع الداخلي والخارجي، وبعدها ردّ الرئيس على مدّعي ظلم النظام النسبي لهم ولطوائفهم بلغة حازمة تدعو لإنهاء الدلع السياسي والتصرّف برشد الكبار والمسؤولين، وتفند خلفيات رافضي النسبية برغبتهم بالسطو على مقاعد تستحقّ لأبناء طوائفهم وأخرى لطوائف أخرى، بقوة التسلط والبلطجة. وعشية زيارته للقاهرة تحدث العماد الرئيس بوضوح وصراحة عن سلاح المقاومة وعن سورية وعن العلاقة اللبنانية السورية، كما كان يتحدث قبل أن يصير رئيساً، لكن بلغة الرئاسة ومسؤوليتها، فسقطت كل الأكاذيب وانكشف زيف الإدعاءات والمدعين.

– هرع أصحاب الكذبة بلسان صقورهم لتناول كلام الرئيس وقد صدّقوا كذبتهم، كأنهم بلاوعيهم يريدون محاسبته على تراجع عن وعود هم قاموا بفبركتها وتأليفها أو حلموا بها، فلا يجدون ما يقولونه عن كذبة الوعود، إلا أن هذا الكلام غير مقبول من رئيس للجمهورية، وكأن ألسنتهم كانت مربوطة يوم التقوه قبل أن يمنحوه تصويتهم الانتخابي ليقولوا له يومها لا يناسبنا أن تبقى على خطابك المعهود بعد أن تصبح رئيساً، وعدم القول وقتها كافٍ ليكون قبولاً ضمنياً به، ولجعل انتقاداتهم اليوم جبناً وضعفاً وسخافة، فأنتم منحتم تصويتكم لرئاسة الجمهورية لرجل معلن المواقف ومعلوم الخيارات، بعدما بقيتم سنتين ونصفاً تحجبون عنه تصويتكم بداعي هذه المواقف، وجئتم أخيراً وقبلتم به رئيساً ولم تفاوضوه على تغيير خياراته، لأنكم تعلمون أنه لن يغيّرها، ومنحتموه تصويتكم لأنه بوابتكم الوحيدة للعودة للحكم، فأي نفاق يقف وراء انتقاداتكم اليوم؟

– بعض الحلفاء الذين ساورتهم الشكوك معنيون اليوم، بالقول للعماد الرئيس: لقد ظلمناك.

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Sayyed Nasrallah: Hizbullah Strongly Supports Syria Cease-fire, Trump A Fool who Unveiled US Real Face

Zeinab Essa

Hizbullah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announced Sunday that the resistance supports and welcomes any ceasefire in Syria.

In a speech commemorating the late Hizbullah Central Council official, Sheikh HusseiSayyed Nasrallah: Hizbullah Strongly Supports Syria Cease-fire, Trump A Fool who Unveiled US Real Facen Obeid, His Eminence highlighted that his party backs any ceasefire agreement in Syria because it’s with any measure that ends the bloodshed and gives an opportunity to political solutions and national reconciliations.

He further denounced some Arab media outlets that have been falsely accusing Hizbullah of rejecting Syria ceasefire concluded in Astana talks.

In this context, His Eminence said: “Hizbullah and Iran support the ceasefire, the reconciliation, and the political settlement in Syria, while some Arab states are still backing the military option.”
“We are keen on addressing some pressing humanitarian crises, on top of which is that of Foua, Kafraya, Madaya and other towns,” Sayyed Nasrallah stated.

Rejecting all fabricated reports regarding Hizbullah’s alleged plan to bring about demographic changes to the Syrian front, His Eminence clearly denied the accusations raised by those who claim that Hizbullah and the Syrian government seek demographic change across the Syrian cities.

“Let Muslim, Arab and independent delegations visit Syria to verify that there are no demographic changes… These lies are aimed at sectarian incitement,” the Resistance Leader cautioned.

In parallel, he pointed out that “Aleppo’s victory greatly contributed greatly to the reconciliations and political settlements in Syria.”

According to His Eminence, the recent military victories have turned vast areas of Syria into safe regions.

“The whole world came after six years of fighting, to confront the sides that we started to,” he added, noting that “the path in Syria took another turn thanks to the steadfastness of the Syrian leadership, the Syrian army and the people and all those who refused to submit to the Takfiri terrorism.”

Moving to the Lebanese front from the Syrian one, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that “The file of Syrian refugees is not a sectarian file but rather a file that is putting pressure on Lebanon.”

Moreover, he urged the Lebanese to carry their responsibility and to deal with the issue of refugees in a humanitarian manner, regardless of fears or political affiliations. “Should we keep begging for international aid or should we cooperate to return most refugees to their towns, villages, cities and homes?” His Eminence wondered.

On this level, Sayyed Nasrallah elaborated: “We will be told that these people fear to return out of concern over the regime’s vengeance and I tell them that they can go to Syria to live in security and safety.”

As he called for cooperation toward repatriating Syrian refugees back to their homeland, His Eminence urged the Lebanese government to send a delegation that would evaluate the outcome of reconciliations in Syria.

“It is the responsibility of the Lebanese government and Lebanese political forces to convince these refugees to accept to go back to their cities and villages in Syria,” Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized.

In addition he announced Hizbullah’s readiness to “serve the Lebanese state” and contact the Syrian authorities on the matter.”

“It’s our duty to deal with the case of the refugees in a humanitarian, rather than political manner,” he said.

Urging the Lebanese government and political forces to end their stubbornness and to initiate dialogue with the Syrian government over this file, Sayyed Nasrallah raised the following question:
“Why do you talk with the countries that created Daesh and al-Nusra Front and you don’t talk with the Syrian government to address a humanitarian file of this importance?”

On another aspect, Sayyed Nasrallah tackled the Lebanese electoral law, reiterating Hizbullah’s support for a new electoral law based on proportionality.

“All sides are talking about a fair electoral law that allows all sides to represent in the Parliament and doesn’t eliminate anyone,” he highlighted.

He further expressed Hizbullah’s support for proportionality because it’s keen to preserve the rights of all sects, parties and minorities.

His Eminence went on to say that the current 1960 majoritarian vote law is equal to a cancellation system.

“We have a serious desire to block any new extension and to hold elections on time,” Sayyed Nasrallah declared, noting that the winner-takes-all electoral system is an exclusionary law and proportional representation does not eliminate the Druze community or the Future party.

“I say that proportional representation does not eliminate the Druze community, the Progressive Social Party or the Future, it rather reflects the true political weight of each party.”

His Eminence warned against wasting more time in talks over the electoral system.
“Stop wasting time. We should not shut the door. If we reached the deadline, we will be moving into the unknown,” he said, repeating Hizbullah’s openness to dialogue.

On the security level, particularly with respect to the Bekaa region, Sayyed Nasrallah renewed the call again to the Lebanese state to effectively hold its responsibility for the security situation in the Bekaa.

He also called on the Lebanese Army and the security services to deal with the security problems in the Bekaa within the limits of the law, adding that “security is not only the responsibility of the state only but it is a social responsibility also.”

“The matter doesn’t only relate to security but targets the dignity of the people,” His Eminence said.

He praised cooperation between security agencies and the Lebanese Army, calling on the public to avoid moves that would put stability at risk.

“Stability is a bless which the Lebanese must hold and do not waste,” he said.

On the general budget, Sayyed Nasrallah renewed Hizbullah’s firm refusal “of approving any new taxes or fees on poor Lebanese families.”

“Instead of taxes, end embezzlement, corruption, wasting money and unauthorized spending,” he said, noting that a courageous political decision should be taken to cut down unnecessary spending.

Commenting on the new threats posed by the new US President, Donald Trump, Sayyed Nasrallah undermined the impact of the new administration on the region.

“Trump merely set aside hypocrisy and revealed the true and ugly face of the unjust, criminal and racist US administration,” he stated, pointing out that Hizbullah is not worried, but optimistic, for [he] who is residing in the White House is a fool.

His Eminence also said “this is the beginning of our relief. The victory that has been achieved in 1985, in 2000 and 2006 and is being scored in Syria and Iraq will be achieved in Yemen.”

“Neither Trump nor George W. Bush and all those racists will touchthe courage, the will or the faith of a child of our children as well as our men and our elders.”

Source: al-Ahed news

12-02-2017 | 21:44

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