ALEPPO CITY’S COUNTRYSIDE FULLY SECURED, SYRIANS IN ALEPPO CELEBRATE THE END OF TERRORISM

Ibrahim Mohammadon Sunday

For the first time since 19-07-2012
#Aleppo city is free of terrorism

#Syriab_Arab_Army 🇸🇾✌🏻💪🏻❤️

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In December 2016, the Syrian Arab Army, Russia & allies liberated the northern Syrian city of Aleppo of the al-Qaeda and equally-heinous terrorists who had occupied and terrorized civilians in the city since 2012.

In the years subsequent, Aleppo to a large degree returned to peace, with rebuilding occurring in the hard-hit Old City, with displaced Syrians returning (contrary to the lies of UK Channel 4, among other war propagandizing media).

Yet, civilians since that Aleppo’s liberation continued to be terrorized by the presence of terrorists in the countryside of Aleppo.

Last year (January 2019), visiting Aleppo, I returned to the Lairamoun industrial district in the city’s west. I had been there in November 2016, had seen the nightmarish underground prison of the Free Syrian Army, used to hold Syrian soldiers and civilians alike, a true dungeon replete with suffocating solitary confinement cells.

In January 2019, I went to a factory 500 metres from al-Qaeda snipers. Aleppo MP Fares Shehabi explained to me how the factory owner and workers defied the existence of terrorists at close proximity and re-opened the textile factory.  As he spoke, he took me to a door which, when opening, exposed us to potential sniper fire–the sniper fire the courageous factory workers were exposed to.

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Al-Qaeda stronghold near Lairamoun, Aleppo, 400 to 500 metres from textile factory

Shehabi’s powerful words include:

“This factory is on a front line in the war against terror. 400 to 500 metres away, the Tajik Brigades of the Islamic Turkistan Army, a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria.

This factory was rubble two years ago. We rehabilitated it. We are doing this as a message of defiance against all who conspired against the people of Aleppo, against the economy of Syria. The enemy was sniping at us , launching mortars, when we were fixing this factory to work again.

Show me one place in the world with a production situation like this, a factory being rehabilitated under these circumstances.

This is why they out us under sanctions, this is why they consider us enemies.

How can I be an enemy of freedom and democracy if I want our people to work, to make money, my country to have a production economy, and I don’t yield to al-Qaeda gangs in close proximity to me.

…imagine the difficult situation in which these heroes, the factory workers and owners, had to go through in order to defy al-Nusra and defy Turkey, and rise up again from the ashes. This is a real example of how you rise up, undefeated.”

Eva Karene Bartlettabout 12 months ago

After filming Fares Shehabi / Faris Shihabi speaking powerfully about the courage and resilience of a Lairamoun factory owner and its workers 100s metres from al Qaeda snipers,
[see: https://www.facebook.com/EvaBoBeeva/posts/2344877145522266 ]

Firas Darwish explained some terrorist graffiti left on the outside of the factory: a terrorist sniper nicknamed Abu Mohammed, proud of head shots. …See More

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Fares Shehabion Sunday

هكذا كانت #حلب في أسوأ ايامها عام ٢٠١٣..!

عشنا في حصار كامل في كل شيء و فقدنا اكثر من ١١ الف شهيد مدني و ٦٠ الف جريح و لم نستسلم و لم نتخاذل و لم نفقد الامل للحظة لا في أنفسنا و لا في جيشنا و لا في قائدنا..!

اليوم نعيش حلم اصبح حقيقة..نعيش معجزة صنعها هذا الجيش الجبار و الذي لولاه لكنا جميعاً في خبر كان.. …See More

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In November 2016 I wrote of the terrorism Aleppo civilians experienced that month and in prior months:

My article on the November 3 terrorist attacks noted:

On the afternoon of Nov. 3, after meeting with Dr. Mohammed Batikh, director of Al-Razi Hospital, the victims of terror attacks which had begun a few hours prior began to arrive one after another, maimed and critically injured. The vehicle bombings and bombardment of Grad missiles, among other attacks, left 18 people dead and more than 200 injured, according to Dr. Zaher Hajo, the head of forensic medicine at Al-Razi Hospital.

The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo. Nov. 3, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

The corridors and emergency ward at Al-Razi Hospital, one of two state-run hospitals in Aleppo, quickly became clogged with the injured and grieving family members. In one crowded interior corridor, one of the wounded screamed out in pain: “Ya, Allah! Ya, Allah!”

In another corridor, a 15-year-old boy with a cast on one leg and bandages on his head, said the mortar attack which injured him had killed his 4-year-old cousin and left his 6-year-old cousin with critical injuries.

In a front room, a mother wailed for her son who had suffered severe injuries. She screamed and pleaded for someone to save him, her only son. Not long after, though, the news came in: the 26-year-old had died. Her son, a doctor, was not the first medical professional to die in terrorists’ routine bombings of Aleppo neighborhoods.

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Dr. Nabil Antaki, a gastroenterologist from Aleppo, with whom I met on my trips to Aleppo in July and August, messaged me in October about his friend and colleague, Dr. Omar, who was injured on Oct. 6 when terrorist factions unleashed an attack on Jamiliye Street, killing 10 people. Just a few days after the attack, Dr. Omar, too, died.

At the morgue behind Al-Razi Hospital on Nov. 3, inconsolable family members leaned against the wall or sat on the pavement, coming to grips with the deaths of loved ones.

One 14-year-old boy had been there on Nov. 2, when his father was killed. On Nov. 3, he returned when his mother was killed. Both of this boy’s parents are dead, both killed in terrorist attacks on the city’s New Aleppo district.

A man spoke of a 10-year-old nephew who was shot in the head by a terrorist sniper while the boy was on his roof.

A woman and her children leaned against an iron rail next to the door to the morgue, weeping over the death of her husband, their father, who was killed while parking a car. When the man’s mother arrived, she collapsed, shrieking in grief.

The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo.

And in the midst of all of this, all these women and children, a car arrived at the morgue with the body of yet another victim of the day’s terror attacks, Mohammed Majd Darwish, 74. His upper body was so bloody that it was unclear whether he had been decapitated.

Near the morgue, Bashir Shehadeh, a man in his forties, said his family had been displaced already from Jisr al-Shughour, a city in Idlib. His mother, some of his friends, and his cousin have been killed by terrorist factions’ shellings. He said enough was enough, and called on the SAA to eliminate the terrorist threat.

Al-Razi’s Dr. Batikh said a private hospital, Al-Rajaa, was hit by a mortar attack. “They cannot do operations now, the operating room is out of service.”

One of the most notable attacks on hospitals was the December 2013 double truck bombing of Al-Kindi Hospital, the largest and best cancer treatment hospital in the Middle East. I have previously reported on other attacks on hospitals in Aleppo, including the May 3 rocket attack which gutted Al-Dabeet, a maternity hospital, killing three women. On Sept. 10, Dr. Antaki messaged me:

Yesterday, a rocket, sent by the terrorists, hit a maternity hospital in Aleppo in Muhafazat Street. Two persons working in the hospital were injured. No death. But the point is that it is a hospital and it was hit by a rocket.”

Dr. Batikh and Dr. Mazen Rahmoun, deputy director of Al-Razi, said the hospital once had 68 ambulances, but now there are only six. The rest, they said, were either stolen by terrorist factions or destroyed.

Aleppo’s doctors continue to treat the daily influx of injured and ill patients in spite of the dearth of ambulances and effects of Western sanctions which mean a lack of medical equipment, replacement parts, and medicine for critical illnesses like cancer.

According to the hospital’s head forensic medicine, Dr. Hajo, in the last five years, 10,750 civilians have been killed in Aleppo, 40 percent of whom were women and children. In the past year alone, 328 children have been killed by terrorist shelling in Aleppo, and 45 children were killed by terrorist snipers.

Humanitarian Crossings: Shelling of Castello Road

Less than 100 metres away, the second of two mortars fired by terrorist factions less than 1 km from Castello Road on Nov. 4. The road and humanitarian corridor were targeted at least six times that day by terrorist factions. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

On Nov. 4, prior to our 9:30 a.m. arrival at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing and until our departure an hour later, no one had been able to cross from the area just beyond crossing, which is occupied by Jaysh al-Fatah militants.

Two weeks prior to our arrival, journalists had reported that terrorist factions heavily shelled the crossing and areas around it starting in the early morning.

A Syrian general at the crossing confirmed that shelling had taken place on Oct. 20, adding that three police officers had been wounded. A journalist in the delegation asked the general what he would say to Syrian civilians like Bashir Shehadeh, who demanded that the SAA eliminate the terrorist factions.

“We need to be patient, because the civilians there are not able to leave, they are not guilty,” the general replied. “We don’t work the way that the terrorists work.”

Regarding the amnesty decree issued by President Bashar Assad in late July, the general explained that terrorists who want to be granted amnesty could lay down their arms. Those who choose to go on to Idlib would be granted safe passage by the Syrian government and army, in coordination with the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

According to the general, when two militants arrived at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing about two months ago, they surrendered their arms and proceeded under amnesty.

Five months ago, he said, 12 civilians crossed there, were treated in Aleppo’s hospitals, and returned to their homes in terrorist-held eastern Aleppo.  

At the Castello Road humanitarian crossing, the large green buses which were said to be evacuating militants from areas of eastern Aleppo in recent weeks were there again, waiting to ferry away more. Ten ambulances, three buses, and 14 minivans were lined up in anticipation of any civilians or militants trying to leave terrorist-occupied areas, whether for safe passage elsewhere or to settle in government-secured areas of Aleppo.

Ten ambulances wait at the Castello Road crossing to treat anyone exiting via the humanitarian corridors established by the Syrian government and Russia, including militants who lay down their arms. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

George Sire, 25, an anesthesiologist at Salloum Hospital in Aleppo, was one of the volunteers who arrived at the crossing with five of the private hospital’s ambulances, at the request of the Syrian government.

When speaking with a Syrian commander about permitting men who had used arms against Syrian civilians and soldiers to lay down their arms and reconcile, he said they are sons of the country and urged them to reconcile.

At around 1:30 p.m. the first shell struck, hitting near Castello Road. About 10 minutes later, while I was being interviewed, a second hit, this time considerably closer, within 100 meters — close enough, in fact, to create a cloud of dark smoke over the road. It prompted security to usher me away from the road and move our delegation away from the crossing.

I later learned that another five shells targeted the crossing, injuring a Syrian journalist and two Russian soldiers.

No one passed through this or any of the other seven humanitarian corridors that day.

And:

“Last Friday, I visited one of Aleppo’s main public parks, a once-beautiful park where fountains danced to the songs of Arab greats like Oum Kalthoum, and simple cafes were full.

Now the fountains are dry, the main one littered with rubble from one of many terrorist shellings of the park, and one of the main cafes out of commission after being hit by a terrorist shell roughly a year and a half ago.

While people do continue to frequent the park, the risk of being killed by a mortar or rocket remains, as pretty much everywhere in greater Aleppo.

I had read about the July 22, 2016, terrorist rocket on the park which killed civilians while they were in the park on a summer Friday.

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Photo via Pierre Le Corf

SANA news reported on that day that: “Eleven civilians were killed, among them a child and two women, while 44 others were injured in terrorist attacks with rocket shells and sniper bullets on neighborhoods and the public facilities in Aleppo city on Friday.

…eight civilians were killed and 34 others injured in a rocket shell fired by terrorist groups on the public park.”

In November, a local took me to the area where the murdered woman was sitting when the rocket’s shrapnel killed she, another woman, a child, and injured nearby civilians.

The park was busy this Friday, not as busy as a hot summer day would have seen it, but still had people sitting on such benches or on the plastic chairs of the cafe behind where the murdered women had been sitting.

Walking around the large park, we saw evidence of shelling…on the pavement and in the small plots of grass. Some were like the small holes in the pavement that I’m used to seeing in the Old City of Damascus, ravaged by terrorists’ mortars. Others were mini-craters in the grass, including one near a cafe which was hit apparently about a year and a half ago.

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Speaking with local security there, they estimated that between 40-50 shells have hit the park in the past few years. The number could be greater, or less, but the fact is the park has been targeted, as have public places around the city of over 1.5 million people, who on a daily basis facethis mortar/rocket/Grad missile/explosive bullet/gas canister terrorism.

This park in summer would have not only been a spot to try to briefly escape the hell of 6 years of foreign war on Syria, but would also have had many displaced Syrians who have fled terrorist-occupied areas to government-secured areas, many of whom during the day sought refuge in the shade from blistering heat.

Without electricity for years, thanks to the terrorist factions who control the area where the power plant is, Aleppo residents who can afford it buy power by the ampere. Many can only afford the basics–some light bulbs and power for their fridge.

From a photo essay I published in mid-2016, after my second Aleppo visit:

The power plant lies in areas controlled by terrorist factions. For years, Aleppo residents have suffered from a lack of power, and compensate by purchasing generator-supplied electricity. Not cheap, some opt to buy just 1 ampere worth, which according to Aleppo resident Nabil Antaki costs around 4000 Syrian pounds a month (roughly US$8) . Two amperes will run a small television. Four amperes, a fridge, small television and a few bulbs.

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Many others can’t afford that, period. I remember the suffocating heat even on an August visit to Aleppo, staying in a friend’s place without electricity or water…the desire to be out in an open place where one could breathe, sweat less, was strong…

In the canal running through the park, a boy around 14 years old stripped to his underwear and dove in, swept down river by the quick current, scrambling out and up the wall to dive in anew. When we passed the river a little later, a girl had joined in. I asked whether this would be frowned upon and my friend laughed at me, “We are not al-Qaeda here.” (I remembered the words of a man who I’d spoken with the night before, who spoke of al-Nusra in occupied eastern areas forcing women and girls to cover even their wrists and hands. This girl would have no freedom in areas occupied by the West’s “rebels”.)

Scenes like these, of seeming normalcy, can be shattered in an instant, with the fall of a mortar or shell fired by terrorists which the West deems as “moderates” and whose crimes Western leaders continue to ignore.

Eva Karene Bartlettabout 3 years ago

Last Friday, I visited one of Aleppo’s main public parks, a once-beautiful park where fountains danced to the songs of Arab greats like Oum Kalthoum, and simple cafes were full.

Now the fountains are dry, the main one littered with rubble from one of many terrorist shellings of the park, and one of the main cafes out of commission after being hit by a terrorist shell roughly a year and a half ago.

While people do continue to frequent the park, the risk of being killed by a …See More

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Small public park in Aziziya. People who are displaced frequent such parks, to get out of the small apartments or government-supplied shelters they live in.12

From Aziziya district, on July 4, half a kilometer away, the explosion of a terrorist-fired bomb. Around 5 pm, this is a busy time when streets are packed with cars and pedestrians; terrorists know they can kill and maim more civilians when attacking at these busy hours. Minutes later, an anti-aircraft explosive bullet landed roughly 15 metres away from my Aziziya venue. Had it landed on one of the parked cars, there would have been many casualties. A day later, such an explosive bullet killed the mother of an Aleppo friend, at her home. Photo: Eva Bartlett

In that 2016 photo essay, I wrote also about the villages of Nubl and Zahra’a, north of Aleppo:

Hell Cannon-fired gas canister bombs litter the countryside around Aleppo and on the route to Nubl and Zahra’a. These, and larger variations, are what Western-backed terrorists have rained down on the city of Aleppo, as well as besieged Foua and Kafarya in Idlib governorate. Manufactured locally, fired upon civilians daily, gas canister bombs get virtually no mention in corporate media, although their impact is deadly.

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The roughly 65,000 people of Nubl and Zahra’a villages, under siege from terrorist factions of the so-called FSA, al-Nusra, and affiliated factions for three and a half years, were on February 3, 2016, liberated from the choke-hold which strangled them. Zeinab Sharbo, 25, and Mounthaher Khatib, 26, each have young children who suffered for want of food and basic elements of life, and who were traumatized by the terrorists’ bombing of the villages. Although corporate media, when deigning to mention the villages, usually focused on their predominately Shia composition, Sunnis also live in the villages. According to Zeinab, “Sectarianism wasn’t a problem before, we were brothers and sisters, we intermarried with neighbouring villages.”

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Abdul Karim Assad, 7, has painful face disfiguration from a terrorist-fired mortar which burned his face. Under siege at the time, the boy was only treated with basic medical care in a barebones hospital in Zahra’a. The boy is not originally from Nubl, but from Idlib, from which his grandfather fled when terrorists invaded. He is another poster child for the terrorism inflicted upon Syria.

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Aleppo’s over 1.5 million residents are depending on trucks from outside of the city to bring in the basics of life. Unable to use the main highway, and now unable to use the paved Ramouseh road, trucks travel an extended distance over many rough dirt roads to enter Aleppo from its north.

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The Dabeet maternity hospital, the inside destroyed and outside badly damaged on May 3, 2016, by terrorist rocket fire, is one of numerous hospitals targeted by terrorists in Syria. The May 3 attack killed three women. A week later, the hospital was hit by terrorist mortar fire. Aleppo’s Kindi hospital, destroyed by terrorists, was one of the largest cancer hospitals in the region.

*

Back to the present.

The Press Office of President Assad on February 17, 2020 published his latest speech, addressing this restoration of peace to Aleppo and the need to do so in Idlib. Syriana Analysis has subtitled this speech:

Partial transcript of recent speech by President Assad:

“When Aleppo city was liberated at the end of 2016, I said that what was before the liberation of Aleppo city will not be the same as what will be after that, and I based that on my knowledge of where the members of our Armed Forces are aiming with their hearts and minds. I based that on my conviction that the patriotism of the people of Aleppo and their fealty to their homeland and the homeland’s army will overturn the calculations of the enemies.

“This is what happened, but Aleppo had to pay a great price equal to the greatness of its people and the patriotism of its position; years of violent and barbaric shelling that affected most neighborhoods, tens of thousands of martyrs, injured people, orphans, people who lost children, and widows. Years of siege without water or electricity or other life necessities, all for Aleppo to kneel and for her people to surrender.

“With every treacherous shell that had fallen, the enemies’ hopes would grow that Aleppo would become another Aleppo, one that never existed throughout history, an Aleppo that does not constitute with its twin Damascus the wings by which the homeland soars; rather an Aleppo whose people would stand with traitors in front of masters, kneeling and prostrating themselves before them, beginning for a few dollars and much disgrace.

“That was in their dreams; but in our real world, with every shell that fell, fear fell and the will to challenge grew. With every martyr, nationalist spirit grew and faith in the homeland became stronger. In our real world, it remained the real Aleppo, the Aleppo of history, nobility, and authenticity. And because it is so, its people did not settle for steadfastness just in the sense of bearing of pain and suffering and acceptance of the status quo; but rather in the sense of work and production that persisted throughout the years of the siege despite the conditions that contradict any economic sense.

“Despite that, this city kept contributing – even if at a bare minimum – to national economy, and I am confident that this type of steadfastness which reflects a concrete will and a deep-rooted sense of belonging is what will raise Aleppo from the ashes of war and restore its natural and leading position in Syria’s economy,” President al-Assad said.

President al-Assad added “It is true that liberating the city in 2016 did not achieve the desired safety for the city at the time, and it remained under the threat of treacherous and cowardly shells, and it is also true today that victory in one battle does not mean victory in the war, but that is by the abstract military logic which is based on endings and results; however, by national logic, victory begins with the beginning of steadfastness even if it was at day one, and by that logic, Aleppo is victorious, and Syria is victorious. We are all victorious over the fear they had tried to instill in our hearts, victorious over the delusions they tried to instill in our minds, victorious over fragmentation, hatred, betrayal, and all those who represent or bear or practice these qualities.

“However, we are fully aware that this liberation does not mean the end of the war, or the failure of schemes, or the disappearance of terrorism, or the surrender of enemies, but it certainly means rubbing their noses in the dirt as a prelude for complete defeat, sooner or later,” the President affirmed.

“It also means that we must not relax; rather we must prepare for the coming battles. Therefore, the battle to liberate the countryside of Aleppo and Idleb will continue regardless of some empty sound bubbles coming from the north, and the battle for liberating all Syrian soil, crushing terrorism, and achieving stability will also continue.”

His Excellency went on to say “Our Syrian Arab Army will never hesitate to carry out its national duties, and it will be as it always has been: an army from the people and for the people. Throughout history, no army has emerged victorious unless the people are united with it in its battle, and when it is united with the people in their vision and cause, and this is what we have witnessed in Aleppo and other Syrian cities, where you embraced the army it protected you, defended you, and made sacrifices for you.

“While we are experiencing times of joy, we must remember that these moments have been made possible by years of pain, heartache, and sadness, for the loss of a dear one that gave their life for the lives and happiness of others. As we bow in honor of the greatness of our martyrs and injured people, it is also our duty to stand in honor of the greatness of their mighty families. If victory is to be dedicated, then it is dedicated to them, and if anyone should receive credit for it, then they deserve the credit. I salute them for the children their raised, and salute their children for their sacrifices. I salute every one of the heroes of our great army and the allied forces begin them. I salute the strength of their bodies in the cold and frost as we bask in warmth and safety.”

President al-Assad went on to salute “our brothers, friends, and allies who stood shoulder to shoulder with the army on the ground and were guardian eagles in the sky, their blood intermingling with the blood of our army that was spilled in Aleppo, Aleppo the faithful to its homeland and history, which will never forget the blood of those who made sacrifices for it, and which will return as it was and stronger.

“Our beloved people in Aleppo, I congratulate you on the victory of your will, the will by which we will wage the greater battle: the battle to build Aleppo. By the will of all the Syrian people we will build Syria, and we will continue liberation, God willing.”

If you haven’t already read it, consider reading my January 2019 compilation:

Turns Out President Assad Was Right About Terrorism in Syria; Turns Out He Has Massive Popular Support in Syria

Eva Karene Bartlett about a year agoTurns Out President Assad Was Right About Terrorism in Syria; Turns Out He Has Massive Popular Support in SyriaIn the workshop of a Sunni Syrian, with his Christmas tree, Imam Ali photo, Quranic calligraphy, and photo of President Bashar al-Assad .See More

because corporate media has been lying to you, not Syria’s president, not Russia.

-Related: US to grant $35 million to promote its fake news bubble in Syria & control local media

MILITARY AND POLITICAL TRENDS OF 2019 THAT WILL SHAPE 2020

South Front

In the year 2019 the world was marked with a number of emerging and developing crises. The threat of terrorism, conflicts in the Middle East, expanding instability in South America, never-ending military, political and humanitarian crises in Africa and Asia, expansion of NATO, insecurity inside the European Union, sanction wars and sharpening conflicts between key international players. One more factor that shaped the international situation throughout the year was the further collapse of the existing system of international treaties. The most widely known examples of this tendency are the collapse of the INF and the US announcement of plans to withdraw from the New START. Meanwhile, the deterioration of diplomatic mechanisms between key regional and global actors is much wider than these two particular cases. It includes such fields as NATO-Russia relations, the US posture towards Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, unsuccessful attempts to rescue vestiges of the Iran nuclear deal, as well as recent setbacks in the diplomatic formats created to de-escalate the Korean conflict.

One of the regions of greatest concern in the world, is the Middle East. The main destabilizing factors are the remaining terrorist threat from al-Qaeda and ISIS, the crises in Libya, Syria and Iraq, the ongoing Saudi invasion of Yemen, the deepening Israeli-Arab conflict, and a threat of open military confrontation involving the US and Iran in the Persian Gulf. These factors are further complicated by social and economic instability in several regional countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and even Iran.

After the defeat of ISIS, the war in Syria entered a low intensity phase. However, it appears that the conflict is nowhere near its end and the country remains a point of instability in the region.

ISIS cells are still active in the country. The announced US troop withdrawal appeared to be only an ordinary PR stunt as US forces only changed their main areas of presence to the oil-rich areas in northeastern Syria. Washington exploits its control over Syrian resources and influence on the leadership of the Syrian Kurds in order to effect the course of the conflict. The Trump administration sees Syria as one of the battlegrounds in the fight against the so-called Iranian threat.

The province of Idlib and its surrounding areas remain the key stronghold of radical militant groups in Syria. Over the past years, anti-government armed groups suffered a series of defeats across the country and withdrew towards northwestern Syria. The decision of the Syrian Army to allow encircled militants to withdraw towards Idlib enabled the rescue of thousands of civilians, who were being used by them as human shields in such areas as Aleppo city and Eastern Ghouta. At the same time, this increased significantly the already high concentration of militants in Greater Idlib turning it into a hotbed of radicalism and terrorism. The ensuing attempts to separate the radicals from the so-called moderate opposition and then to neutralize them, which took place within the framework of the Astana format involving Turkey, Syria, Iran and Russia, made no progress.

The Summer-Fall advance of the Syrian Army in northern Hama and southern Idlib led to the liberation of a large area from the militants. Nevertheless, strategically, the situation is still the same. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, controls most of the area. Turkish-backed ‘moderate militants’ act shoulder to shoulder with terrorist groups.

Turkey is keen to prevent any possible advances of the government forces in Idlib. Therefore it supports further diplomatic cooperation with Russia and Iran to promote a ‘non-military’ solution of the issue. However it does not seem to have enough influence with the Idlib militant groups, in particular HTS, to impose a ceasefire on them at the present time. Ankara could take control of the situation, but it would need a year or two that it does not have. Therefore, a new round of military escalation in the Idlib zone seems to be only a matter of time.

Syria’s northeast is also a source of tensions. Turkey seized a chunk of territory between Ras al-Ayn and Tell Abyad in the framework of its Operation Peace Spring. The large-scale Turkish advance on Kurdish armed groups was halted by the Turkish-Russian ‘safe zone’ agreement and now the Syrian Army and the Russian Military Police are working to separate Kurdish rebels from Turkish proxies and to stabilize Syria’s northeast. If this is successfully done and the Assad government reaches a political deal with Kurdish leaders, conditions for further peaceful settlement of the conflict in this part of the country will be created. It should be noted that Damascus has been contributing extraordinary efforts to restore the infrastructure in areas liberated from terrorists by force or returned under its control by diplomatic means. In the eyes of the local population, these actions have an obvious advantage over approaches of other actors controlling various parts of Syria.

Israel is another actor pursuing an active policy in the region. It seeks to influence processes which could affect, what the leadership sees as, interests of the state. Israel justifies aggressive actions in Syria by claiming to be surrounded by irreconcilable enemies, foremost Iran and Hezbollah, who try to destroy Israel or at least diminish its security. Tel Aviv makes all efforts to ensure that, in the immediate vicinity of its borders, there would be no force, non-state actors, or states whose international and informational activities or military actions might damage Israeli interests. This, according to the Israeli vision, should ensure the physical security of the entire territory currently under the control of Israel and its population.

The start of the Syrian war became a gift for Israel. It was strong enough to repel direct military aggression by any terrorist organization, but got a chance to use the chaos to propel its own interests. Nonetheless, the rigid stance of the Israeli leadership which became used to employing chaos and civil conflicts in the surrounding countries as the most effective strategy for ensuring the interests of the state, was delivered a blow. Israel missed the moment when it had a chance to intervene in the conflict as a kind of peacemaker, at least on the level of formal rhetoric, and, with US help, settle the conflict to protect its own interests. Instead, leaders of Israel and the Obama administration sabotaged all Russian peace efforts in the first years of the Russian military operation and by 2019, Tel Aviv had found itself excluded from the list of power brokers in the Syrian settlement. Hezbollah and Iran, on the other hand, strengthened their position in the country after they, in alliance with Damascus and Russia, won the war on the major part of Syrian territory, and Iran through the Astana format forged a tactical alliance with Turkey.

Iran and Hezbollah used the preliminary outcome of the conflict in Syria, and the war on ISIS in general, to defend their own security and to expand their influence across the region.  The so-called Shia crescent turned from being a myth exploited by Western diplomats and mainstream media into a reality. Iran and Hezbollah appeared to be reliable partners for their regional allies even in the most complicated situations.

Russia’s strategic goal is the prevention of radical Islamists from coming to power. Russia showed itself ready to enter dialogue with the moderate part of the Syrian opposition. Its leadership even demonstrated that it is ready to accept the interests of other actors, the US, Israel, Kurdish groups, Turkey, Iran, and Hezbollah, if this would help in reaching a final deal to settle the conflict.

Summing up the developments of 2019, one might expect that the current low-intensity state of the Syrian conflict would continue for years. However, several factors and developments could instigate the renewal of full-fledged hostilities:

  • A sudden demise or forceful removal of President Bashar al-Assad could create a situation of uncertainty within the patriotic component of the Syrian leadership;
  • Changes within the Russian political system or issues inside Russia which could lead to full or partial withdrawal of support to the Syrian government and withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria;
  • A major war in the Middle East which would turn the entire region into a battlefield. In the current situation, such a war could only start by escalation between the US-Israeli-led bloc and Iran.

The Persian Gulf and the Saudi-Yemen battleground are also sources of regional instability. In the second half of 2019, the situation there was marked by increased chances of open military confrontation between the US-Israeli-Saudi bloc and Iran. Drone shoot-downs, oil tanker detentions, open military buildups, and wartime-like rhetoric became something common or at least not very surprising. The US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel point to Iran as the main instigator of tensions.

Iran and its allies deny responsibility for the escalation reasonably noting that their actions were a response to aggressive moves by the US-Israeli-Saudi axis. From this point of view, Iran’s decision to limit its commitments to the already collapsed Nuclear Deal, high level of military activity in the Persian Gulf, shoot down of the US Global Hawk spy drone, and increased support to regional Shia groups are logical steps to deter US—led aggression and to solidify its own position in the region. Iran’s main goal is to demonstrate that an open military conflict with it will have a devastating impact to the states which decide to attack it, as well as to the global economy.

The US sanctions war, public diplomatic support of rioters, and the Trump administration’s commitment to flexing military muscle only strengthen Tehran’s confidence that this approach is right.

As to Yemen’s Houthis, who demonstrated an unexpected success in delivering retaliatory strikes to Saudi Arabia, they would continue to pursue their main goal – achieving a victory in the conflict with Saudi Arabia or forcing the Kingdom to accept the peace deal on favorable terms. To achieve this, they need to deliver maximum damage to Saudi Arabia’s economy through strikes on its key military and infrastructure objects. In this case, surprising missile and drone strikes on different targets across Saudi Arabia have already demonstrated their effectiveness.

The September 14 strike on Saudi oil infrastructure that put out of commission half of the Saudi oil output became only the first sign of future challenges that Riyadh may face in case of further military confrontation.

The unsuccessful invasion of Yemen and the confrontation with Iran are not the only problems for Saudi Arabia. The interests and vision of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East have been in conflict for a long time. Nonetheless, this tendency became especially obvious in 2019. The decline of influence of the House of Saud in the region and inside Saudi Arabia itself led to logical attempts of other regional players to gain a leading position in the Arabian Peninsula. The main challenger is the UAE and the House of Maktoum.

Contradictions between Saudi Arabia and the UAE turned into an open military confrontation between their proxies in Yemen. Since August 29th, Saudi Arabia has provided no symmetric answer to the UAE military action against its proxies. It seems that the Saudi leadership has no will or distinct political vision of how it should react in this situation. Additionally, the Saudi military is bogged down in a bloody conflict in Yemen and struggles to defend its own borders from Houthi attacks.

The UAE already gained an upper hand in the standoff with Saudi Arabia in the economic field. This provided motivation for further actions towards expanding its influence in the region.

During the year, Turkey, under the leadership of President Recep Erdogan, continued strengthening its regional positions. It expanded its own influence in Libya and Syria, strengthened its ties with Iran, Qatar, and Russia, obtained the S-400, entered a final phase in the TurkStream project, and even increased controversial drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean. Simultaneously, Ankara defended its national interests -repelling pressure from the United States and getting off with removal from the F-35 program only. Meanwhile, Turkish actions should not be seen as a some tectonic shift in its foreign policy or a signal of ‘great friendship’ with Russia or Iran.

Turkish foreign policy demonstrates that Ankara is not seeking to make ‘friends’ with other regional and global powers. Turkey’s foreign policy is mobile and variable, and always designed to defend the interests of Turkey as a regional leader and the key state of the Turkic world.

Developments in Libya were marked by the strengthening of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and backed by the UAE, Egypt, and to some extent Russia. The LNA consolidated control of most of the country and launched an advance on its capital of Tripoli, controlled by the Government of National Accord. The LNA describes its main goal as the creation of the unified government and the defeat of terrorism. In its own turn, the Government of National Accord is backed by Turkey, Qatar, the USA and some European states. It controls a small part of the country, and, in terms of military force, relies on various militias and even radical armed groups linked with al-Qaeda. Ankara signed with the Tripoli government a memorandum on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, it sees the GNA survival as a factor which would allow it to justify its further economic and security expansion in the region. This clash of interests sets conditions for an escalation of the Libyan conflict in 2020.

Egypt was mostly stable. The country’s army and security forces contained the terrorism threat on the Sinai Peninsula and successfully prevented attempts of radical groups to destabilize the country.

By the end of the year, the Greater Middle East had appeared in a twilight zone lying before a new loop of the seemingly never-ending Great Game. The next round of the geopolitical standoff will likely take place in a larger region including the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Consistently, the stakes will grow involving more resources of states and nations in geopolitical roulette.

The threat that faces Central Asia is particularly severe since the two sets of actors have asymmetrical objectives. Russia and China are rather interested in the political stability and economic success of the region which they view as essential to their own political and security objectives. It is not in the interest of either country to have half a dozen failed states in their immediate political neighborhood, riven by political, economic, and religious conflicts threatening to spread to their own territories. In addition to being a massive security burden to Russia and China, it would threaten the development of their joint Eurasian integration projects and, moreover, attract so much political attention that the foreign policy objectives of both countries would be hamstrung. The effect would be comparable to that of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the US political and military establishment. The monetary price of these wars, the sheer political distraction, wear and demoralization of the armed forces, and the unfortunately frequent killings of civilians amount to a non-tenable cost to the warring party, not to mention damage to US international “soft power” wrought by scandals associated with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and “black sites”. Even now, shock-waves in the US military hierarchy continue to be felt regarding the court-martialed senior-ranking US Navy “SEAL” commando charged for the wanton killing of civilians in Northern Iraq during the US military’s anti-ISIS operations.

By contrast, this dismal scenario would be enough to satisfy the US foreign policy establishment which, at the moment, is wholly dominated by “hawks” determined to assure the continuation of US hegemony.  Preventing the emergence of a multi-polar international system by weakening China and Russia is their desire.  This sets the stage for another round of great power rivalry in Central Asia. While the pattern is roughly the same as during the 19th and late 20th centuries—one or more Anglo-Saxon powers seeking to diminish the power of Russia and/or China—the geography of the battlefield is considerably larger for it encompasses the entirety of post-Soviet Central Asian republics.  Also included is China’s province of Xinjiang which has suddenly attracted considerable Western attention, manifested, as usual, by concern for “human rights” in the region.  Historically, such “concern” usually precedes some form of aggressive action. Therefore the two sets of great power actors—the US and other interested Western powers on the one hand, with Russia and China on the other—are locked in a standoff in the region.

The key security problem is militancy and the spread of terrorism. The US and its NATO partners remain unable to achieve a military victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban reached a level of influence in the region, turning it into a rightful party to any negotiations involving the United States. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that a fully-fledged peace deal can be reached between the sides. The Taliban’s main demand is the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country. For Washington, conceding to this would amount to public humiliation and a forceful need to admit that the superpower lost a war to the Taliban. Washington can achieve a military victory in Afghanistan only by drastically increasing its forces in the country. This will go contrary to Trump’s publicly declared goal – to limit US participation in conflicts all around the world. Therefore, the stalemate will continue with the Taliban and the US sitting at the negotiating table in Qatar, while Taliban forces slowly take control of more and more territory in Afghanistan.

Besides fighting the US-backed government, in some parts of the country, the Taliban even conducts operations against ISIS in order to prevent this group from spreading further. Despite this, around 5,000 ISIS militants operate in Afghanistan’s north, near the border with Tajikistan. Member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization are concerned that ISIS militants are preparing to shift their focus to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Russia. The terrorists are infiltrating CIS states, incorporating with organized crime, creating clandestine cells, brainwashing and recruiting new supporters, chiefly the socially handicapped youth and migrants, [and] training them to carry out terrorist activities. The worsening situation in Central Asia contributes to the spread of radical ideas. Now the main threat of destabilization of the entire Central Asian region comes from Tajikistan. This state is the main target of militants deployed in northern Afghanistan.

Destabilization of Central Asia and the rise of ISIS both contribute to achievement of US geopolitical goals. The scenario could devastate Russia’s influence in the region, undermine security of key Russian regional ally, Kazakhstan, and damage the interests of China. The Chinese, Kazakh, and Russian political leadership understand these risks and engage in joint efforts to prevent this scenario.

In the event of further destabilization of Central Asia, ISIS sleeper cells across the region could be activated and a new ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate could appear on the territory of northern Afghanistan and southern Tajikistan. Russia and China would not benefit from such a development. In the case of China, such instability could expand to its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, while in Russia the main targets could be the Northern Caucasus and large cities with high numbers of migrant laborers from Central Asian states.

Armenia now together with Georgia became the center of a US soft power campaign to instigate anti-Russian hysteria in the Caucasus. Ethnic groups in this region are traditionally addicted to US mainstream propaganda. On the other hand, the importance of the South Caucasus for Russia decreased notably because of the strong foothold it gained in the Middle East. 2020 is looking to be another economically complicated year for Georgia and Armenia.

Throughout 2019, China consolidated its position as a global power and the main challenger of the United States. From the military point of view, China successfully turned the South China Sea into an anti-access and area-denial zone controlled by its own military and moved forward with its ambitious modernization program which includes the expansion of China’s maritime, airlift, and amphibious capabilities. The balance of power in the Asia-Pacific has in fact shifted and the Chinese Armed Forces are now the main power-broker in the region. China appeared strong enough to fight back against US economic and diplomatic pressure and to repel the Trump Administration’s attempts to impose Washington’s will upon Beijing. Despite economic war with the United States, China’s GDP growth in 2019 is expected to be about 6%, while the yuan exchange rate and the SSE Composite Index demonstrate stability. The United States also tried to pressure China through supporting instability in Hong Kong and by boosting defense aid to Taiwan. However, in both cases, the situation appears to still be within Beijing’s comfort zone.

An interesting consequence of US-led pressure on China is that Washington’s actions provided an impetus for development of Chinese-Russian cooperation. In 2019, Moscow and Beijing further strengthened their ties and cooperation in the economic and military spheres and demonstrated notable unity in their actions on the international scene as in Africa and in the Arctic for example.

As to Russia itself, during the year, it achieved several foreign policy victories.

  • The de-facto diplomatic victory in Syria;
  • Resumption of dialogue with the new Ukrainian regime and the reanimation of the Normandy format negotiations;
  • Improvement of relations with some large European players, like France, Italy, and even Germany;
  • Implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project despite opposition from the US-led bloc;
  • Implementation of the Turkish Stream project with Turkey;
  • Strengthening of the Russian economy in comparison with previous years and the rubble’s stability despite pressure from sanctions. Growth of the Russian GDP for 2019 is expected to be 1.2%, while the Russia Trading System Index demonstrated notable growth from around 1,100 points at the start of the year to around 1,500 by year’s end.

The salient accomplishment of the Russian authorities is that no large terrorist attack took place in the country. At the same time, the internal situation was marked by some negative tendencies. There was an apparent political, media, and social campaign to undermine Chinese-Russian cooperation. This campaign, run by pro-Western and liberal media, became an indicator of the progress in Chinese-Russian relations. Additionally, Russia was rocked by a series of emergencies, corruption scandals linked with law enforcement, the plundering of government funding allocated to the settlement of emergency situations, the space industry, and other similar cases. A number of Russian mid-level officials made statements revealing their real, rent-seeking stance towards the Russian population. Another problem was the deepening social stratification of the population. Most of the citizens experienced a decrease in their real disposable income, while elites continued concentrating margin funds gained through Russia’s successful actions in the economy and on the international level. These factors, as well as fatigue with the stubborn resistance of entrenched elites to being dislodged, caused conditions for political instability in big cities. Liberal and pro-Western media and pro-Western organizations exploited this in an attempt to destabilize the country.

Militarization of Japan has given the US a foothold in its campaign against China, Russia, and North Korea. The Japan Self-Defense Forces were turned into a fully-fledged military a long time ago. Japanese diplomatic rhetoric demonstrates that official Tokyo is preparing for a possible new conflict in the region and that it will fight to further expand its zone of influence. The Japanese stance on the Kuril Islands territorial dispute with Russia is an example of this approach. Tokyo rejected a Russian proposal for joint economic management of four islands and nearby waters, while formally the islands will remain within Russian jurisdiction -at least for the coming years. Japan demands the full transfer of islands a term which is unacceptable to Russia from a military and political point of view. The social and economic situation in Japan was in a relatively stable, but guarded state.

Denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea reached a stalemate after the North Korean leadership claimed that Washington was in no hurry to provide Pyongyang with acceptable terms and conditions of a possible nuclear deal. The example of the US unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran also played a role. The positive point is that tensions on the Korean Peninsula de-escalated anyway because the sides sat down at the negotiation table. Chances of the open military conflict involving North Korea and the United States remain low.

In February 2019, the Indian-Pakistani conflict over the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir put the greater region on the brink of a large war with potential for the use of nuclear weapons. However, both India and Pakistan demonstrated reasonable restraint and prevented further escalation despite an open confrontation between their militaries which took place at the same moment. Meanwhile, the February escalation demonstrated the growing power of Pakistan. In the coming years, look to Jammu and Kashmir as a point of constant instability and military tensions, with very little chance that the sides will find a comprehensive political solution to their differences.

The threat of terrorism is another destabilizing factor in the region. In 2019, ISIS cells made several attempts to strengthen and expand their presence in such countries as Malaysia and Indonesia. Law enforcement agencies of both countries are well aware of this threat and contribute constant and active efforts to combat this terrorism and radicalism. It should be noted that Malaysia is in conflict with the Euro-Atlantic elites because of its independent foreign policy course. For example, its government repeatedly questioned the mainstream MH17 narrative and officially slammed the JIT investigation as politicized and nontransparent. So, the leadership of the country is forced to be in a state of permanent readiness to repel clandestine and public attempts to bring it into line with the mainstream agenda.

While the European Union is, theoretically, the world’s biggest economy using the world’s second most popular currency in international transactions, it remains to be seen whether, in the future, it will evolve into a genuine component of a multi-polar international system or become a satellite in someone else’s—most likely US—orbit. There still remain many obstacles toward achieving a certain “critical mass” of power and unity. While individual EU member states, most notably Germany and France, are capable of independent action in the international system, individually they are too weak to influence the actions of the United States, China, or even Russia. In the past, individual European powers relied on overseas colonial empires to achieve great power status. In the 21st century, European greatness can only be achieved through eliminating not just economic but also political barriers on the continent. At present, European leaders are presented with both incentives and obstacles to such integration, though one may readily discern a number of potential future paths toward future integration.

Continued European integration would demand an agreement on how to transfer national sovereignty to some as yet undefined and untested set of European political institutions which would not only guarantee individual rights but, more importantly from the point of view of national elites, preserve the relative influence of individual EU member states even after they forfeited their sovereignty. Even if the Euro-skeptics were not such a powerful presence in EU’s politics, it would still be an insurmountable task for even the most visionary and driven group of political leaders. Such a leap is only possible if the number of EU states making it is small, and their level of mutual integration is already high.

The post-2008 Euro zone crisis does appear to have communicated the non-sustainability of the current EU integration approach, hence the recent appearance of “two-speeds Europe” concept which actually originated as a warning against the threat of EU bifurcation into well integrated “core“ and a less integrated “periphery”. In practical terms it would mean “core” countries, definitely including Germany, France, and possibly the Benelux Union, would abandon the current policy of throwing money at the less well developed EU member states and, instead, focus on forging “a more perfect Union” consisting of this far more homogeneous and smaller set of countries occupying territories that, over a thousand years ago, formed what used to be known as the Carolingian Empire. Like US territories of the 19th century, EU states outside of the core would have to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” to earn membership in the core, which would require them to adopt, wholesale, the core’s political institutions.

The deepening disproportion of EU member state economies, and therefore sharpening economic disputes, are the main factor of instability in Europe. The long-delayed withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the union, which is finally expected to take place in 2020, might trigger an escalation of internal tensions over economic issues which might blow up the EU from the inside. Other cornerstones of European instability are the extraordinary growth of organized crime, street crime, radicalism, and terrorism, most of which were caused by uncontrolled illegal migration and the inability of the European bureaucracy to cut off the flows of illegal migrants, integrate non-radicalized people into European society, and detect all radicals and terrorists that infiltrate Europe with migrants.

The situation is further complicated by the conflict in Ukraine and the destruction of international security treaties, such as the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and its planned withdrawal from the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). These developments go amid constant military and political hysteria of micro-states and Poland instigated by the Euro-Atlantic elites. The EU bureaucracy is using this state of hysteria and ramping up speculations about a supposed military threat from Russia and an economic and political threat from China to distract the public and draw attention away from the real problems.

The return of Russia as the diplomatic and military great power to Africa marked a new round of the geo-economic standoff in the region. The apparent Russian-Chinese cooperation is steadily pushing French and British out of what they describe as their traditional sphere of influence. While, in terms of economic strength, Russia cannot compete with China, it does have a wide range of military and diplomatic means and measures with which to influence the region. So, Beijing and Moscow seem to have reached a non-public deal on a “division of labor”. China focuses on implementation of its economic projects, while Russia contributes military and diplomatic efforts to stabilize the security situation, obtaining revenue for its military and security assistance. Moscow plays a second violin role in getting these guaranteed zones of influence. Terrorism is one of the main threats to the region. The Chinese-Russian cooperation did not go without a response from their Western counterparts that justified their propaganda and diplomatic opposition to Beijing-Moscow cooperation by describing Chinese investments as “debt-traps” and the Russian military presence as “destabilizing”. In 2019, Africa entered into a new round of great powers rivalry.

The intensification of US “soft power” and meddling efforts, social, economic tensions, activities of non-state actors, and organized criminal networks became the main factors of instability in South America. Venezuela and Bolivia were targeted by US-backed coups. While the Venezuelan government, with help from China and Russia, succeeded in repelling the coup attempt, Bolivia was plunged into a violent civil conflict after the pro-US government seized power. Chile remained in a state of social economic crisis which repeatedly triggered wide-scale anti-government riots. Its pro-US government remained in power, mainly, because there was no foreign ‘democratic superpower’ to instigate the regime change campaign. Actions of the government of Colombia, one of the key US regional allies, undermined the existing peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and forced at least a part of the former FARC members to take up arms once again. If repressions, killings, and clandestine operations aimed at the FARC members committed to the peace continue, they may lead to a resumption of FARC-led guerrilla warfare against the central government. The crisis developing in Mexico is a result of the growth of the drug cartels-related violence and economic tensions with the United States. The right-wing Bolsonaro government put Brazil on track with the US foreign policy course to the extent that, the country worked with Washington against Venezuela, claiming that it should not turn into ‘another Cuba’. A deep economic crisis in Argentina opened the road to power for a new left-centric president, Alberto Fernandez. Washington considers South America as its own geopolitical backyard and sees any non pro-US, or just national-oriented government, as a threat to its vital interests. In 2020, the US meddling campaign will likely escalate and expand, throwing the region into a new round of instability and triggering an expected resistance from South American states. An example of this is the situation in Bolivia. Regardless of the actions of ousted President Evo Morales, the situation in the country will continue escalating. The inability of the pro-US government to deliver positive changes and its simultaneous actions to destroy all the economic achievements of the Morales period might cause Bolivia to descend into poverty and chaos causing unrest and possibly, a civil war.

During 2019, the world superpower, led by the administration of President Donald Trump, provided a consistent policy designed to defend the interests of US domestic industry and the United States as a national state by any means possible. This included economic and diplomatic pressure campaigns against both US geopolitical competitors and allies. The most widely known Trump administration move of this kind was the tariff war with China. However, at the same time, Washington contributed notable efforts in almost all regions around the globe. For example, the United States opposed Chinese economic projects in Africa, Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Europe, tried to limit exports of the Russian defense industry, pressured NATO member states who did not want to spend enough on defense, and proposed that US allies pay more for the honor and privilege of provided “protection”. Additionally, Trump pressured the Federal Reserve Board of Governors into lowering interest rates and announced plans to lower interest rates even further to weaken the dollar in order to boost national industry and increase its product availability on the global market. These plans caused strong resistance from international corporations and global capitalists because this move may undermine the current global financial system based upon a strong US dollar. This straightforward approach demonstrated that Trump and his team were ready to do everything needed to protect US security and economic interests as they see them. Meanwhile, it alienated some “traditional allies”, as in the case of Turkey which decided to acquire Russian S-400s, and escalated the conflict between the Trump Administration and the globalists. The expected US GDP growth in 2019 is 2.2%. The expected production growth of 3.9% reflects the policy aimed at supporting the real sector. In terms of foreign policy, the White House attempted to rationalize US military presence in conflict zones around the world. Despite this, the unprecedented level of support to Israel, confrontation with Iran, China, and Russia, militarization of Europe, coups and meddling into the internal affairs of sovereign states remain as the main markers of US foreign policy. Nevertheless, the main threat to United States stability originates not from Iranians, Russians, or Chinese, but rather from internal issues. The constant hysteria in mainstream media, the attempt to impeach Donald Trump, and the radicalization of different social and political groups contributes to destabilization of the country ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

The year 2019 was marked by a number of dangerous developments. In spite of this, it could have been much more dangerous and violent. Political leadership by key actors demonstrated their conditional wisdom by avoiding a number of open military conflicts, all of which had chances to erupt in the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, South America, and even Europe. A new war in the Persian Gulf, US military conflict with North Korea, an India-Pakistan war -none of these were started.  A peaceful transfer of power from Petro Poroshenko to Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine allowed for the avoidance of a military escalation in eastern Europe. China and the United States showed their restraint despite tensions in the Asia-Pacific, including the Hong Kong issue. A new global economic crisis, expected for some time by many experts, did not happen. The lack of global economic shocks or new regional wars in 2019 does not mean that knots straining relations among leading world powers were loosened or solved. These knots will remain a constant source of tension on the international level until they are removed within the framework of diplomatic mechanisms or cut as a result of a large military conflict or a series of smaller military conflicts.

Chances seem high that 2020 will become the year when a match will be set to the wick of the international powder keg, or that it will be the last relatively calm year in the first quarter of the 21st century. The collapse of international defense treaties and de-escalation mechanisms, as well as accumulating contradictions and conflicts among world nations give rise to an especial concern.

Syria 2019: A Year of Major Transformations

Mohammad Eid

Damascus – The year 2019 can be described as one of unimaginable transformations in Syria.

The last twelve months have been characterized by several major events in that country, including the collapse of Daesh as an integrated terrorist body. In the months that followed, US President Donald Trump backtracked on his promised withdrawal from Syria and deployed American troops to occupy Syrian oil wells. Meanwhile, Turkey expanded its invasion of northern Syria before the Syrian army deployed in the northeast of the country for the first time in seven years following an agreement with al-Qasd militias. The Syrian army was busy in other areas, recording significant advances in Hama’s northern countryside as well as southern Idlib where it regained several important towns and villages.

Away from the battlefield, the country also saw significant developments on the political front with the launch of the long-awaited Constitutional Committee. The committee is designed to put the country on the path towards a political settlement.

Daesh collapses but remains a pretext for occupation

The beginning of the year 2019 witnessed the fall of the last stronghold of the terrorist organization Daesh. The stronghold in the town of Al-Baghouz in Deir Ezzor’s countryside was overrun by Kurdish forces with the support of American warplanes. Prior to the Al-Baghouz news event, the Syrian army that spearheaded the fight against the Takfiri organization for years pushed Daesh out of large areas in the Syrian Badia.

As the year drew to a close, Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was assassinated in Idlib following a US operation. The assassination was shrouded in mystery as the US monopolized the narrative surrounding the killing. Meanwhile, the supposed threat of Daesh returning continues to be used by the Americans as a pretext to remain in Syria even though Trump announced on several occasions that he wanted to withdraw US troops.

The army makes advances in Idlib and Hama

In mid 2019, the Syrian army launched a massive military campaign against armed terrorist organizations in the northern countryside of Hama and southern Idlib. As the terrorist groups collapsed, the army was able to recapture the city of Kafr Nabudah in the Hama countryside, surrounding the Turkish observation post in Murak. The army’s advances in Idlib province culminated with the recapture of the town of Khan Shaykhun – a terrorist stronghold. Terrorists were plagued by infighting that saw the Nusra Front [Jabhat al-Nusra] eliminate the Army of Glory faction [Jaysh al-Izza] and Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement.

A new Turkish invasion as the Syrian army returns to the borders and “Israel” runs wild

The collapse of the terrorist groups in Idlib clarified a failed investment for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It prompted him to compensate by announcing another incursion into Syrian territory under the pretext of removing what he called the Kurdish terrorist threat. He had an agreement with the Americans as they announced their withdrawal from Syria, abandoning their assets including al-Qasd militias. However, the US backtracked from its announcement to withdraw due to its ambitions to seize Syrian oil, so it deployed its forces around the wells.

Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed an understanding in Sochi where the Russians mapped their role as a policeman for the region to curb the Turkish incursion into Syria and to assure that it implements the Adna agreement signed in 1998 and stresses on respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Immediately, the Syrian army moved to the Turkish-Syrian border, entering for the first time in seven years following an agreement with Syrian Kurds that have been abandoned by the US and threatened by Turkey.

Meanwhile, the Zionist enemy continued its policy aimed at raising the morale of its terrorist agents, so it carried out several raids on Syrian territory. However, the Syrian air defenses were able to thwart these attacks by intercepting a large number of “Israeli” missiles.

The Constitutional Committee sees the light of day

Moscow’s strategic patience in its relationship with Ankara bore fruit after the latter was left with few options. Hence, it reluctantly proceeded to implement part of its commitments, both in Sochi with the Russians and in Astana. The move showed Ankara as more of a guarantor and prevented it from investing in terrorist groups after the Syrian army tightened its noose around the militants.

Thus, the work of the Constitutional Committee between the national delegation supported by the Syrian government and delegations of civil society and the opposition began. But the latter adopted suggestions that were based on the Turkish and American desires that the national delegation strongly rejected.

The fourteenth and final round of the Astana agreement renewed the recognition of the legitimate right of Damascus to combat terrorism. But what is new was Russia formally firing at the autonomous administration project after confirming that the country would be centrally managed from Damascus.

Despite allowing the Syrian army to deploy in their areas, the separatists appeared to be under the mercy of President Trump’s mood swings and a limited US military presence to exploit Syrian oil wells.

Difficult economic circumstances did not prevent an increase in wages

Syrians experienced further economic hardship in 2019. This was made more difficult by Washington’s Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act that it slapped on Syrian companies dealing with the government. Nevertheless, at the end of the year, Syria saw a balanced increase in salaries and wages, the largest in its history. Damascus was more open to neighboring countries and its allies in terms of addressing the economic situation. Tehran was at the forefront of those activating joint agreements between the two countries. Despite US sanctions, Iran provided support for Damascus in all fields including reconstruction and housing, supplying oil, setting up joint projects and infrastructure.

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GUARDIAN, ATLANTIC CONTRIBUTOR ACTS AS A SYRIAN TERRORIST MOUTHPIECE ON TWITTER, AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT YOU’RE A RUSSIAN STOOGE

December 27, 2019, RT.com

-by Eva Bartlett

Eva Bartlett

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).

FILE PHOTO: Al-Nusra fighter in Syria ©  AFP/ Rami Al-Sayed

Giving a sympathetic platform to a terrorist is reprehensible at best, downright criminal at worst, and definitely a bad look for a ‘respected’ media contributor. Oh, it’s for bashing Assad and the Russians? Go ahead, then.

A funny thing happened recently on Twitter. A journalist who contributes to the Guardian, Foreign Policy and the Atlantic tweeted—in a long thread peppered with photos of Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, the leader of an Al-Qaeda branch in Syria—about “the force that dominates” Idlib. Hassan Hassan’s initial tweet coyly avoided mentioning that this force is Al-Qaeda in Syria.

And no, its not just us Russian bots who say that Idlib is infested with Al-Qaeda: former US special envoy, Brett McGurk, deemed Idlib “the largest Al-Qaeda safe haven since 9/11.”

The thread smacked of giving a platform to terrorist propaganda. After extensively quoting Jolani, Hassan weighed in with his own thoughts on the situation in Syria and his Al-Qaeda “rebels”.

Aside from whitewashing designated terrorists, the point of his thread was clearly a continuation of the anti-Russia hysteria corporate journalists are so rabidly devoted to.

These latest anti-Russia, anti-Syria headlines and tweets echo those  which abounded when eastern Ghouta and Aleppo were being liberated from  terrorists. Go to Aleppo now and you’ll find a city that just celebrated  Christmas and is rebuilding, and indeed rebuilding all over Syria, in areas once occupied by terrorists.

More importantly, liberated areas are no longer ruled by fanatics who imprison, torture, starve and assassinate civilians. Syrian women I interviewed  earlier this year in Sinjar, Idlib, spoke of being tormented by  terrorists in Idlib, and called for the Syrian army to liberate all of  Idlib.

But war propagandists don’t care about those civilians…

Backslapping and Rebranding

The  same corporate media vultures who bandy about self-righteously furious  expressions for all things Russian and Syrian are normalizing terrorists  in Syria, rendering ISIS into mere militants”, “fighting for survival”, as was the case in a recent Washington Post ode to ISIS.

So the US and allies invaded Iraq under the pretext of fighting Al-Qaeda, largely destroyed that country, killed untold numbers of Iraqi civilians, maimed untold numbers more… and now the same designated terror group, Al-Qaeda, is suddenly a fuzzy li’l militant?

Likewise, a recent Bloomberg article describes the bandits ruling in Libya (with its slave markets – thanks, American humanitarian intervention!) as an “internationally recognized” government, and the terrorists heading there to create more chaos as Syrian “rebels”.

Extreme Xenophobia

Unsurprisingly, when war propagandists get called out by thinking people, they deflect blame onto Russia. A perusal of replies to Hassan’s tweets reveals many (non-Russian) people object to war propaganda and the platforms that propagate it.

Hassan  gets a sticker for his efforts to do best in the Russophobia challenge.  He went beyond merely hurling the same old unoriginal accusations at  Russia, and denigrated the entire nation as “repulsive”. Classy.

Of course, when many on Twitter pointed out his xenophobia, he scrambled to reword.

But that’s the thing about Twitter: no edits. The vitriol is out there, there’s no undoing the racism.

Blatant war propagandists like him have, for years, acted as  cheerleaders and whitewashed the civilian-murdering terrorists in Syria,  slandered  those of us who challenge war propaganda and bother to give platforms  to civilians instead of terrorists, and relentlessly hounded Russian  diplomats and media.

The Russophobia, and indeed xenophobia, has  gotten preposterous. It is Russia that is actually helping Syria fight  terrorism, it’s Russia that also sends humanitarian aid, it’s Russia  that helps open humanitarian corridors for Syrian civilians, it’s Russia  that is aiding Syria in rebuilding, and it’s Russian sappers who have  done most of the demining of areas formerly occupied by terrorists.

And it is not Russia who financed, backed, and whitewashed terrorism: that honour goes to the US and its allies.

Increasingly,  people on Twitter are calling the war orchestrators and their  propagandists out. Of course,they must all just be Russian trolls, da?

President Assad’s Banned Interview with Rai 24: Europe Key Perpetrator of Terror in Syria

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad interview 31 October 2019

 

On 26 November, Syria’s President Bashar al Assad gave an interview to RaiNews24, which was supposed to have been aired in Italy on 2 December. For reasons known only to the inner elite, the Italian news station decided to censor it, and refused to give the Syrian Arab Republic an explanation for the abrupt decision. The government released it 9 December.

The interview was conducted in English. The video with Arabic captions is provided by the Syrian Presidency; the transcript by SANA.

Question 1: Mr. President, thanks for having us here.  Let us know please, what’s the situation in Syria now, what’s the situation on the ground, what is happening in the country?

President Assad:  If we want to talk about Syrian society: the situation is much, much better, as we learned so many lessons from this war and I think the future of Syria is promising; we are going to come out of this war stronger.

Talking about the situation on the ground: The Syrian Army has been advancing for the last few years and has liberated many areas from the terrorists, there still remains Idleb where you have al-Nusra that’s being supported by the Turks, and you have the northern part of Syria where the Turks have invaded our territory last month.

So, regarding the political situation, you can say it’s becoming much more complicated, because you have many more players that are involved in the Syrian conflict in order to make it drag on and to turn it into a war of attrition.

Question 2:  When you speak about liberating, we know that there is a military vision on that, but the point is: how is the situation now for the people that decided to be back in society?  The process of reconciliation, now at what point?  Is it working or not?

President Assad: Actually, the methodology that we adopted when we wanted to create let’s say, a good atmosphere – we called it reconciliation, for the people to live together, and for those people who lived outside the control of government areas to go back to the order of law and institutions. It was to give amnesty to anyone, who gives up his armament and obey the law.  The situation is not complicated regarding this issue, if you have the chance to visit any area, you’ll see that life is getting back to normal.

The problem wasn’t people fighting with each other; it wasn’t like the Western narrative may have tried to show – as Syrians fighting with each other, or as they call it a “civil war,” which is misleading.  The situation was terrorists taking control of areas, and implementing their rules.  When you don’t have those terrorists, people will go back to their normal life and live with each other.  There was no sectarian war, there was no ethnical war, there was no political war; it was terrorists supported by outside powers, they have money and armaments, and they occupy those areas.

Question 3: Aren’t you afraid that this kind of ideology that took place and, you know, was the basis of everyday life for people for so many years, in some ways can stay in the society and sooner or later will be back?

President Assad: This is one of the main challenges that we’ve been facing. What you’re asking about is very correct.  You have two problems.  Those areas that were out of the control of government were ruled by two things: chaos, because there is no law, so people – especially the younger generation – know nothing about the state and law and institutions.

The second thing, which is deeply rooted in the minds, is the ideology, the dark ideology, the Wahabi ideology – ISIS or al-Nusra or Ahrar al-Cham, or whatever kind of these Islamist terrorist extremist ideologies.

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NYT suggested ‘rebels’ stop showing the world their atrocities, while The Guardian appeared not to have noticed this one. Far left, Italian national Saqar, about to murder kidnapped Syrian soldiers in Idlib, 2012.

Now we have started dealing with this reality, because when you liberate an area you have to solve this problem otherwise what’s the meaning of liberating?  The first part of the solution is religious, because this ideology is a religious ideology, and the Syrian religious clerics, or let’s say the religious institution in Syria, is making a very strong effort in this regard, and they have succeeded; they succeeded at helping those people understanding the real religion, not the religion that they’ve been taught by al-Nusra or ISIS or other factions.

Question 4: So basically, clerics and mosques are part of this reconciliation process?

President Assad:  This is the most important part.  The second part is the schools.  In schools, you have teachers, you have education, and you have the national curriculum, and this curriculum is very important to change the minds of those young generations.  Third, you have the culture, you have the role of arts, intellectuals, and so on.  In some areas, it’s still difficult to play that role, so it was much easier for us to start with the religion, second with the schools.

Question 5: Mr. President, let me just go back to politics for an instant. You mentioned Turkey, okay? Russia has been your best ally these years, it’s not a secret, but now Russia is compromising with Turkey on some areas that are part of Syrian area, so how do you assess this?

President Assad: To understand the Russian role, we have to understand the Russian principles.  For Russia, they believe that international law – and international order based on that law – is in the interest of Russia and in the interest of everybody in the world.  So, for them, by supporting Syria they are supporting international law; this is one point.  Secondly, being against the terrorists is in the interest of the Russian people and the rest of the world.

So, being with Turkey and making this compromise doesn’t mean they support the Turkish invasion; rather they wanted to play a role in order to convince the Turks that you have to leave Syria.  They are not supporting the Turks, they don’t say “this is a good reality, we accept it and Syria must accept it.”  No, they don’t.  But because of the American negative role and the Western negative role regarding Turkey and the Kurds, the Russians stepped in, in order to balance that role, to make the situation… I wouldn’t say better, but less bad if you want to be more precise.  So, in the meantime, that’s their role.  In the future, their position is very clear: Syrian integrity and Syrian sovereignty.  Syrian integrity and sovereignty are in contradiction with the Turkish invasion, that is very obvious and clear.

Question 6: So, you’re telling me that the Russians could compromise, but Syria is not going to compromise with Turkey. I mean, the relation is still quite tense.

President Assad:  No, even the Russians didn’t make a compromise regarding the sovereignty.  No, they deal with reality.  Now, you have a bad reality, you have to be involved to make some… I wouldn’t say compromise because it’s not a final solution.  It could be a compromise regarding the short-term situation, but in the long-term or the mid-term, Turkey should leave. There is no question about it.

Question 7: And in the long-term, any plan of discussions between you and Mr. Erdogan?

President Assad:  I wouldn’t feel proud if I have to someday.  I would feel disgusted to deal with those kinds of opportunistic Islamists, not Muslims, Islamists – it’s another term, it’s a political term.  But again, I always say: my job is not to be happy with what I’m doing or not happy or whatever.  It’s not about my feelings, it’s about the interests of Syria, so wherever our interests go, I will go.

Question 8: In this moment, when Europe looks at Syria, apart from the considerations about the country, there are two major issues: one is refugees, and the other one is the Jihadists or foreign fighters coming back to Europe. How do you see these European worries?

President Assad:  We have to start with a simple question: who created this problem?  Why do you have refugees in Europe?  It’s a simple question: because of terrorism that’s being supported by Europe – and of course the United States and Turkey and others – but Europe was the main player in creating chaos in Syria.  So, what goes around comes around.

syria

Question 9: Why do you say it was the main player?

President Assad:  Because they publicly supported, the EU supported the terrorists in Syria from day one, week one or from the very beginning.  They blamed the Syrian government, and some regimes like the French regime sent armaments, they said – one of their officials – I think their Minister of Foreign Affairs, maybe Fabius said “we send.”  They sent armaments; they created this chaos.  That’s why a lot of people find it difficult to stay in Syria; millions of people couldn’t live here so they had to get out of Syria.

Question 10: In this moment, in the region, there are turmoil, and there is a certain chaos.  One of the other allies of Syria is Iran, and the situation there is getting complicated.  Does it have any reflection on the situation in Syria?

President Assad:  Definitely, whenever you have chaos, it’s going to be bad for everyone, it’s going to have side-effects and repercussions, especially when there is external interference.  If it’s spontaneous, if you talk about demonstrations and people asking for reform or for a better situation economically or any other rights, that’s positive.  But when it’s for vandalism and destroying and killing and interfering from outside powers, then no – it’s definitely nothing but negative, nothing but bad, and a danger on everyone in this region.

Question 11: Are you worried about what’s happening in Lebanon, which is really the real neighbor?

President Assad:  Yes, in the same way.  Of course, Lebanon would affect Syria more than any other country because it is our direct neighbor.  But again, if it’s spontaneous and it’s about reform and getting rid of the sectarian political system, that would be good for Lebanon.  Again, that depends on the awareness of the Lebanese people in order not to allow anyone from the outside to try to manipulate the spontaneous movement or demonstrations in Lebanon.

Question 12:  Let’s go back to what is happening in Syria.  In June, Pope Francis wrote you a letter asking you to pay attention and to respect the population, especially in Idleb where the situation is still very tense, because there is fighting there, and when it comes even to the way prisoners are treated in jails.  Did you answer him, and what did you answer?

President Assad: The letter of the Pope was about his worry for civilians in Syria and I had the impression that maybe the picture in the Vatican is not complete.  That’s to be expected, since the mainstream narrative in the West is about this “bad government” killing the “good people;” as you see and hear in the same media – every bullet of the Syrian Army and every bomb only kills civilians and only hospitals! they don’t kill terrorists as they target those civilians! which is not correct.

So, I responded with a letter explaining to the Pope the reality in Syria – as we are the most, or the first to be concerned about civilian lives, because you cannot liberate an area while the people are against you.  You cannot talk about liberation while the civilians are against you or the society.  The most crucial part in liberating any area militarily is to have the support of the public in that area or in the region in general.  That has been clear for the last nine years and that’s against our interests.

Question 13: But that kind of call, in some ways, made you also think again about the importance of protecting civilians and people of your country.

President Assad:  No, this is something we think about every day, not only as morals, principles and values but as interests.  As I just mentioned, without this support – without public support, you cannot achieve anything… you cannot advance politically, militarily, economically and in every aspect.  We couldn’t withstand this war for nine years without the public support and you cannot have public support while you’re killing civilians.  This is an equation, this is a self-evident equation, nobody can refute it.  So, that’s why I said, regardless of this letter, this is our concern.

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Beloved President Bashar al Assad surrounded by thousands of Syrians

But again, the Vatican is a state, and we think that the role of any state – if they worry about those civilians, is to go to the main reason.  The main reason is the Western role in supporting the terrorists, and it is the sanctions on the Syrian people that have made the situation much worse – and this is another reason for the refugees that you have in Europe now.  You don’t want refugees but at the same time you create the situation or the atmosphere that will tell them “go outside Syria, somewhere else,” and of course they will go to Europe.  So, this state, or any state, should deal with the reasons and we hope the Vatican can play that role within Europe and around the world; to convince many states that you should stop meddling in the Syrian issue, stop breaching international law.  That’s enough, we only need people to follow international law.  The civilians will be safe, the order will be back, everything will be fine.  Nothing else.

Question 14: Mr. President, you’ve been accused several times of using chemical weapons, and this has been the instrument of many decisions and a key point, the red line, for many decisions. One year ago, more than one year ago, there has been the Douma event that has been considered another red line.  After that, there has been bombings, and it could it have been even worse, but something stopped.  These days, through WikiLeaks, it’s coming out that something wrong in the report could have taken place.  So, nobody yet is be able to say what has happened, but something wrong in reporting what has happened could have taken place.

President Assad:  We have always – since the beginning of this narrative regarding the chemical weapons – we have said that we didn’t use it; we cannot use it, it’s impossible to be used in our situation for many reasons, let’s say – logistical reasons.

Intervention: Give me one.

President Assad: One reason, a very simple one: when you’re advancing, why would you use chemical weapons?!  We are advancing, why do we need to use it?!  We are in a very good situation so why use it, especially in 2018?  This is one reason.

Second, very concrete evidence that refutes this narrative: when you use chemical weapons – this is a weapon of mass destruction, you talk about thousands of dead or at least hundreds.  That never happened, never – you only have these videos of staged chemical weapons attacks.  In the recent report that you’ve mentioned, there’s a mismatch between what we saw in the video and what they saw as technicians or as experts.  The amount of chlorine that they’ve been talking about: first of all, chlorine is not a mass destruction material, second, the amount that they found is the same amount that you can have in your house, it exists in many households and used maybe for cleaning and whatever.  The same amount exactly.  That’s what the OPCW organisation did – they faked and falsified the report, just because the Americans wanted them to do so.  So, fortunately, this report proved that everything we said during the last few years, since 2013, is correct.  We were right, they were wrong. This is proof, this is concrete proof regarding this issue.  So, again, the OPCW is biased, is being politicized and is being immoral, and those organisations that should work in parallel with the United Nations to create more stability around the world – they’ve been used as American arms and Western arms to create more chaos.

Question 15: Mr. President, after nine years of war, you are speaking about the mistakes of the others.  I would like you to speak about your own mistakes, if any.  Is there something you would have done in a different way, and which is the lesson learned that can help your country?

President Assad:  Definitely, for when you talk about doing anything, you always find mistakes; this is human nature. But when you talk about political practice, you have two things: you have strategies or big decisions, and you have tactics – or in this context, the implementation. So, our strategic decisions or main decisions were to stand against terrorism, to make reconciliation and to stand against the external meddling in our affairs.  Today, after nine years, we still adopt the same policy; we are more adherent to this policy.  If we thought it was wrong, we would have changed it; actually no, we don’t think there is anything wrong in this policy.  We did our mission; we implemented the constitution by protecting the people.

Now, if you talk about mistakes in implementation, of course you have so many mistakes.  I think if you want to talk about the mistakes regarding this war, we shouldn’t talk about the decisions taken during the war because the war – or part of it, is a result of something before.

Two things we faced during this war: the first one was extremism.  The extremism started in this region in the late 60s and accelerated in the 80s, especially the Wahabi ideology.  If you want to talk about mistakes in dealing with this issue: then yes, I will say we were very tolerant of something very dangerous.  This is a big mistake we committed over decades; I’m talking about different governments, including myself before this war.

The second one, when you have people who are ready to revolt against the order, to destroy public properties, to commit vandalism and so on, they work against their country, they are ready to go and work for foreign powers – foreign intelligence, they ask for external military interference against their country.  So, this is another question: how did we have those?  If you ask me how, I would tell you that before the war we had more than 50,000 outlaws that weren’t captured by the police for example; for those outlaws, their natural enemy is the government because they don’t want to go to prison.

Question 16: And how about also the economic situation? Because part of it – I don’t know if it was a big or small part of it – but part of it has also been the discontent and the problems of population in certain areas in which economy was not working.  Is it a lesson learned somewhere?

President Assad:  It could be a factor, but definitely not a main factor.  Some people talk about the four years of drought that pushed the people to leave their land in the rural areas to go to the city… it could be a problem, but this is not the main problem.  They talked about the liberal policy… we didn’t have a liberal policy, we’re still socialist, we still have a public sector – a very big public sector in government.  You cannot talk about liberal policy while you have a big public sector.  We had growth, good growth.

Of course, in the implementation of our policy, again, you have mistakes.  How can you create equal opportunities between people?  Between rural areas and between the cities?  When you open up the economy, the cities will benefit more, that will create more immigration from rural areas to the cities… these are factors, that could play some role, but this is not the issue.  In the rural areas where you have more poverty, the money of the Qataris played a more actual role than in the cities, that’s natural.  You pay them in half an hour what they get in one week; that’s very good for them.

Question 17: We are almost there, but there are two more questions that I want to ask you.  One is about reconstruction, and reconstruction is going to be very costly.  How can you imagine to afford this reconstruction, who could be your allies in reconstruction?

President Assad:  We don’t have a big problem with that.  Talking that Syria has no money… no, actually Syrians have a lot of money; the Syrian people around the world have a lot of money, and they want to come and build their country.  Because when you talk about building the country, it is not giving money to the people, it’s about getting benefit – it’s a business.  So, many people, not only Syrians, want to do business in Syria.  So, talking about where you can have funds for this reconstruction, we already have, but the problem is that these sanctions prevent those businessmen or companies from coming and working in Syria.  In spite of that, we started and in spite of that, some foreign companies have started finding ways to evade these sanctions and we have started planning.  It’s going to be slow, without the sanctions we wouldn’t have a problem with funding.

Question 18:  Ending on a very personal note, Mr. President; do you feel like a survivor?

President Assad:  If you want to talk about a national war like this, where nearly every city has been harmed by terrorism or external bombardment and other things, then you can talk about all the Syrians as survivors.  I think this is human nature: to be a survivor.

Intervention:  And you yourself?

President Assad:  I’m a part of those Syrians.  I cannot be disconnected from them; I have the same feeling.  Again, it’s not about being a strong person who is a survivor.  If you don’t have this atmosphere, this society, or this incubator to survive, you cannot survive.  It’s collective; it’s not a single person, it’s not a one-man show.

Journalist:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

President Assad:  Thank you.

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Syria President Dr. Bashar al-Assad: “Every inch of Syria will be liberated”

Soon after the Syrian Presidency released the interview, Twitter placed the account on restriction:

Nomad@NoxFemme

Right after an interview with Assad about the OPCW on Chemical weapons the @Presidency_Sy account was restricted

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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’s Pharmaceutical Industry Rebuilds Following the Defeat of US-NATO Sponsored Terrorists

Global Research, December 03, 2019

The first factory of its kind in Syria and the Arab world opened November 21, 2019, in Damascus.  Central Pharmaceutical Industries Company, ‘Mainpharma’, celebrated the opening of its factory for the manufacturing of anticancer drugs at Adra Industrial City, in the Damascus countryside.  Syrian Health Minister, Dr. Nizar Yazigi, said that the number of authorized pharmaceutical laboratories has reached 96 laboratories, which cover over 90 percent of domestic needs.  20 additional factories for pharmaceutical manufacturing are in the pipeline for Adra Industrial City.  Adnan Jaafu, chief executive of the company, said the factory will produce 70 percent of the entire spectrum of chemotherapy drugs, which will cover the domestic needs, and the excess will be exported. Syria imports all medicine for the treatment of tumors and vaccines from abroad. 

The losses of the pharmaceutical industry due to war are 152 billion Syrian lira.  Over 100 factories are awaiting the Ministry of Health (MOH) approval. Russia, China, Cuba, India, and Iran have contracted to sell the raw materials to Syria for medicine production.

“The MOH gives free medicines to 1,864 health centers, and 150 hospitals around Syria.” said Dr. Yazgi to ‘RT Arabic’ on November 16, 2019.  The state-run hospitals are treating patients free of charge; however, the challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry include the increase in the production costs, because of the fallen currency rate.

US-NATO backed terrorist destruction

The conflict in Syria, which began in 2011, gradually affected the 3 areas with the highest concentration of pharmaceutical factories: Aleppo, Damascus, and Homs, which caused a severe shortage of medicines in Syria.  The US-NATO backed terrorists concentrated on destroying infrastructure, and businesses.  The terrorists made life unbearable for civilians, as the factories closed down because of attacks, and the employees lost their jobs and income, which in turn led to the mass migration of Syrian refugees, most of whom were economic migrants, having lost their income because of the terrorists.  As the factories stopped production, medicines were no longer available, and yet importing medicines were prevented by the US-EU sanctions.  5,000 pharmacies and 24 pharmaceutical factories stopped service during the war, and in Aleppo, the industry was almost wiped out.

Terrorists looting for the Turkish government

Fares Al-Shihabi, Member of Parliament, and President of the Aleppo Chamber of Industry said in August 2012, about 20 medicine factories in Aleppo, and many other factories were exposed to theft, looting, and kidnapping, noting that the production constitutes more than 50 percent of Syria’s production of pharmaceuticals. Shihabi said that two of the owners of these facilities were kidnapped, and many of the industrialists began to close their businesses and leave the country.  The spokesman for the United Nations in Geneva, Tariq Jassar Fitch, said that “a large number of factories closed, which led to a severe shortage of medicines,” adding that the country is in an urgent need of medicine for tuberculosis, hepatitis, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and kidney disease.  Iran provided Syria with quantities of drugs worth 1.2 million US dollars for the treatment of chronic diseases.

In January 2013, Shihabi stressed that the Aleppo Chamber of Industry had decisive evidence on the involvement of the Turkish government in stealing production lines and machines from hundreds of factories in Aleppo city and smuggling them into Turkey, against international laws. Syria formally accused Turkey of looting factories in the industrial city of Aleppo and sent letters to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council.

“Some 1,000 factories in the city of Aleppo have been plundered, and their stolen goods transferred to Turkey with the full knowledge and facilitation of the Turkish government,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in the letters.

By 2014, Aleppo industrialists said, more than 300 factories were plundered and their equipment sold in Turkey, and they may take Turkey to The Hague, to settle their accounts at the International Court of Justice.

“The basic reason for the fall of Aleppo and Idlib to armed groups is the terrorists sent from Turkey and the support Turkey gives to them.” said a senior Syrian commander.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) took back Sheikh Najjar, in Aleppo,  in July 2014.

 “They had occupied 80% of the factories.  It took us 48 hours to take back Sheikh Najjar. They destroyed most businesses by setting off their booby traps as they were fleeing”, said the commander.

Hazim Accan, the director-general of the Sheikh Najjar Industrial City, said

“There are 963 production facilities, mostly textiles, food, chemicals, medicines, aluminum, iron and plastics. Today 366 of them are operational. They were badly damaged. Electricity and water systems collapsed. Half of the non-operational facilities were dismantled and taken to Turkey.”

US-EU sanctions prevent medicine exports to Syria

According to Habib Abboud, Syrian deputy health minister for pharmaceutical affairs, the sanctions US-EU imposed on Syria involved the pharmaceutical industry, by preventing exporting raw materials to Syria, even though medicines are purely humanitarian.

“Despite the fact that this is medicine and it should be away from any sanctions, many countries have imposed sanctions and restrictions on Syria,” he said.

Syria has lost certain types of drugs, including those related to deadly and chronic diseases, such as: “Nitroglycerin” for minor strokes attack, “Daflon” for veins’ disorders, “Altroxan”, “Thiamasul” a medicine for the thyroid gland, asthma sprays, “Vlozon”, “Azmirol”, as well as cardiac patches “Netroderm”, and most of these have no alternative.

Pre-war situation

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics in Syria, in 2010 there were 70 plants producing pharmaceuticals, and only 2 were state-owned.   These provided more than 91% of the domestic needs: especially psychiatric, dermal, gynecological, ophthalmic medications and children’s syrup.   At that time, blood derivatives, cancer drugs, and vaccines were imported, yet the prices were affordable for all levels of society.  The pharmaceutical industry employed around 30,000 workers and Syria held 2nd place among Arab countries in covering its local needs, as well as held the 2nd place among Arab countries in the volume of exports of medicines.  The Syrian medicines ranked #1 in Yemen and Iraq, and had been exported to 57 countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and had been used by UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

Present situation

Today, the pharmaceutical industry in Syria is on the rebound, but hampered by the post-war economic crisis, US-EU sanctions which continue to prevent importing drugs or the raw materials to make drugs, and the devalued Syrian currency, which makes drug prices higher than many consumers can afford. ‘Diamond Pharma’ factory in the countryside of Damascus was able to re-open after the SAA fully liberated the Damascus countryside in May 2018. As of July 2019, Aleppo has managed to complete 1,216 projects of rehabilitation to infrastructure, and this has allowed more than 15,000 industrial facilities to re-open after years of closure.  565 facilities are now in production in Sheikh Najjar Industrial Zone.  Syrian businesses have fought back against the US-NATO attack for ‘regime change’, which has failed, but succeeded in destroying much of Syria and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, injuries, and displacements.

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This article was originally published on Mideast Discourse.

Steven Sahiounie is a political commentator. 

Featured image is from http://www.news.cn

Related

600 Establishments Resume Work at Aleppo Industrial City, Sheikh Najjar

 

Aleppo Industrial City - Sheikh Najjar

Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city and the region’s economic power horse is getting back on its feet again, despite all the efforts by the US and its NATO stooges and terrorists.

It’s moving forward slowly but steadily, with over 600 establishments resuming work at the once-thriving Aleppo Industrial City at Sheikh Najjar, which Turkey’s madman Erdogan and his anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood criminals looted to its skeleton and then destroyed like all other areas infested by followers of these two cults.

The following report by SANA from the Aleppo Industrial City at Sheikh Najjar reveals the latest updates there:

The video is also available on BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/SiPi5BZXiLVj/

The English transcript of the above video:

Investment in the Sheikh Najjar industrial city in Aleppo is growing steadily in light of providing the necessary requirements for the industry in terms of infrastructure services and the facilities granted for the reconstruction of facilities affected by terrorism, and building new blocks and supplying them with production lines.

Hazem Ajan – Director of Sheikh Najjar Industrial City: After the city completed most of its service projects for production facilities and delivered basic services of electricity and water to the production workshops in the industrial city we moved on with our plans to strategic projects in the city like the Exhibition City that provides basic promotion of the city’s products in particular and local products in general, because it was selected as an exhibition city at the level of Aleppo province.

The project of labor housing has also started on an area of 258 hectares in coordination with the Public Housing Establishment, we are currently coordinating with the Union of Artisans in the first handicraft area, which provides about 500 artisans plots.

600 industrial establishments currently operating took off in the Industrial City, 50% of them are textile establishments, followed by engineering industries with about 150 establishments and the rest is distributed to the chemical and food industries.

Hussam Salahia – Owner of a textile facility: After the liberation of the industrial city we returned and renewed our work and now produce bathrobes and dyeing yarns, our yarns industry is national product.

Anas Dabbagh – owner of a facility for engineering industries and heaters: We were working before the war and despite the crisis and the damage done to us where the factory was sabotaged, we re-repaired and worked and continue to work. We produce everything related to heaters, we provide the needs for the local market and we export to Lebanon and other countries.

Omar Oso – Owner of Food Industries Establishment: We manufacture tahini and halawa in addition to jam. Production stages start with sesame, we add sugar to make halawah.

End of the English transcript.

Syria is under unprecedented draconian sanctions by the USA and a host of countries under its control, these sanctions are imposed to punish the Syrian people for not accepting the US hegemony like its other slaves around the world and to impede the rebuilding of the country after almost 9 years of the US-led War of Terror.

Assad to Paris Match: France Should Return to International Law

 

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
Syrian President Dr. Bashar al Assad explained that France needs to return to International Law, in Paris Match interview.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad received Régis Le Sommier in Damascus, for one of those rare interviews given to western journalists whose countries engage in war crimes against Syria. Le Sommier, co-editor of the Paris Match weekly, immediately reminded Dr. Assad of their meeting in November 2014. He did, however, show some decency by not mentioning his book, Assad, based on the earlier interview, and about which Paris Match once remarked, How can a journalist face up to a tyrant? Exclude him from his scope of investigation? Or approach him, try to grasp his mechanics? The question arises regularly at the whim of the dictators who parade at the head of certain states. 

It is fascinating to view the derivative outcomes of these “rare” interviews. Le Sommier created a book, published in 2018. In May 2013, Marcelo Cantelmi used his ‘rare interview’ to launch a scathing attack on Syria and its President al Assad, before releasing dribbles of the interview, over a few days. In January 2015, Foreign Affairs managing editor, Jonathan Tepperman, used his rare interview to also launch a series of anti-Syria propaganda reports — including his complaints that the presidential palace was not bullet-ridden, and rat-infested — via his report on the interview and his being interviewed about the interview…weeks before the actual interview was published.

Le Sommier was discreet enough not to mention Paris Match‘s sweet report on Belgian Michel, armed terrorist in Syria, who returned home to a more simple life as a baker’s assistant. It is possible that Belgian Michel would be a household deity in the western world, had it not been for those annoying terrorist attacks in Paris, mere weeks after that interview.

weapons-crimes-against-syria
Shortly before the attacks in France, Paris Match ran a lovely report on Belgian Michel’s life after returning from ”fighting’ in the SAR

On 27 November, Paris Match published its “exclusive” interview, except the fine print noted it was only exclusive “excerpts.” The bottom of the excerpted interview contains a clear warning, Toute reproduction interdite.

These excerpts shockingly missed significant points made by President Assad: France needs to turn to the standards of International Law; Erdogan is immorally threatening blackmail against Europe; terrorists against the Syrian state are subject to Syrian law.

It is a breach of International Law for one or more countries to arm an insurrection against another country. It is a breach of International Law to engage in military aggression against any country, except in self-defense. It is a breach of International Law for any country to deploy its military into another country, without that country’s explicit invitation.

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
President Assad tutors Le Sommier in International Law, 20 November 2019.

The bottom of the Paris Match excerpts contains a clear warning, Toute reproduction interdite. One might wonder if this prohibition is a Kafkaesque authorization for other media to engage in monkey dung flinging journalism, as one of the UK tabloids immediately did.

Daily Mail flung its dung in one of the most outrageous headlines since the NATO Spring was dumped into Syria: Jihadis face execution without trial in Syrian jails as Assad says foreign ISIS members will be hanged. Nowhere in the Paris Match interview does Dr. Assad say such a thing. He says, We have courts specialized in terrorism and they will be prosecuted.

Daily Mail continues to fling more dung, hitting peak colonialism in wailing about the Brit terrorist John Letts being stuck in an overcrowded jail — poor baby, let us wail for him and ignore the UK’s part in dumping their human garbage into Syria, shall we?

UK, US Holding Tabqa Dam Hostage in Syrian Negotiations?
English terrorist, John Letts, at Syria’s Tabqa Dam.

Continuing with its coprophilia journalism, Daily Mail reached back in, and flung even more, this time in the form of the Saydnaya overcrowded, “torture” jail, as Syria is that paradoxical Utopia where there are no actual criminals, but the prisons are overflowing, nonetheless.

image-saydnaya prison
The Saydnaya Prison building.

The following is the transcript of the Paris Match Le Sommier interview with Syria’s President Bashar al Assad:

Question 1:  Good morning.  I met you five years ago, specifically in November 2014.  At that time, your government controlled only a third of the country.  Today, your army has returned to the border regions with Turkey.  Do you feel that you have won the war?

President Assad:  Let’s be precise, it is not my war to win or lose.  The narrative pushed by the West is: the war of the President who wants to remain in office; while in fact, it is a national war – the Syrians’ war against terrorism.

You are correct in your statement that we have made significant progress in this war, since we last met, but that doesn’t mean that we have won.  We will win when terrorism is eliminated.  It is still present in certain areas in the north, and what is more dangerous is that support for this terrorism still continues from Turkey, and from Western countries – whether it’s the United States, Britain, or France.  That’s why it is too early to talk about victory.

Question 2:  Do you really think that France continues to support terrorism?

President Assad:  Definitely; in previous periods, they were supplying weapons.  This may have changed in the previous months, or last year, but let’s put things into perspective: when French forces come to Syria without an invitation from the legitimate government, this is occupation.  There’s no real difference between supporting terrorism and providing military forces to occupy a country.  It is the same context, but with different titles.

Intervention:  But the French came to support the Kurds who were fighting ISIS.  That was their mission.

President Assad:  But, can we send Syrian forces to fight terrorism in France, without the request of the French government?!  Globally, states are governed by international law, not by their intentions.  It is not enough to have the desire to fight terrorism; there are international rules for fighting terrorism, and of course, here, I am presuming that there are good intentions.  However, we do not believe that there are good intentions.  The Syrian government is fighting ISIS, why wasn’t it supported?  And why does the French government fight ISIS and yet support al-Nusra, when in fact they are both terrorist organisations?!

Question 3:  Perhaps you are referring to the period when Hollande was President of the Republic.  Actually, the French Foreign Minister, Fabius, himself said at a certain point that you do not deserve to remain alive.  What is the position now with Emmanuel Macron?  Have you felt a change in the French position?

President Assad:  In form yes, in substance no.  When there is occupation, it is one form of terrorism.; we need to acknowledge this fact.  We need to talk about change in substance not in form.  We are not interested in statements, but with action on the ground.

Question 4: How do you want change to happen on the ground?

President Assad:  Simply, by going back to international law.  We do not ask the French government for anything; we do not ask for political, economic, or security assistance.  We don’t need them, and we are capable of managing our own affairs in Syria.  But we want them to return to the international order, which doesn’t exist at the moment.

Today, there is international chaos.  We don’t want them to support the President, this is of no concern to me; it doesn’t concern us if they say he is good or bad, this is also a Syrian matter.  But what we do demand is that they stop supporting everything that could cause more bloodshed, killing, and suffering in Syria.

Question 5:  France faces a real problem related to the Jihadists in Syria.  Do you have Jihadists in your prisons?

President Assad:  Regardless of nationalities, this is a matter for the competent authorities who have the statistics.  But in any case, if there are Jihadists, they are subject to Syrian laws.

Intervention:  But you should know if there are French nationals in your prisons?

President Assad:  I don’t have any statistics.  For us, terrorists are terrorists, whether they were French or Syrian.

Question 6:  If you signed an agreement with the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units,” and the army entered that region and restored all this land, you’ll find that there are prisons, and in these prisons, there are 400 French Jihadists.  What are you going to do with them?

President Assad:  Every terrorist in the areas controlled by the Syrian state will be subject to Syrian law, and Syrian law is clear concerning terrorism.  We have courts specialized in terrorism and they will be prosecuted.

Intervention:  So, you don’t intend to repatriate them to Europe as Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done, for instance?

President Assad:  Erdogan is trying to blackmail Europe.  A self-respecting man doesn’t talk like this.  There are institutions and there are laws.  Extraditing terrorists or any convicted person to another state is subject to bilateral agreements between countries; but to release people from prison knowing that they are terrorists and sending them to other countries to kill civilians – this is an immoral act.

Question 7:  Going back to the ongoing conflict, eight years of war, the country devastated, whole cities destroyed, half the population are displaced or refugees, and hundreds of thousands of deaths.  Do you acknowledge that you wouldn’t have won this conflict or this war without Russian or Iranian support?

President Assad:  War is tough and not easy, and we are not a superpower.  We have been fighting against the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world.  Logically, there is no doubt that the support of our friends has reduced losses and helped us regain our territories.

If we are to ask, whether Syria would have, without this support, gone towards partition or full defeat?  This is a hypothetical question now, because sometimes it is difficult to predict the result of a tennis match involving two players, let alone a war with tens of players and hundreds of thousands of fighters!

Question 8: Have you thought, for a single moment during this war, of leaving, going into exile, for instance?

President Assad:  In fact I haven’t, for a simple reason: the option neither existed nor was it considered, it was only suggested by Western officials.  As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t exist and it doesn’t concern me.  I would not consider this option unless it was suggested by the Syrian people, and when I say the Syrian people, I mean the majority.  I do not mean a terrorist minority, nor a minority hatched up by foreign intelligence services, nor a minority of those who demonstrated because they were paid to do so by Qatar.  This option was never suggested by the majority and that’s why I remained.

Question 9: But militarily, al-Nusra Front reached places only a few kilometers from your residence in 2013, to al-Abbasiyeen neighborhood, al-Abbasiyeen Square.

President Assad:  That’s true. Damascus remained almost besieged for years, sometimes completely, sometimes partially; shells were falling on us on a daily basis.  This in itself was a greater motive for me to remain and defend my country, not to flee.  I am doing my constitutional duty in defending the people against terrorism.

Question 10:  Now, let’s talk about reconstruction.  It is said that reconstruction will cost 300 or 400 billion Dollars.  Do you have a plan to get the people out of this conundrum, despite the embargo and the sanctions imposed on you which actually harm the people and increase their suffering?

President Assad:  This is absolutely true. Nevertheless, some of our industries have expanded, not the other way around. The pharmaceutical sector, for instance, has expanded.  As to rebuilding what has been destroyed, you can visit Aleppo, which had suffered large-scale destruction at the hands of terrorists, and year-on-year, you can see a difference and that the state is rebuilding the city together with its population.

Intervention:  But the Syrian Pound is in very bad shape, at an all-time low, and you need to find foreign investment.  Does China, for instance, and other countries want to invest?

President Assad:  Most recently, in the past six months, some companies have started to come to invest in Syria.  Of course, foreign investment remains slow in these circumstances, but there are ways to circumvent the sanctions, and we have started to engage with these companies, and they will come soon to invest.  But this doesn’t mean that the investment and reconstruction process is going to be quick, I am realistic about this.

Intervention: What are your estimates, how many years?

President Assad: This depends on how many years the embargo will continue, and the methods it will use.  It also depends on Syrians returning from other countries, which they are starting to do so gradually.  It’s difficult to give an answer to this question, but of course, it is a process that will be on-going for years.

Question 11: How many Syrians have returned to Syria?

President Assad:  Over a million Syrians in less than a year, and the process is accelerating, particularly after Damascus and the southern region and its environs were liberated.  Of course, the return of Syrians is also related to rebuilding the infrastructure and the availability of other services, like electricity, schools, and hospitals; regrettably, these three sectors have been the worst-affected by the embargo.  Furthermore, there is Western pressure for refugees not to return to Syria, for them, this is a humanitarian card which can be used to achieve political objectives.

Question 12:  A large number of immigrants left the country because they opposed you, and because they suffered from the atrocities of the army.  How can you invite them back?  How do you encourage them to come back?  Would they be covered by a general amnesty, for instance?

President Assad:  First, most of them are supporters of the state and not the opposite.  The evidence of this was the presidential elections which they took part in 2014 and voted for the President.  The largest number immigrated because of the war itself and its economic consequences, so there is no problem with their return; these people can return normally and without an amnesty.  Others are dissidents who have not committed any crimes and there is no warrant for them, the fact that they oppose me is not an issue, since we have dissidents within Syria and we are constantly engaging with them.

With regards to the amnesty, we have granted amnesties more than once, most recently a few months ago, because some people fear returning without an amnesty and believe that they will be arrested; although only those who carried weapons are arrested, and even those have been pardoned.

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
President Assad and reporter Le Sommier were in the same room, on the same planet, despite what some monkey dung flinging journals might infer.

Question 13: Last year, when al-Ghouta returned to government control, I went there and met some young rebels who carried weapons.  The Syrian officers were asking them to hand in their weapons and that they will not be harmed.  Their response was: you want us to give up our weapons because you want us to join the army, and we don’t want to.  They left to Idleb.  What’s your take on that?

President Assad:  In actual fact, some of those who went to Idleb left their families with us (government-controlled areas) and we are taking care of them; if they were afraid, they would not leave their families. This is the first point, the second, is that there are some militants who went to Idleb but later returned to our side. They asked and we allowed them to return. They received an amnesty, because the majority of them were told that the army will kill you. This happened of course when they were isolated from the state for seven years, but when the army went into al-Ghouta, normalcy was restored, and people now live a normal life. We must realise that some of them were fighting not because they were extremists, but they had no other choice: either to fight with the terrorists or to be killed. They are returning to us gradually after the felt reassured.

Question 14:  Today, there are numerous demonstrations in Iran, and the same in Lebanon and Iraq.  And all those demonstrators are asking for dignity and for wealth not to be concentrated in the hands of the few in their country.  Wasn’t that the case of the demonstrators who went out at the beginning of the Syrian crisis?

President Assad:  If we want to talk about the banners that were being pushed – like dignity, freedom, and others, they can be beautiful masks but what lies behind them is ugly.  Let me give you some examples:  Bush killed a million and a half Iraqis under the pretext of democracy; Sarkozy contributed to killing hundreds of thousands of Libyans under the pretext of freedom for the Libyan people; and today, France, Britain, and America are violating international law under the pretext of supporting the Kurds, who are a part of the Syrian population, not an independent group.  In Syria in 2011, these very same banners – dignity and freedom – were used to kill policemen and civilians, and sabotage public property.  Therefore, we should be more concerned with the facts on the ground and what’s actually happening than with headlines.

Intervention:  But in the beginning, there was a popular uprising, and real demands.  There was no existence of Al Qaeda.  Why did you use violence at the beginning?

President Assad:  Let’s talk numbers: the largest number of demonstrators in Syria was 170,000.  For arguments sake, let’s assume this number is inaccurate and so let’s multiply it several times over to reach a million demonstrators; the Syrian population is over 23 million, so these figures are not representative of anything.  So, in terms of size it is not a popular uprising.  Second, a popular uprising does not occur when people are paid by Qatar to demonstrate.  Third, I wouldn’t have been able to remain, with the government, in power for nine years in the face of a popular uprising.  No one can withstand a popular uprising, and an example here is the Shah of Iran – despite all attempts and Western support, they could not keep him in power.  So, calling it a popular uprising is wrong or at least unrealistic.

Question 15: At the beginning of the war in 2011, you released prisoners from Sednaya.  You are accused of doing that in order to inject Jihadist poison in the ranks of the opposition.  How do you respond?

President Assad:  Every few years, we grant an amnesty to prisoners in Syria.  This was a general policy before the war.  When an amnesty is issued, there are some categories which are excluded like espionage, drug trafficking and others.  However, in the law we did not have a category called extremists and so the amnesty includes everyone.

In 2011 specifically, there were convicts who were released because they had served their sentences and not because of an amnesty.  What do we gain if we release extremists or terrorists in order to kill officers of the Syrian Army and civilians?!  The Western narrative said that we did so in order to demonize the peaceful demonstrations; but in fact, they demonized themselves because in the early weeks, they posted videos – which can be found on the internet – where they killed policemen, attacked and slaughtered civilians.  This is actually what happened concerning the release of prisoners.

Question 16:  I talked a short while ago about Sednaya, but you have other prisons and detention centers.  A colleague of mine named Manon Loizeau who made documentaries about rape cases in your prisons.  What do you say to that?

President Assad:  There is a difference between policy being implemented and individual action.  Harassment or rape are not prevalent in Syrian society; but if there are such cases, they are punished by law.  These are individual cases.

We condemn any such policy anywhere in the world because it is immoral; it also undermines stability in Syria.  You cannot talk about stability and a peaceful relationship among the population if there was killing, torture, or any other kind of abuse.

Intervention: Those documentaries were filmed with Syrian witnesses, and these incidents happened to them. They were not talking about things happening in their society because they were ashamed of them. But they were witnesses who suffered from these practices?

President Assad:  No. You are talking about a story. A story is one thing and documented proof is another.  Everything that was presented was unsubstantiated, the photos were not verified.  Who are those witnesses?  They were hidden and not named.  In most of these cases, Qatar financed these reports, and adopting them would need a professional investigation.  If we were to put morality aside, logically, we do not have an interest in such acts.

This is against our interests, so why should we do it?!  What do we achieve through torture?! What is the result – revenge?!  If you go to the areas which were under the control of the opposition and then were retaken by the state, you will see the opposite.  We are not schizophrenic: tolerant in one place and torturing people in another.  These are mere political allegations.

Intervention:  Once again, I stress, i.e. there is an emphasis on this point, but these witnesses were not funded by Qatar.  They were witnesses who were met in refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan.  And they suffered.  And the person who documented these testimonies is a very trusted journalist.

President Assad:  There is no such thing as trust in these cases.  There are mechanisms and there are verified facts, there is no room for stories.  Who verified the witnesses’ stories?  Who verified that those witnesses had actually suffered to start with?  I can discuss this story with you when I have the facts in front of me, but I can’t discuss rumors or stories.  When facts exist, those who commit any crime are prosecuted by Syrian law, this is the norm.

Question 17:  Donald Trump mentioned Syria when he extended thanks upon the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Did you give the Americans information, and did you know the whereabouts of al-Baghdadi?

President Assad:  I always laugh when this question is raised, because the more important question which should be asked is: was al-Baghdadi really killed or not? And did this “fantastic play” staged by the Americans take place in reality?

Intervention: But ISIS acknowledged that!

President Assad:  Yes, of course.  But ISIS was created by America; ISIS is part of the play and they taught al-Baghdadi how to act when he was in American prisons in Iraq.  That’s why I’m saying did this big play actually take place?  We don’t know.  It doesn’t mean that he wasn’t killed, but if he was, it wasn’t because he was a terrorist.  They were able to strike ISIS when it was taking oil from Syria to Iraq, but they didn’t; and when ISIS attacked the Syrian Army in Deir Ezzor, the Americans bombed the Syrian Army instead of ISIS.  So, no, we did not cooperate with the Americans over anything. You cannot cooperate in the fight against terrorism with those who are supporting terrorism.

President Assad:  It’s one of Trump’s cute jokes.  It’s a joke.

Question 18: In our meeting in 2013, you assured me that the Syrian Army never used chemical weapons in al-Ghouta.  But after that came the case of Khan Sheikhoun, and then Douma. Why is the evidence mounting up suggesting that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons?

President Assad:  To date, there isn’t a single shred of evidence; the use of these weapons would have caused the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people and this did not happen.

As to this build-up: firstly, it was because the Syrian Army was advancing in the fight against terrorism and they were looking for a pretext to strike at it, and that’s what happened.  This narrative was used in two situations: either because we had made a significant advance, and it was an attempt to threaten us in the hope we’d stop, or because we were preparing for a large operation, and so it was an attempt to threaten us before the start of the operation.

Second: we were advancing and making good progress, so why would we need chemical weapons?  That is the question.  More importantly, every place we enter, there are civilians whose lives return to normal.  How could they remain there while we were using chemical weapons?!  In fact, the lies in Western media and in Western politics have no limits on this subject.

Journalist : Thank you.

— Miri Wood

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Jamal Wakim: US, Israel Attempting to Exacerbate Lebanese Economic Problems to Rattle Gov’t, Hizbullah

Jamal Wakim: US, Israel Attempting to Exacerbate Lebanese Economic Problems to Rattle Gov't, Hizbullah

TEHRAN (FNA)- Lebanese University professor Jamal Wakim says the political elites’ neglect of industry and agriculture as well as their focus on banking have led to the economic crisis in his country, stressing that the US and Israel are making utmost efforts to exacerbate the crisis in a bid to destabilize the state and strike at Hizbullah.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FNA, professor Wakim mentioned the US’s destabilizing role in Lebanon, and said, “It wanted to cause problems in Lebanon so that it could be a source of destabilization to Syria in order to undermine its national security; and the same applies to Iraq to keep Iran busy.”

Jamal Wakim is a Professor of International Relations at the Lebanese University. Also, he has worked as a reporter and correspondent for various Middle East media outlets, including Dubai Television, Azzerman Kuwaiti Magazine and New Television Beirut. He has published a number of articles on topics related to Syria and to the history of Arab-Islamic Civilization.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: The protests which began over the taxes for WhatsApp have morphed into wide protest in the country, representing years of economic grievances that the Lebanese have had. Why and how did it get to this point?

A: This was only the straw that broke the camel’s back, but the Lebanese economy has been facing structural problems for 3 decades due to the political elite’s neglect of productive sectors like industry and agriculture and its focus on the banking sector and financial speculations, accumulating debts which reached 200 percent of national GDP, and corruption of the political elite. All this caused an economic crisis that got aggravated in the past few years and touched the middle class and poorer sections of society.

Secondly, the United States knew well the precariousness of the Lebanese economic situation, and now that things got almost stabilized in Syria, it wanted to cause problems in Lebanon so that it could be a source of destabilization to Syria in order to undermine its national security; and the same applies to Iraq to keep Iran busy.

A third reason is the pressure exerted on the Lebanese government to undermine Hizbullah and isolate it on the Lebanese political scene, by destabilizing a government that is much supported by it and by its ally the Free Patriotic Movement headed by MOFA Gibran Bassil.

Q: The government reforms, which also included a cut in salaries in half and the return of money to the treasury, have failed to appease the protesters at this point. Do you believe if Prime Minister’s resignation will do any better to the status quo?

A: I believe that the reforms proposed are short of achieving any tangible result, because these reforms do not touch the core of the problem which is the structural deformation of the Lebanese economy whose GDP relies heavily on remittances from Lebanese people abroad, and on getting foreign loans, in addition to financial speculations.

I believe that the new person who will be nominated as prime minister will follow the same pattern in economy with minor reforms that will heavily rely on further privatization and shrinking of the public sector. This might serve in cutting public expenditure but it will lead to further problems as the private sector would not be able to absorb the work force moving from the public to the private sector.

The economic situation will be aggravated by spring 2020 which would lead to chaos in Lebanon unless extreme measures are taken.

Q: How do you believe the domestic chaos would lead to harms to Lebanon’s foreign policy?

A: I definitely believe so as the USA and Israel would benefit from chaos to implicate Hizbullah in it and divert its attention and resources away from Israel, and away from supporting the Palestinian resistance groups as to help pass the deal of the century aiming to liquidate the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian national rights.

In addition, they will benefit from chaos to keep Syria busy in a neighboring unstable region and forbid Lebanon from playing the role of the channel between international capital and Syria in its reconstruction phase.

Rebuilding Syria – without Syria’s oil

November 01, 2019

Rebuilding Syria – without Syria’s oil

By Pepe Escobar – Posted with permission

Compare US pillaging with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution to normalize Syria

What happened in Geneva this Wednesday, in terms of finally bringing peace to Syria, could not be more significant: the first session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee.

The Syrian Constitutional Committee sprang out of a resolution passed in January 2018 in Sochi, Russia, by a body called the Syrian National Dialogue Congress.

The 150-strong committee breaks down as 50 members of the Syrian opposition, 50 representing the government in Damascus and 50 representatives of civil society. Each group named 15 experts for the meetings in Geneva, held behind closed doors.

This development is a direct consequence of the laborious Astana process – articulated by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Essential initial input came from former UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Now UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen is working as a sort of mediator.

The committee started its deliberations in Geneva in early 2019.

Crucially, there are no senior members of the administration in Damascus nor from the opposition – apart from Ahmed Farouk Arnus, who is a low-ranking diplomat with the Syrian Foreign Ministry.

Among the opposition, predictably, there are no former leaders of weaponized factions. And no “moderate rebels.” The delegates include several former and current parliament members, university rectors and journalists.

After this first round, significantly, the committee’s co-chair, Ahmad Kuzbari, said: “We hope that our next meeting could take place in our native land, in our beloved Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited capital in history.”

Even the opposition, which is part of the committee, hopes that a political deal will be clinched next year. According to co-chair Hadi al-Bahra: “I hope that the 75th anniversary of the United Nations next year will be an opportunity to celebrate another achievement by the universal organization, namely the success of efforts under the auspices of a special envoy for political process, who will bring peace and justice to all Syrians.”

Join the patrol

The committee’s work in Geneva proceeds in parallel to ever-changing facts on the ground. These will certainly force more face-to-face negotiations between Presidents Putin and Erdogan, as Erdogan himself confirmed: “A conversation with Putin can take place any time. Everything depends on the course of events.”

“Events” seem not to be that incandescent, so far, even as Erdogan, predictably, releases the whiff of a threat in the air: “We reserve the right to resume military operation in Syria if terrorists approach at the distance of 30km to Turkey’s borders or continue attacks from any other Syrian area.”

Erdogan also said the de facto safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border could be “expanded,” something that he would have to clear in minute detail with Moscow.

Those threats have already manifested on the ground. On Wednesday, Turkey and allied Islamist factions launched an attack against Tal Tamr, a historic Assyrian Christian enclave 50km deep inside Syrian territory – far beyond the scope of the 10km patrol zone or the 30km “safe” zone.

Poorly-armed Syrian troops pulled out under fierce attack, and with no apparent Russian cover. The Syrian military on the same day issued a public statement calling on the Syrian Democratic Forces to reintegrate under its command. The SDF has said a compromise must be reached first over semi-autonomy for the northeastern region. Thousands of residents in the meantime fled farther south to the more protected city of Hasakeh.

Two facts are absolutely crucial. The Syrian Kurds have completed their pull out ahead of schedule, as confirmed by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. And, this Friday, Russia and Turkey start their joint military patrols to the depth of 7km away from the border, part of the de facto safe zone in northeast Syria.

The devil in the immense details is how Ankara is going to manage the territories that it now actually controls, and to which it plans to relocate as many as 2 million Syrian refugees.

Your oil? Mine

Then there’s the nagging issue that simply won’t go away: the American drive to “secure the oil” (Trump) and “protect” Syrian oilfields (the Pentagon), for all practical purposes from Syria.

In Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – alongside Iran’s Javad Zarif and Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu – could not have been more scathing. Lavrov said Washington’s plan is “arrogant,” and violates international law. The very American presence on Syrian soil is “illegal,” he said.

All across the Global South, especially among countries in the Non-Aligned Movement, this is being interpreted, stripped to the bone, for what it is: the United States government illegally taking possession of natural resources of a third country via a military occupation.

And the Pentagon is warning that anyone attempting to contest it will be shot on sight. It remains to be seen whether the US Deep State would be willing to engage in a hot war with Russia over a few Syrian oilfields.

Under international law, the whole “securing the oil” scam is a euphemism for pillaging, pure and simple. Every single takfiri or jihadi outfit operating across the “Greater Middle East” will converge, perversely, to the same conclusion: US “efforts” across the lands of Islam are all about the oil.

Now compare that with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution and normalization of Syria – not to mention, behind the scenes, China, which quietly donates rice and aims for widespread investment in a pacified Syria positioned as a key Eastern Mediterranean node of the New Silk Roads.

 

Syria Expresses Its Freedom Through Resistance

Global Research, September 20, 2019

Syria expresses her freedom in her resistance to Empire. Resistance takes many forms and trajectories, but they all lead to freedom.

Resistance delivers freedom from terrorism, it expresses itself not only when the SAA defeats Western supported terrorists, but also when Syria rebuilds from the ruins.

Resistance and freedom are evident when Syria and Syrians choose their own political economy. Syrians choose President Assad, and he is staying. Syrians choose a secular government and constitution, and they are staying.

Ironically, but predictably, social schisms DID occur in Syria prior to 2011. As Prof. Chossudovsky notes in “SYRIA: NATO’s Next ‘Humanitarian’ War?”,(1) in 2006 Syria adopted economic reforms under IMF guidance (2) which included austerity measures, wage freezes, financial deregulation, trade reforms and privatizations.

This economic poison served Empire well, but not Syria.

However, Syria still has its own public Central Bank, which promises a free and self-determining political economy. Reportedly, even now, Syria has no external debts.

Central Bank of Syria

Syrian society is more equal than its Western counterparts. Everyone is entitled to free education, and everyone is entitled to free healthcare. Access is not limited by a person’s ability to pay. Equal access to healthcare and education also mean that there is more gender equity in Syria than there is in the West.

Interview with Dr. Ayssar Midani

Prior to the war, Syria was largely self-sufficient. She had food security and financial security.

Despite the criminal economic blockade, the criminal occupations, and the terrorism imposed on her, she remains steadfast. Syrians still receive their salaries and they still receive their pensions. The West would prefer that the world remain blind to Syria’s successes, and the West still seeks to destroy these successes of democracy and of political and economic independence.

The task of post-war reconstruction is gargantuan. Here, Syria’s allies, in particular Russia and China, will play a pivotal role, which will further alienate the terrorist-supporting West. Syria will become more economically integrated into Eurasia, and the One Belt One Road initiative. (3)

Syria resists, and Syria rebuilds, so true freedom, which lies submerged in the hearts of us all, will continue to burn brighter and stronger in Syria, for all the world to see.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017. Visit the author’s website at https://www.marktaliano.net where this article was originally published.

Notes

(1) Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, “SYRIA: NATO’s Next ‘Humanitarian’ War?”
ONLINE INTERACTIVE I-BOOK , Global Research, 11 February, 2012 (https://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-nato-s-next-humanitarian-war/29234 ) Accessed 19 September, 2019

(2) “Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation, Mission’s Concluding Statement,” May 14, 2016.
(https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2015/09/28/04/52/mcs051406 ) Accessed 19 September, 2019

(3)Finian Cunningham, “Enter the dragon: China’s crucial role in winning Syria peace” RT, 24 May, 2018. (https://www.rt.com/op-ed/427699-china-syria-business-peace/) Accessed 19 September, 2019.


Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria” directly from Global Research.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Voices from Syria 

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

List Price: $17.95

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Dr. Nashabe: US Realizes Regime Change in Syria Fails

Dr. Nashabe: US Realizes Regime Change in Syria Fails

TEHRAN (FNA)- Dr. Omar Nashabe, Journalist and University Lecturer, believes the main reason behind the US decision to withdraw its troops from Syria was realizing that “the US agenda, including regime change,… was never going to be successfully done”.

In an exclusive interview with FNA, Dr. Nashabe also mentioned the role of Turkey in the move by Washington, saying, “The US learned that continuing to arm Kurdish rebels will lead to mounting tension with Turkey, which is a NATO member.”

Dr. Omar Nashabe is Lecturer in the Lebanese-American University in Lebanon. He is also an editorial member and reviewer of several international reputed journals, including al-Akhbar Newspaper.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: Donald Trump, US President, ordered the US withdrawal from Syria. On what military ground has he issued this order?

A: The US military withdrawal from Syria is in line with President Trump’s overall foreign policy. The US President has realized that the US agenda (i.e. regime change in Syria, weakening Hezbollah and playing and active role in ground of one of Iran’s and Russia’s close allies) was never going to be successfully done. But, the role of Turkey cannot be overlooked; the US learned that continuing to arm Kurdish rebels will lead to mounting tension with Turkey, which is a member of NATO. Therefore, the US military withdrawal from Syria can also serve as a message from Washington to Ankara: abandoning the Kurds may be an invitation for repairing what went wrong with the relations of Turkey and the US, and/or an attempt to persuade Turkey to stop its increasing rapprochement with Russia.

Q: Trump justified his move saying the US military presence in Syria had achieved its aim with the defeat of Daesh (ISIL or ISIS). Can the terrorist group be considered “defeated” by the US?

A: The Daesh terrorist group has been defeated; but not by the US. The terrorist group was rather defeated by a large coalition including Russia, the Syrian Army, Hezbollah, Iranian forces, and last but not least, the Syrian people themselves. It was only after Daesh attacked targets in Western Syria when Turkey and the US started advertising that they were fighting against the terrorist group. Even then, their armies were inconsistent in fighting Daesh. In numerous occasion, the US army refrained from attacking Daesh groups, because Washington had hoped that these groups may cause severe damage to the pro-government forces.
In short, US military withdrawal from Syria has nothing to do with defeating Daesh. In fact, Daesh still has military presence in some parts in Syria, namely in Deir Ezzur, where some American soldiers were stationed.

Q: The Kurdish majority Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was supported and armed by the US, but Kurdish Spokeswoman Ilham Ahmad has described the US decision to withdraw from Syria as a stab in the back of the Kurds. What future do you anticipate for the Kurds without the US?

A: The Kurds will have no way but to reintegrate in the Syrian army. They should reach an agreement with the Syrian government for a certain autonomous provincial ruling system under the authority of Damascus. Kurds already know that if they fail to reach the agreement with Syria’s legitimate government, then the Turkish army will not hesitate to slaughter them. Then, the Syrian army may not be ready to go to war against Turkey to defend the Kurds, especially with their history of worked hard for regime change in Syria, being a puppet of outside forces such as the US.

Now that the US has abandoned the Kurds, somebody has to take over and control the situation. The development in the Syrian city of Manbij is an evidence: Syria’s troops entering Manbij would spell restoration of the government control over the Syrian-Turkish border. Syrian government is to exercise sovereignty over its own territory, and this is what it is doing right now entering Manbij, by the call of whether civilians or Kurdish forces.

Q: Trump says Saudi Arabia, not the US, will pay to rebuild Syria, while Bashar al-Assad, Syrian President, says the country does not need the help of the West or Saudi Arabia. What does that tell us about the real aim of the war on Syria?

A: The top in the US’s agenda was to topple the Syrian president and to place a puppet regime instead of the current legitimate government of the country; However, Trump realized that the plan for regime change in Syria was defeated. Therefore, he may be planning to lure Syria using Saudi Arabia’s money and the return of Syria to the Arab League. The plan seems underway: the Persian Gulf Arab states, including the UAE, are reopening their embassies in the capital Damascus, showing tendency to re-establish Syria as a member of the Arab League. Meanwhile, Pro-Saudi Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir recently visited Damascus and passed a Saudi message to President Bashar al-Assad, claiming that if he abandons his close ties with the Iran and Hezbollah, he shall be rewarded with substantial funds and reconstruction plans.

سذاجة التوقعات اللبنانية لحماسة روسية سورية

مارس 9, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يتوقع الكثير من متعاطي الشأن العام والسياسيين والإعلاميين اللبنانيين حماسة روسية وسورية في تلبية الطلبات اللبنانية، خصوصاً الآتية من رئاسة الجمهورية والفريق المساند للمقاومة، باعتبارهما حليفين، ويمكن رغم شلّ قدرة الدولة اللبنانية عن التعاطي مع الدولتين الروسية والسورية بلغة المصالح التي تحكم علاقات الدول، أن يتخيل هؤلاء أن تبقى الحماسة الروسية والسورية على قاعدة وهم وجود مصالح لكل من موسكو ودمشق عنوانها استعمال لبنان منصة لتعويم الدور والحضور، لأن التخيل اللبناني السائد لا يزال ينظر بعين الوهم نحو قوة واشنطن وقدرتها واعتبارها محور العالم وربما الكون، والنظر لمن يواجهونها وينتصرون عليها خلال السنوات التي مضت، كمجرد باحثين عن اعتراف أميركي بهم وبدورهم، متجاهلين وعاجزين عن الاقتناع بأن العالم قد تغير وأن المعادلات الجديدة التي تحكم العالم والمنطقة ليست كما يفترضون، وأن عليهم أن يستفيقوا من حلم ليلة صيف يعيشونه في استقبال الموفدين الأميركيين والاستماع إلى توجيهاتهم.

– كثير من هؤلاء يظن أن المبادرة الروسية لحل قضية النازحين تجمّدت بسبب الضغوط الأميركية والأوروبية، لربط العودة بالحل السياسي، لأن العودة ترتبط بإعادة الإعمار، والمال اللازم لها يملكه ويملك قراره الأميركيون والأوروبيون. وهذا يعني ضمنا تخيل سذاجة روسية سورية بطرح المبادرة، فالروس يعلمون قبل طرح مبادرتهم أن هناك مصالح عليا أميركية أوروبية بالسعي لتعطيل عودة النازحين وربطها بموافقتهم وشروطهم بعدما فقدوا أوراق الضغط العسكرية التي بنوا عليها آمالهم في رسم مستقبل سورية قبل ثماني سنوات، وهذا كان واضحاً بقوة قبل المبادرة، فهل فكر هؤلاء بطريقة أخرى لماذا طرحت المبادرة ووفقاً لأي حسابات ولماذا تجمّدت؟

– يؤكد الروس كما يؤكد السوريون أنهم يعتقدون بتباين يكبر تدريجياً بين المصالح الأميركية المحكومة بالحسابات الإسرائيلية أساساً، وحسابات كل من حلفاء واشنطن في لبنان والأردن وتركيا، الواقعين تحت ضغط ملف النازحين، وبنسبة كبيرة أيضاً أوروبا التي تعاني من ترددات السياسات الأميركية في المنطقة بسبب النازحين وملف الإرهاب الذي يهدد أمنها، والسياسات الأميركية لإذكاء التوترات بما في ذلك تعاملها مع العقوبات على إيران، وبنسبة معينة أيضاً دول الخليج ومصر التي تستشعر تقدم الحضور التركي على حسابها في سورية وعبر سورية في المنطقة، وتتحرّك موسكو ومعها بدرجة اقل دمشق على إيقاع ملاقاة هذه التغيرات تدريجاً وبمبادرات محسوبة ومدروسة، كان اولها السعي لاستقطاب تركيا خارج خطة الحرب الأميركية وقد حققت نتائج باهرة، بمعادلة العصا والجزرة، وليست روسيا ولا سورية جمعيات تخديم مجاني للملتحقين بالسياسات الأميركية لنيل إعجابهم بأنها ذات مبادرات خيرة.

– قوبلت المبادرة الروسية بتردد أوروبي وتركي وأردني، وهي الدول المعنية بملف النازحين، لحاجة كل من هذه الدول لاستخدام هذا الملف في حسابات خاصة، وبقي لبنان، وانتظرت موسكو ودعت دمشق للانتظار معها لسماع موقف لبناني رسمي كدولة ذات سيادة يقلقها هذا الملف بالاستعداد للسير قدماً وبقوة في ترجمة هذه المبادرة لجعل عودة النازحين من لبنان إلى سورية نموذجاً يحتذى في الملف برمته. وجوهر المبادرة هنا ليست بنودها، بل بقيام لجنة عليا روسية لبنانية سورية، فقوبلت بالتذاكي اللبناني، تحت شعار لجنة هنا ولجنة هناك، مراعاة للشروط الأميركية والخليجية في العلاقة بالدولة السورية، فتجمّد التعاون السوري، وتجمّد الروس عن السير بالمبادرة. وهذا سينسحب سورياً على ملفات كثيرة، فبقاء الموقف الأردني مثلاً تحت سقف أميركي وخليجي في التعامل مع الدولة السورية، لن يسهل الطلبات الأردنية بالقضايا الاقتصادية في العلاقة مع الدولة السورية، ويجب التذكير للذين نسوا أن الدولة السورية قابلت وهي في ذروة الاستهداف، وقبل أن تحقق ما حققت من انتصارات، الطلبات الرسمية الألمانية والفرنسية والإيطالية بتعاون مخابراتي بالرفض متمسكة بأولوية التعامل من دولة إلى دولة، وبعدها ينطلق التنسيق الفرعي أمنياً كان أم اقتصادياً، ولن تقابل الدولة السورية طلبات لبنانية أو اردنية بغير هذا الموقف، سواء بما يخص النازحين أو غير النازحين.

– يتصرّف كثير من اللبنانيين أن بمستطاع الدولة اللبنانية أن تضع فيتو على السلاح الروسي باستجابة مهينة ومذلة للتعليمات الأميركية، وهو ما لم تفعله دول أعضاء في الناتو مثل تركيا، ومن ثم أن تنتظر من الدولة الروسية تقديم الخدمات المجانية للبنان، بينما ما يفعله اللبنانيون، أو بعضهم السياسي، هو تعطيل سيادة الدولة وقرارها المستقل، وبيعه لأميركا وانتظار الإيجابيات من غير الأميركي، وخصوصاً من الذين يضعهم الأميركي على لائحة الأعداء كحال الدولتين الروسية والسورية. وهذه قمة السذاجة في العلاقات الدولية، وما لم يكن لبنان جاهزاً للتصرف بمنطق مصالحه وبقوة قرار مستقل في مقاربتها وتلمس موسكو ودمشق ذلك في مفردات حسية واضحة، لن يحصل لبنان على غير المجاملات التي تمتلئ بها مفردات الدبلوماسية والعلاقات الدولية.

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عودة النازحين أم عودة العلاقات؟

فبراير 21, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يحتلّ ملف عودة النازحين السوريين إلى بلادهم أولوية اهتمامات المسؤولين اللبنانيين، في ملف العلاقات اللبنانية السورية. وهو ملف يستحق الاهتمام، خصوصاً لجهة فصله عن الشروط الدولية الهادفة لاستعماله للضغط على كل من لبنان وسورية الضغط على لبنان لفرض شروط تبقي حمل النازحين على عاتق الدولة والاقتصاد والمجتمع في لبنان، ليتحوّل بلداً متسوّلاً للمساعدات ومرتهناً لشروط المانحين، فيسهل تطويعه في الملفات الصعبة كمستقبل سلاح المقاومة، وما سماه المانحون في مؤتمر سيدر بإدماج العمالة السورية بالمشاريع المموّلة أو ما أسموه بالاستقرار عبر تسريع استراتيجية الدفاع الوطني التي يقصد أصحابها هنا «نزع أو تحييد سلاح المقاومة»، والضغط على سورية عبر تحويل كتل النازحين إلى ورقة انتخابية يمكن توظيفها في أي انتخابات مقبلة، بربط عودتهم بما يسمّيه المانحون بالحل السياسي، والمقصود تلبية شروطهم حول الهوية السياسية للدولة السورية أو استخدام النازحين لاحقا في ترجيح كفة مرشحين بعينهم لإقامة توازن داخل الدولة السورية يملك المانحون تأثيراً عليه.

– السؤال الرئيسي هنا هو رغم أهمية ملف النازحين، هل يمكن اختزال العلاقات اللبنانية السورية بعودة النازحين؟ وهل يمكن النجاح بإعادة النازحين بلا عودة العافية إلى العلاقات اللبنانية السورية؟ والجواب يبدأ من نصوص اتفاق الطائف حول اعتبار العلاقات المميزة بسورية التجسيد الأهم لعروبة لبنان، وما ترجمته معاهدة الأخوة والتعاون والتنسيق السارية المفعول حتى تاريخه، والتي تشكل وحدها الإطار القانوني والدستوري لمعالجة قضية النازحين، حيث يتداخل الشأن الأمني بالشأن الإداري بالشؤون الاقتصادية، وكلها لها أطر محددة في بنود المعاهدة يسهل تفعيلها لبلورة المعالجات، بحيث يصير البحث عن هذه المعالجات من خارج منطق المعاهدة والعلاقات المميزة، سعياً هجيناً لبناء علاقة تشبه الحمل خارج الرحم، وهو حمل كاذب لا ينتهي بمولود ولا بولادة.

– عند الحديث عن عودة العلاقات بين لبنان وسورية سيكون مفيداً الاطلاع على ما نشرته صحيفة الشرق الأوسط السعودية، من دراسة استطلاع رأي أجراها مركز غلوبال فيزيون لحساب مؤسسة بوليتيكا التي يرأسها النائب السابق فارس سعيد، حول عودة العلاقات اللبنانية السورية، والجهة الناشرة كما الجهة الواقفة وراء الاستطلاع وخلفياتهما السياسية في النظر لسورية والعلاقة معها، تكفيان للقول إن الأرقام التي حملتها الدراسة يجب أخذها من كل مسؤولي الدولة اللبنانية بعين الاعتبار، حيث 70 من المستطلعين أعلنوا تأييدهم لعودة العلاقات بين البلدين، ووقف 30 ضد هذه العودة. وفي تفاصيل توزّع أسباب المستطلعين يتضح أن نسبة تأثير الموقف السياسي والعقائدي تحضر في الرافضين للعلاقة بين البلدين، بينما أغلب المتحمّسين لعودة العلاقات ينطلقون من اعتبارات تتّصل بالمصلحة اللبنانية الصرفة، فيظهر المعارضون مجرد دعاة لمعاقبة بلدهم لأنهم يحملون أحقاداً أو خلفيات عدائية تخص موقفهم السياسي وهؤلاء أكثر من 90 من الرافضين، بينما لم تظهر الخلفية السياسية في صف دعاة عودة العلاقات إلا بنسبة ضئيلة لا تذكر، لكن من بين المؤيدين لعودة العلاقات الذين شكلوا 70 من اللبنانيين وفقاً للعينة المختارة لتنفيذ الاستفتاء، لم يحتل ملف عودة النازحين نسبة 10 من المستطلعين، بينما احتلت عناوين مثل عودة الترانزيت نسبة نصف المؤيدين أي ثلث المستطلعين.

– التعافي اللبناني بقوة الجغرافيا السياسية والاقتصادية له معبر واحد هو تعافي العلاقات اللبنانية السورية، والتذاكي في التعاطي مع هذا العنوان، أو التهاون بربطه بأطراف ثالثة، سيعقد التعافي اللبناني وضمناً سيجعل ملف عودة النازحين مربوطاً بأطراف ثالثة، فجعل ملف تجارة الترانزيت لبنانياً سورياً، لا لبنانياً سورياً خليجياً، يتوقف على جعل العلاقة اللبنانية السورية شأناً لبنانياً سورياً لا شأناً ينتظر ضوء الخليج الأخضر، وجعل قضية النازحين شأناً لبنانياً سورياً، لا لبنانياً سورياً أوروبياً، يتوقف على جعل العلاقة اللبنانية السورية شأناً يخصّ اللبنانيين والسوريين وحدهم ولا ينتظر إذناً أوروبياً.

– من المهم أن يلتفت اهتمام الحكومة إلى أن ما فعله وزير شؤون النازحين يستحقّ التقدير، لأنه نابع من خلفية إيمان بالعلاقة اللبنانية السورية، وما يستحق الاهتمام هو التفات الحكومة إلى حاجتها لهذه الخلفية بدلاً من وقوع البعض في أحقادهم أو حساباتهم التي قالت استطلاعات الرأي إنها لا تهمّ اللبنانيين.

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President al-Assad: Syria Will be Liberated

https://youtu.be/yuqLIvcZ05Y

Source

17 February، 2019
Damascus, SANA

President Bashar al-Assad stressed that thanks to our armed forces, the supporting forces, allies, friends and brothers we managed to defeat terrorism, stressing that protecting the homeland would not have been achieved unless there have been a unified popular will of all the Syrian spectra.

President al-Assad said in a speech during his meeting with heads of local councils from all provinces on Monday that holding elections of local councils on time proves the strength of the Syrian people and the state, adding that the elections proves the failure of enemies’ bet to turn the Syrian state into a failed state unable to perform its tasks.

President al-Assad stressed that issuing law no. 107 was a significant step for enhancing effectiveness of the local administrations.

The President said that the launch of development projects locally will be integrated with the strategic projects of the state and this in itself is an investment of financial and human resources.

He added that one of the positive aspects of local administration’s law is to broaden the participation in the development of the local community that manages resources.

President al-Assad said that with liberating every inch, there is an agent or a traitor who collapsed after their sponsors betrayed them.

“After the improvement of field situation, we have the opportunity to make a qualitative leap in the work of the local administration that would reflect on all walks of life,” the President said.

President al-Assad added that the local units have become more able today to perform their tasks without depending on the central authority.

He stressed that the policies of some states towards Syria depended on supporting terrorism and promoting the attempt to apply a comprehensive decentralization to undermine the authority of the state.

President al-Assad underlined that the partition scheme isn’t new and it doesn’t stop at the borders of the Syrian state, but it covers the region as a whole.

President al-Assad added that the partition scheme isn’t new and it doesn’t stop at the borders of the Syrian state, but it covers the region as a whole, adding “those who set the scheme are narrow-minded because reaching this aim cannot be achieved unless there is a real social division and that does not exist in Syria and had it been really, the country would have been divided during the first years of the war or maybe since the very first months of the war.”

He clarified that there are two unchangeable facts…”the first one is hegemony on the world led by the US hasn’t changed and the second is that our people’s resistance has become more solid,” affirming that the homeland isn’t a commodity and it is sacred and it has its real owners and not thieves.”

“After all of those years, the agents haven’t learnt that nothing gives man his value except his real belonging,” the President said, affirming that the only way to get rid of misguidance is to join the reconciliations and to hand over the arms to the Syrian state.

The President added “We have been able to eliminate terrorism thanks to our armed forces and the support by the supporting forces, the allies, the friends and the brothers.”

The President said “It couldn’t have been possible to protect the homeland without the unified popular will through different segments of the Syrian society.”

“The Syrian people have a deep-rooted history and they have resisted terrorism…We achieve victory with each other not on each other,” President al-Assad said.

President al-Assad said that that the Syrian state is working to return displaced people who left their homes due to terrorism as their return is the only way to end their suffering.

He underlined that the absence of belonging to the homeland is the weapon used by the outside to target our homeland.

The President added that the term of the broad popular support may be explained by some as the support of the majority, which were present in the state-controlled areas , but while the truth is that the support was also present in areas controlled by gunmen, clarifying that the citizens were living in those areas and they were forced to stay there.

”some of them continued contacting with several government sides by conveying information and giving ideas as they were constantly insisting on the return of the army and the state institutions to those areas, and some of them unfortunately paid the price,” the President highlighted.

“The absence of belonging to the homeland is the fuel which is used by the foreign parties to target our homeland,” President al-Assad said.

The President continued to say “The Syrian people have suffered a lot during the war and we do not forget that part of the suffering was due to the state imposed by terrorism in terms of the displacement of millions of people outside the country as they suffered from all aspects of displacement including humiliation and inhuman treatment, in addition to the political, financial and human exploitation of them.”

“The more the state has sought to alleviate the suffering inside Syria and worked on making the displaced return to their hometowns after liberating them from terrorism, the more it sought at the same time to work on the return of the refugees to the homeland being the only way for putting an end to their suffering,” he added.

The President noted that the states concerned in the file of refugees are hindering their return and the main basis of the scheme hatched against Syria is the issue of the refugees which has been prepared before the beginning of the crisis.

He indicated that the issue of refugees has been a source of corruption that has been exploited by a number of states which are supporting terrorism, and the return of refugees will deprive those from the political and material benefit.

“The file of the refugees abroad is an attempt by the states which support terrorism to condemn the Syrian state,” the President said, adding ” We will not allow the sponsors of terrorism to transform the Syrian refugees into a political paper to achieve their interests.”

The President called upon everyone who left the homeland due to terrorism to contribute to the reconstruction process as the homeland is for all of its people.

“Our national awareness has foiled the sinister scheme of our enemies which hasn’t finished yet…Some are still entrapped by the schemes of partition hatched by our enemies,” President al-Assad said.

President al-Assad asserted that “Dialogue is necessary, but there is a difference between the proposals that create dialogue and others which create partition and we should focus on the common things.”

“Criticism is a necessary issue when there is a default but it should be objective,” the President noted.

The President stressed that dialogue should be a fruitful one that is based on facts and not emotions, adding that such dialogue differentiates between those who have real problems and those who are opportunistic.

He noted that social media have contributed to a certain extent to the deterioration of the situation in the country.

“We all know that we are in a state of blockade, and we should deal with this positively and cooperatively,” he said, adding that “we shouldn’t think that war is over, and this is addressed to both citizens and officials alike.”

The President pointed out that “We are facing four wars. The first war is a military one; the second is the blockade, the third is via the internet and the forth is the war launched by the corrupt people.”

The state of negligence that happened recently in relation to shortage of gas cylinders is due to the lack of transparency on the part of the institutions concerned towards the citizens, the President noted.

Her stressed that the current situation demands great caution, explaining that since the enemies have failed through supporting terrorism and through their agents, they will seek to create chaos from inside the Syrian society.

He went on saying that the major challenge now is providing the basic living materials to the citizens that are suffering due to the blockade.

“The blockade,” he said, “is a battle in itself. It is a battle of attack and retreat similar to the military battles.”

The President said that those who suffer need to have their problems dealt with, not to listen to rhetorical speeches.
He highlighted the important role the Local Administration plays since “no matter how much honesty, integrity and how many good laws we have, they cannot be managed centrally.”

The President added that “We have laws, but we lack the standards and mechanisms, which even if they exist are weak and not good, and without the standards we will not be able to solve any problems, therefore we have to be practical in our dialogues.”

The President went on saying that “Suffering is the justification for looking for rights, but it cannot be a justification for treating the truth unfairly, and the truth says that there is war, terrorism and blockade, and the truth is that there is a lack of morality and there are selfishness and corruption, and part of these facts are out of our hands partially but not entirely.”

The President said that rebuilding the minds and reforming the souls is the biggest challenge, not the reconstruction of the infrastructure.

“When our enemies started the war, they knew that they would leave us destructive infrastructure, and they know that we will reconstruct it, but the hardest thing is to deal with the intellectual structure and we should not fail in that,” the President said.

The President stressed that the future of Syria is decided exclusively by the Syrians.

He said the sovereignty of states is a sacred thing, and that if this sovereignty is violated through aggression and terrorism, this does not mean abandoning its essence, which is the independent national decision.

The President stressed that “the constitution is not subject to bargaining. We will not allow the hostile states to achieve any of their objectives through their agents who hold the Syrian nationality.”

He added that hostile countries are still insisting on their aggression and obstruction of any special process if it is serious like Sochi and Astana.

He said that any role of the UN is welcomed if it is based on the UN Charter.

The President reaffirmed that there will be no dialogue between the national party and the agents, stressing that it is the people’s steadfastness and their support to the Syrian Arab Army is what has protected the homeland.

He went on saying that those who conspired against Syria have failed in their reliance on the terrorists and the agents in the political process, and therefore they have moved to the third stage, which is activating the Turkish agent in the northern areas.

The President made it clear that “Syria will be liberated to the last inch, and the interferers and occupiers are enemies.”

President al-Assad addressed the groups that serve as agents to the US saying: “the Americans will not protect you, and you will be a tool for bargaining in their hands. Only the Syrian Arab Army can defend you.”

“When we stand in one trench and aim in the same direction instead of aiming at each other, no threat can make us worried no matter how big,” the President said.

He added “We will not forget our kidnapped citizens, hundreds of whom have been liberated. We will not stop working until liberating them and we will not spare any chance to ensure their return.”

The President said “We all have responsibility and a national obligation to stand by the families of the martyrs and the injured.”

“The big recovery and stability will only be achieved through eliminating all the terrorists to the last one,” he stressed.

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Trump Says Saudi, Not the US, Will Pay to Rebuild Syria

Local Editor

US President Donald Trump announced that Saudi Arabia, not the United States, will provide funds to help rebuild Syria.

Indeed, the country was mostly destroyed by American and Saudi sponsored terrorists.

“Saudi Arabia has now agreed to spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild Syria, instead of the United States,” Trump wrote on his official Twitter account on Monday.

“See? Isn’t it nice when immensely wealthy countries help rebuild their neighbors rather than a Great Country, the US, that is 5000 miles away,” he continued. “Thanks to Saudi A!”

Over the duration of the war in Syria, the US, France, UK and their regional allies such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Qatar have been sponsoring terrorists there since 2011.

The 7-year long war has left the Arab country in ruins.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly said that he does not want foreign aid from Western countries or Saudi Arabia to rebuild the country and will get the job done with the help from Syria’s genuine allies.

Last week, Trump declared victory against Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] in Syria and announced to pull out American troops from the country, saying that US troops cannot stay there “forever.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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رسائل « البشير» تصل إلى خصوم سورية في لبنان

ديسمبر 19, 2018

روزانا رمّال

تنفّس الرئيس السوداني عمر البشير الصعداء أخيراً بزيارة الصديق العزيز الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد بعد انقطاع «أرغم» عليه البشير لسنوات، حسب مصادر «مقربة» بعدما صار مهدداً بوجوده على رأس السلطة في البلاد، البشير اول الواصلين الى دمشق وأول من وطأت قدماه ارض الثورة المفترضة وأول من زار سورية حاملاً الكثير من الرسائل «الكبيرة» والتي تؤكد انقلاب المشهد السياسي والعسكري بالمنطقة. جاء البشير ليقول كلمة واحدة «انتصر الأسد» بقي على رأس السلطة في بلاده وها نحن نعود من البوابة نفسها التي كان من المفترض أن يخرج منها كما سمع البشير من زعماء الخليج في السنوات الماضية لحظة سؤال و»عتاب».

ضحكة البشير تتحدّث عن انفراج كبير حيال العلاقة بين البلدين من ورائها حسابات تبدّلت برمّتها وتطورات سياسية ضخمة بينها قراءة ما وراء الزيارة التي ضجت بها وسائل الإعلام الإقليمية والدولية وهي مؤشرات التقدم العربي باتجاه سورية والذي يمثل أول بوادره الرئيس السوداني الذي بشّر بعودة العلاقات السياسية والدبلوماسية والاقتصادية الى ما كانت عليه سابقاً وفتح صفحة جديدة مع دمشق قوامها احترام سيادة البلدان، لكن الأكثر قوة وحضوراً هي الحساب السياسي التي تقيمه السودان بعلاقتها الجديدة بسورية ومعروف عن ارتباطها بالمملكة العربية السعودية ولهذا أهداف لامست الاستراتيجية وحافة الهاوية باللعب بين البلدين. فواضح أن البشير لم يستسلم للأمر الواقع الخليجي بداية الأحداث العربية، ولم يكن ضمن القطار الداعي لإسقاط الأسد وصار بعد ضغوط كبرى أحد ركائز الدعم للسعودية «عسكرياً».

السودان هي الدولة التي شكلت بوقت من الأوقات الأكثر قدرة على إنقاذ التحالف العربي بحربه على اليمن، وتحديداً الجيش السعودي الذي لجأ الى سودانيي الأصل من اجل الانضمام لهذا التحالف فصارت ركيزة الجنود المعوّلة عليهم حرباً ضروس لم تنته حتى اللحظة، لكن بوادر نهايتها صارت اقرب هي الأخرى بتوقف اطلاق النار بالحديدة وما يعنيه ذلك من بدء تبلور صيغة جديدة للوضع السياسي الذي حكم لسنوات المنطقة بغض النظر وفق اي حساب، لكنه بلا شك لا يصب في مصلحة الخليجيين في اليمن ولا في سورية بعد ان صاروا كمن يلتحق بركب الحدث بدل صناعته كما كان مأمولاً.

زيارة البشير أكدت لحلفاء المملكة العربية السعودية على امتداد المنطقة أن الأمر قد قضي واكدت ما كان يشاع عن لسان الأمير محمد بن سلمان حيال سورية والرئيس الأسد وقد صار اليوم حقيقة بانه باقٍ وأن التواصل السعودي السوري موجود منذ أكثر من سنتين عبر معنيين أمنيين بالتالي صار لزاماً على باقي الحلفاء قراءة المشهد.

الحليف السعودي الاول في لبنان هو تيار المستقبل الذي سيكون أمام إحراج كبير تفرضه المملكة العربية السعودية بمجرد شروع أول وفد سعودي باتجاه سورية أو العكس بطريقة علنية وبمجرد الإعلان عن عودة السفارات، والحديث عن هذا صار علناً من جهة الإمارات وتجهيز السفارة في سورية الذي هو هدف إماراتي جاد.

رسالة البشير التي وصلت الى مسامع الأفرقاء في لبنان حلفاء المملكة العربية السعودية أحيت، حسب مصادر مطلعة لـ»البناء» «إمكانية عودة قريبة لإدارة سياسية محلية في البلاد تشبه الـ»سين سين» التي ستضع الحريري بموقف لا يُحسد عليه وهو الذي اكد في غير مرة انه لن يهادن مع سورية وهو موقف قد يكون الحريري تورط به مع العلم ان لديه رغبة كبيرة بالمشاركة في إعادة إعمار سورية حسب ما تتداول الاوساط السياسية الاقتصادية وهو أتى على ذكر لبنان في أكثر من محفل دولي لهذا الغرض آخرها «لندن» لاعتباره منصة دولية لإعادة الاعمار الواعدة في دمشق، لكن السؤال حول دمشق بذاتها وعما اذا كانت ستتقبل السعودية مع «ذيول» المرحلة وما فيها من تجاذبات وتوابع ام انها ستحصر العلاقات الرسمية برمزية العودة والحضور»، ويختم المصدر «بدون شك سيبدأ المعنيون في لبنان بعد زيارة الرئيس السوداني بتغيير مستوى اللهجة والخطاب، وهذا هو المتوقع في المرحلة المقبلة.

من الحديدة الى قصر الشعب في سورية توضحت التوازنات الجديدة وصارت أسهل على الساسة المحليين لقراءة ولملمة تداعيات وذيول مرحلة قاسية، لكن الأقسى هو إعادة ترتيب المشهد مع تقبل أمر واقع لا يحتمل سياسة الانكار التي قد تعود سلباً على الأوضاع الاقتصادية التي تتراجع بوضع عراقيل لإعادة عقارب الساعة السياسية الى الوراء.

دبلوماسيا يرخي السفراء الخليجيين في لبنان اجواء واضحة حيال تواصل مع سورية عبر الأراضي اللبنانية وبينها ما كان يتم منذ أكثر من سنتين وربما تكون المهمة المقبلة الموكلة إليهم الطلب من الأفرقاء المعنيين بمخاصمة سورية «تاريخياً» بدء التراجع والتبدل حيال الموقف، منها خصوصاً أولئك الذين اصطفوا بأوامر خليجية خلف فكرة التخلص من النظام السوري وذهبوا الى آخر الطريق وصار التراجع اصعب لعلها تكون المهمة الاصعب التي تحتاج لوقت يبدو أنه لن ينتظر لحمله مفاجآت كتلك الزيارة المفاجأة لزيارة الرئيس السوداني الى سورية.

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US Impedes Efforts to Reconstruct War-Ravaged Syria – By Peter KORZUN -Strategic Culture Foundation

U.S. Planning To Impose Sanctions On Iranian, Russian, Russia will respond

Russia will respond to any US sanctions on companies participating in Syria’s reconstruction: official

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:45 P.M.) – Russia will respond to any potential sanctions imposed on companies participating in Syria’s reconstruction, Vladimir Jabbarov, the Deputy Head of International Committee in the Federation Council of Russia, said this morning.

Jabbarov stated that Moscow will take measures to respond if Washington imposes sanctions against Russian companies that participate in the reconstruction of Syria.

Sputnik quoted Jabbarov as saying in statements on Wednesday that if such measures are adopted, Russia will do the same, adding that such measures by Russia will be fully calculated and decisive.

On Tuesday, the U.S. warned that any companies participating in the reconstruction of Syria would be slapped with sanctions.

U.S. Planning To Impose Sanctions On Iranian, Russian Companies Involved In Reconstruction Of Syria

17.10.2018

U.S. Planning To Impose Sanctions On Iranian, Russian Companies Involved In Reconstruction Of Syria

A US soldier sits on an armored vehicle at a newly installed position in Manbij, north Syria, April 4, 2018. (Hussein Malla/AP)

The Trump administration is developing a new strategy to deal with the growing Iranian and Russian influence in Syria, NBC News reportd on October 16 citing defense officials.

According to the report, the new plan will include a further increase of political, economic and diplomatic efforts to force Iran out of Syria and to punish Russia for its support to the Assad government.

“It would withhold reconstruction aid from areas where Iranian and Russian forces are present, according to three people familiar with the plan. The U.S. would also impose sanctions on Russian and Iranian companies working on reconstruction in Syria,” NBC News said.

NBC News also quoted Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which the outlet described as “a think tank strongly opposed to the Iranian regime”.

“There’s a real opportunity for the U.S. and its allies to make the Iranian regime pay for its continued occupation of Syria,” Dubowitz said.

The NBC News report also claimed that right now the US military is not seeking an open confrontation with Iranian forces in the war-torn country. Nonetheless, it’s obvious that Israel, a key US ally in the region and another support of the large-scale anti-Iranian strategy, will not abandon its attempts to strike alleged Iranian and Iran-linked targets in the war-torn country even despite the recent delivery of Russian-made S-300 air defense systems to the Syrian military.

If the delivered systems show themselves effective against the Israeli Air Force and some Israeli aircraft are shot down, this could and most likely will lead to further escalation of the conflict between Iran and the US-Israeli bloc.

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