Biden Forces Occupying Syria’s Largest Gas Field Carry out a Military Drill

ARABI SOURI

Biden forces illegally occupying Syria’s largest Conoco Gas field in Deir Ezzor province carried out a military drill using live ammunition, yesterday Sunday 15 May 2022, local sources have reported.

The local sources added that helicopters from two illegal military bases run by the Syrian oil and gas thieves of the US Army took part in the drill with sounds of explosions heard dozens of miles away from the gas field, the sources added the loud sounds of explosions to the heavy artillery and mortars used during the drill.

Biden forces have been beefing up their illegal military bases in the northeastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, mainly in the oil and gas fields in the region, with advanced gears and armored vehicles like the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, in addition to logistical support material, assorted weaponry, and large caches of ammunition.

This latest drill comes a month after a military drill carried out by the US army oil and gas thieves with their proxy Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists, the 4th of April’s drill included surface to surface missiles, fighter jets, tanks, and artillery.

Though the Biden junta continues the policies of his predecessors in justifying the illegal presence of their forces in Syria by claiming they’re fighting ISIS (ISIL), the only thing they have not done yet is actually combat ISIS, all they did was empower ISIS by dropping weapons and ammunition, by mistake – for the record, multiple times, air-lifting ISIS commanders when endangered and moving them to other regions where soon terrorist attacks were carried out against the Syrian army and civilians in the Syrian desert.

Another thing that the Biden forces have excelled at in Syria is plundering Syria’s grains, including wheat and barley, oil, and gas, thus depriving the Syrian people of their food to eat and feed their children, and fuel to heat their homes, cook their food, and transport within their own country, this comes on top of the inhumane blockade the US regime imposes on Syria and the draconian sanctions it imposes on countries and companies, especially US companies willing to do any legitimate business with Syria.

The US armed forces illegally deployed and operating in Syria have earlier gone to further lengths in their support to ISIS, in particular, by carrying out a military drill with one of the ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups so-called Maghawir Thawra within the 50 kilometers kill zone they control in the Al Tanf region in Syria’s furthest southeastern desert at the border junction with Iraq and Jordan.

What remains a puzzle for the rest of the world, especially the victims of the US wars on humanity around the globe: don’t the US citizens, mainly the taxpayers, have other priorities in their lives than to kill and maim innocent people on the other side of the planet? How about securing food for their own children, at least, not talking about the healthcare issues, infrastructure, housing, pandemics, jobs, et al, instead of spending their hard-earned tax money on financing the Military-Industrial Complex?

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

9 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mohamad Zreik 

As the world order shifts into a multipolar world, a new balance of power based on economic ties centered in Asia emerges.

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

Unanimity on a new American century had gone unchecked for a decade. The warhawk John Bolton lambasted Xi’s authoritarianism, claiming the new crackdown has made it practically hard for the CIA to keep agents in China.

Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has evolved enormously since its inception. Today, multipolarity has developed, promising long-term progress for everyone who follows its norms. And Syria is one among them, had lately returned to world prominence after defeating a decade-long military offensive by the traditional unipolar actors.

In spite of this, unlawful US sanctions continue to harm the hungry, impede the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure and access to clean water, and restrict the livelihood of millions in Syria.

“We welcome Syria’s involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative,” stated Xi Jinping to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on November 5.

In July 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the Arab League’s head to discuss Syria’s return to the fold. A four-point plan to end Syria’s multi-faceted crisis was signed by China at the end of the tour, which coincided with Assad’s re-election.

Surrounded by western-backed separatist movements, Syria reiterated its support for China’s territorial integrity. In 2018, China gave Syria $28 million, and in September 2019, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi proposed China-Iraq oil for rebuilding and greater BRI integration.

Events orchestrated by foreign forces halted this progress. Protests swiftly overthrew Abdul Mahdi’s administration and the oil-for-reconstruction scheme. In recent months, Iraq has rekindled this endeavor, but progress has been modest.

These projects are currently mostly channeled through the 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership deal between China and Iran in March 2021. This might open the way for future rail and energy lines connecting Iran with Iraq and Syria.

At the first formal BRI meeting in April 2019, President Assad stated: “The Silk Route (Belt and Road Initiative) crossing through Syria is a foregone conclusion when this infrastructure is constructed, since it is not a road you can merely put on a map.”

China and Syria are now staying quiet on specifics. Assad’s wish list may be deduced from his previous strategic vision for Syria. Assad’s Five Seas Strategy, which he pushed from 2004 to 2011, has gone after the US began attacking Syria.

The “Five Seas Strategy” includes building rail, roads, and energy systems to connect Syria to the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Black, Red, and Caspian Seas. The project is a logical link that connects Mackinder’s world island’s states. This initiative was “the most significant thing” Assad has ever done, he claimed in 2009.

Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon were among the countries Assad led delegations to sign agreements with in 2011. President Qaddafi of Libya and a coalition of nations including Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt were building the Great Man-Made River at the time.

We can’t comprehend why Qaddafi was killed, why Sudan was partitioned in 2009, or why the US is presently financing a regime change in Ethiopia until we grasp this tremendous, game-changing strategic paradigm. Diplomatic confidentiality between China and West Asia is so essential in the post-regime transition situation.

Over the last decade, BRI-compliant initiatives throughout West Asia and Africa have been sabotaged in various ways. This has been a pattern. Neither Assad nor the Chinese want to go back to that.

The Arab League re-admitted Syria on November 23, revealing the substance of this hidden diplomacy. They have proved that they are prepared to accept their humiliation, acknowledge Assad’s legitimacy, and adjust to the new Middle Eastern powers of China and Russia: the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Unlike decades of US promises that consider Arab participation as disposable short-term interests, the China-Russia cooperation provides genuine, demonstrable advantages for everybody.

The BRI now includes 17 Arab and 46 African countries, while the US has spent the last decade sanctioning and fining those who do not accept its global hegemony. Faced with a possible solution to its current economic problems and currency fluctuations, Turkey has turned to China for help.

Buying ISIS-controlled oil, sending extremist fighters to the region, and receiving arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar were all known methods of supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda operations in Iraq and Syria. The CIA’s funding has dwindled in recent months, leaving ISIS with little else to work with.

Though US President Joe Biden reiterated US military backing for the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), the Kurds’ hand has been overplayed. Many people now realize that the Kurds have been tricked into acting as ISIS’ counter-gang, and that promises of a Kurdish state are as unreal as Assad’s demise. For a long time, it was evident that Syria’s only hope for survival was Russia’s military assistance and China’s BRI, both of which need Turkey to preserve Syria’s sovereignty.

This new reality and the impending collapse of the old unipolar order in West Asia give reason to believe that the region, or at least a significant portion of it, is already locked in and counting on the upcoming development and connectivity boom.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

ما الاستراتيجيّة الأميركيّة الجديدة ضدّ سورية…؟

الجمعة 11 شباط 2022

 العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط _

عجزت أميركا التي قادت الحرب الكونية على سورية، عن تحقيق أهداف هذه الحرب التي اندلعت نارها منذ 11 عاماً وحشد لها خلال تلك المدة اكثر من 360 ألف مسلح وإرهابي من 83 دولة، وسخرت لأجلها المئات من المنصات العالمية المتنوّعة بين المكتوب والمرئي والمسموع واعتمدت فيها أساليب وأنواع الحروب من الجيل الثالث الى الخامس، ورغم كلّ ذلك فشلت تلك الحرب التي تحلّ الذكرى الحادية عشرة لإطلاقها بعد شهر من الآن. حرب فشلت في تحقيق أهدافها وتمكنت سورية بقواتها الذاتية أولاً ثم بمساعدة من الحلفاء في محور المقاومة ثم الأصدقاء الروس، تمكنت من صدّ العدوان واستعادت السيطرة الكاملة على معظم الأرض السورية (75٪ من مجمل المساحة السورية) وأن تتواجد بمستويات مختلفة في القسم الذي يمارس الاحتلال الأميركي او الاحتلال التركي السيطرة عليه، او في المنطقة التي أفسد الإرهاب أمنها او زوّرت النزعة الانفصالية الكردية هويتها.

ومع هذا النجاح المميّز وضعت الدولة السورية استراتيجية وطنية من أجل استكمال النجاح واستعادة او العودة الى الحياة الطبيعية بالمقدار الذي تتيحه الظروف المتشكلة. واقامت تلك الاستراتيجية على قوائم أربع سياسية وعسكرية ومجتمعية ـ مدنية واقتصادية.

ففي السياسة قامت الحكومة السورية بإجراء الانتخابات في مواعيدها رغم كلّ العراقيل التي وضعت أمامها، كما راعت انتظام الحياة القانونية في البلاد وانتظام الحضور الفاعل في المنظمات الدولية واتجهت لاستغلال أيّة فرصة تلوح لاستعادة العلاقات مع الدول العربية بخاصة المجاورة منها كلبنان والأردن والعراق، سعي جاء معطوفاً على مسعى جزائري لتهيئة البيئة المناسبة لعودة سورية لإشغال مقعدها في الجامعة العربية بدءاً من اجتماع القمة المرتقب انعقاده في الأشهر الثلاثة المقبلة.

وفي الشأن الأمني والعسكري حرصت الدولة السورية على الاستمرار في مدّ الجيش والقوات المسلحة الأخرى بكلّ أسباب القوة المادية والمعنوية من أجل استمرار النجاح في أداء المهام الوطنية واتجهت الى إجراء عملية تحشيد عسكري فاعل في محيط المناطق الخارجة عن سيطرة الدولة؛ عملية ترمي الى العمل على خطين خط المشاغلة العسكرية لتعهّد الميدان تحضيراً ليوم التحرير بالقوة ان فشلت مساعي التحرير الأخرى ودعماً للمقاومة الشعبية بوجهيها المدني والمسلح، والتي تشكلت في المناطق المحتلة.

أما على الصعيد المدني ـ المجتمعي والملاحقات القضائية فقد عملت سورية بقواعد العدالة الانتقالية والمتضمنة العفو والمصالحة وأطلقت ما أسمي «التسويات» لأوضاع الفارّين من الخدمة العسكرية او من وجه العدالة خاصة ممن لم تلوّث أيديهم بسفك الدم السوري. وقد نجح مسار التسوية هذا في استعادة أجزاء من الشعب خاصة الشباب منهم الى حضن الدولة فتوقفت الملاحقات بشأنهم ووفر ذلك للدولة أكثر من منفعة ومصلحة وحرم أعداء سورية من مصدر مهم لتحشيد المقاتلين ضدّ دولتهم.

ويبقى الشأن الاقتصادي الذي شكل الخاصرة الرخوة في الوضع السوري بسبب الحرب الاقتصادية الظالمة والإرهاب الاقتصادي الوحشي الذي تمارسه أميركا ومَن معها ضدّ سورية، وتحاول سورية استعمال المتاح من الإمكانات وما يتوفر لها من مساعدات من الحلفاء والأصدقاء تحاول وضع الخطط الاقتصادية التي تتكيّف مع الواقع الصعب القائم تكيفا يخفف أولاً من سلبياتها ثم يخرجها منه بعد حين.

في مقابل الاستراتيجية الوطنية التي أطلقتها سورية لاستعادة الحياة الطبيعية في البلاد بعد انكسار وهزيمة من شنّ الحرب الكونية عليها. في مقابل ذلك يبدو أنّ أميركا التي تكابر وترفض الإقرار بالهزيمة رغم انّ إعلامها يصرّح بذلك، يبدو أنها وضعت استراتيجية عدوانية مضادة بدأت ملامحها تتبيّن في الميدان وهي استراتيجية عدوان متجدّد، وصحيح أنها لا تتمادى لتصل بأهدافها الى حجم أهداف الحرب الكونية الأساس التي رمت الى إسقاط الدولة السورية كلياً وتفكيكها ثم إعادة تركيبها بما يناسب المشروع الصهيوأميركي في المنطقة، استراتيجية ترمي الى منع سورية من استثمار انتصارها والحؤول دون عودتها للحياة الطبيعية.

وعليه يبدو أنّ أميركا اعتمدت في سورية استراتيجية عدوان يمكن تعريفها بانها «استراتيجية استمرار العدوان وتعهد الإرهاب لمنع العودة للحياة الطبيعية» وهي تنفذ على الوجه التالي:

ـ على الصعيد السياسي ترمي الى الحدّ من تفعيل علاقات سورية بالخارج دولاً ومنظمات، ولذلك نجد كيف انّ أميركا عبر قطر تعارض عودة سورية الى مقعدها في الجامعة العربية وتراوغ لتعرقل العلاقات السورية مع دول الجوار. والمثل الأخير هنا عرقلة مسعى لبنان للاستفادة من الغاز المصري والكهرباء الأردنية رغم كلّ الوعود الأميركية التي أطلقت منذ عدة أشهر.

ـ أما على الصعيد الاقتصادي فهي تستمرّ بالتشدّد في الحرب الاقتصادية تحت عنوان «قانون قيصر» وتتوخى مزيداً من الضغط على الشعب السوري حتى لا يثق بحكومته او يعود للميدان احتجاجاً على النقص في الخدمات. فالحرب الاقتصادية هي ركن أساس من أركان العدوان الأميركي المستمر على سورية.

ـ اما التسويات المدنية القضائية فإنّ أميركا تنظر اليها بعين الخشية والرفض لأنها ترسي دعائم السلام المدني بين الشعب والدولة وتستعيد من غرّر بهم او أخطأوا بحق وطنهم تستعيدهم الى الوطن ليساهموا في إعماره من جهة، ويفقدوا أعداءه منجماً ومصدر تحشيد وتجنيد لذلك تعمل أميركا بشتى الطرق لعرقلة مسار التسويات تحت شعار «الحرب لم تنته بعد». وهو كلام يجافي الواقع.

ـ على الصعيد الأمني والعسكري، اتجهت أميركا الى تفعيل تنظيم داعش الإرهابي وأعادت انتشار عناصره بعد ان أطلقت العدد الكثير منهم من سجن الصناعة في الحسكة، ونقلت المئات من إرهابيّيه بطائراتها ونشرتهم في ميادين إرهاب محدّدة من قبلها في العراق وسورية ثم قامت بمسرحية قتل القرشي زعيم داعش في عملية عسكرية لم يطلع على تفاصيلها أحد من غير الأميركيين مما جعل الكثيرين من العقلاء يشككون بحدوث القتل ويتجهون للقول بانّ أميركا أرادت ان تسجل انتصاراً وتظهر عزماً على قتال داعش فنظمت هذه المسرحية الوهمية وهي تشتهر بالتلفيق وإخراج المسرحيات الوهمية.

إنّ الموضوع الأمني هو الآن الى جانب الإرهاب الاقتصادي هو الركن الأساس في استراتيجية العدوان الأميركي، وهو موضوع بدأت أميركا بالعمل عليه وتنفيذه منذ ثلاثة اشهر تقريباً وبات في مراحل متقدمة ويهدف الى زعزعة الأمن والاستقرار في المناطق المطهّرة وإشغال القوى العسكرية والأمنية السورية لمنعها من استكمال عمليات التطهير والتحرير لما تبقى من أرض سورية، وتعطيل الحياة وعجلة الإنتاج في المناطق التي تحكم الدولة سيطرتها عليها خاصة في المدن الكبرى، ولذلك جاء التحذير الروسي من هذا الأمر تحذيراً صدر عن المخابرات الروسية التي اعتمدت هذا الأسلوب في الإعلان لتبلغ أميركا بأنّ خططها الإرهابية العدوانية هي تحت مراقبة العين الأمنية الدفاعية السورية والحليفة.

أمام هذا المشهد يطرح السؤال ماذا تتوخى أميركا من خططها الإجرامية تلك؟ وهي تعرف انّ هجومها الأساسي الذي كان قد حشدت له كمّاً أكبر من المشاركين وسخرت له الأموال الأكثر ونفذته قواعد أوسع من الإرهابيين ورغم ذلك لم ينجح في إسقاط سورية، فما الذي تبتغيه الآن من استئناف العدوان المتجدد؟

لا نظنّ انّ أميركا تريد في نهجها الجديد «إعادة إحياء ما تسمّيه الثورة السورية» وهي أعجز من ذلك ولا يمكن ان تتصوّر أنها بهذه الاستراتيجية وفي ظلّ المشهد الدولي المتغيّر لغير صالحها فضلاً عن المناعة السورية الأساسية والمكتسبة قادرة على تعويض ما فاتها في الحرب الكونية الفاشلة، يبقى أن نظنّ او نعتقد بأنّ أميركا تريد من فعلها العدواني المتجدّد بالصيغة المتقدّم ذكرها تبتغي ان تبعد عن نفسها أولاً كأس الهزيمة في سورية لأنها لا تحتمل ذلك الآن بعد الخروج المهين من أفغانستان، ثم تريد أن تشغل سورية وحلفاءها بورقة ضغط عليهم لإعطائها شيئاً ما في المشهد السوري، فأميركا تريد أن تمتلك أوراق ضغط للتنازل السوري ولا نعتقد أنها تطمح بتحويلها الى عناصر تغيير وانتصار استراتيجي ضدّ سورية وحلفائها الذين يعملون مطمئنين لإنجازاتهم ولمستقبلهم الواعد خلال الأشهر الآتية… أشهر لن تحمل لأميركا ما يسرّها في الميدان او السياسة.

أستاذ جامعيّ ـ باحث استراتيجيّ

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Defying US Caesar Act, China admits Syria into BRI


January 14 2022

By Giorgio Cafiero

Syria’s entry into China’s Belt and Road Initiative is to support its economic integration into West Asia and fortify its post-conflict recovery

Marking a major boost to Sino-Syrian relations, on 12 January, Syria joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s ambitious infrastructure development strategy stretching from East Asia to Europe.

For analysts with an eye on Syria, the development was expected. In November 2021, President Bashar al-Assad discussed his country gaining membership in the BRI with his counterpart in Beijing, Xi Jinping, following high-level meetings between officials of both states in previous months.

The move will likely help Syria deepen its cooperative and economic ties to other countries in the BRI, and enable it to circumvent the effects of harsh US sanctions on the country.

China clearly seeks to bolster the government in Damascus. Over the past decade, and for various reasons enumerated here on The Cradle, conflict-ridden Syria has been a country of increasing interest to Beijing.

Economy and the long game

China’s BRI agenda has been one main point of mutual interest: As Beijing sees it, Syria represents a corridor to the Mediterranean Sea which bypasses the Suez Canal and revives ancient trade routes connecting China to the African and European continents.

The incorporation of coastal Tartus and the capital city of Damascus into the BRI could boost Beijing’s economic footing in the Levant and Mediterranean.

Although nearly 11 years of warfare in Syria have prevented the Chinese from leveraging the Arab state’s geostrategic location to advance Beijing’s BRI, China’s leadership has carefully focused on playing the long game.

Now, in the post-conflict era, with Syria in need of massive reconstruction and infrastructure projects, China’s BRI has been brought into play.

Ancient links and modern opportunities

As a BRI member, Syria will look to further integrate itself economically into West Asia. In desperate need of foreign investment for the process of redevelopment, the Syrian leadership views China as a key investor and partner to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

Importantly, during this period, China’s good will has grown among Syrians, in large part because of Beijing’s bold initiatives to thwart direct western military intervention at the UN Security Council and other institutions.

It is safe to assume that China will, at least eventually, be able to leverage its popularity among Syrians to take advantage of new economic opportunities in the country’s post-conflict future.

At the ceremony of Syria’s admission into the BRI, held this month in Damascus, Fadi Khalil, who heads Syria’s Planning and International Cooperation Commission, hailed the initiative. He invoked the historic roles of Aleppo and Palmyra in the ancient Silk Road and spoke about the potential for future Sino-Syrian relations within the framework of greater bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Khalil and Feng Biao, Beijing’s ambassador to Syria, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Syria’s admission into this Chinese initiative, which other Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, have previously joined at different levels of commitment.

Other recent developments underscore the extent to which Syria and China are deepening their ties. At the start of this year, Beijing aided Syria by sending over more than a million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to Syrian state-owned media.

Despite the many ways in which Syria sees itself benefitting from membership in the BRI, the West Asian framework for this project will be no bed of roses.

A geographic wrench in the works

For Beijing, it is important that Iraq establish a long-term BRI corridor to both Syria and Jordan. While the BRI route between Iran and Syria – that traverses Iraq – has yet to be agreed upon with Baghdad, the Chinese must have many valid concerns about the security risks of doing business in Syria and Iraq.

China recognizes that “Iraq continues to top the list of high-risk investment destinations” in this grandiose project. Obviously, the same can be said about Syria where ISIS and other extremist militants continue to wage acts of terrorism, notably on the country’s borders with Iraq and Turkey.

With serious issues stemming from terrorism, social unrest, economic woes, and violent political instability, Iraq and Syria are two countries plagued by countless security uncertainties.

Although Chinese firms tend to accept higher levels of security risks than western companies, securing the BRI in Syria’s volatile neighborhood will prove no easy task for Beijing and its West Asian trade partners.

A far more stable and secure BRI economic corridor to Europe would be via northern Iran – a route already secured – then extending directly from Iran into Turkey. Yet the ice-cold state of Ankara-Damascus relations, China’s view of Turkey as an uneasy BRI partner, and NATO pressures on Ankara to avoid Beijing and Tehran, all contribute to practical challenges that will not be easy for the BRI’s financiers to quickly overcome.

But the Sino-Syrian deal this week shows that China is moving forward with its West Asian framework, despite these obstacles. One wonders whether Beijing has reason to believe Iraq’s acquiescence to the BRI is already in the bag. There is little point of developing the Syrian part of the project, without the Iraqi bridge necessary to secure Iran’s connectivity to Syria.

Washington’s reconstruction obstacle: The Caesar Act

On 17 July, 2020, the US began implementing the most sweeping sanctions which Washington has ever imposed on Syria.

Formally known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (or Caesar Act), the Biden administration continues to target Syria with Trump-era sanctions which pursue entities or individuals worldwide – including third-party actors – conducting business with government-dominated bodies of the Syrian economy, such as gas, oil, construction, engineering, and banking.

When China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Damascus in July 2021, he met with Assad and other high-ranking Syrian government figures.

That visit by Beijing’s top diplomat was an early indication of China’s seriousness about strengthening ties with Syria, despite Washington’s continued imposition of wide-ranging sanctions on the state.

During his visit to Syria, Wang emphasized his government’s staunch opposition to the foreign-backed ‘regime change’ agenda targeting the Assad government. Beijing frames its pro-Assad stance within the context of supporting Syria’s sovereignty as an independent nation-state.

Throughout the past 11 years of warfare in Syria, China has maintained four core beliefs on the conflict: First, that the Syrian people need to reach a political solution; second, that a political transition in Syria is necessary; third, that top priorities include nation-wide reconciliation and unity; and fourth, that the international community has an obligation to help Syria.

The BRI, while initiated and heavily financed by the Chinese, is ultimately a multinational project involving dozens of countries, many of them US-allied, and interconnected with Syria via history, religion, culture, and economy – past and present.

A project this global is unlikely to come to a grinding halt because of a domestic US government ruling on trade formulated thousands of miles away from the activity.

Fighting terrorism in Syria and China

Another issue that has driven the Beijing-Damascus joint agenda in recent years is China’s ‘securitization campaign’ or ‘pacification drive’ in Xinjiang.

Assad’s government has publically condemned western efforts to use the plight of Uighurs for the purpose of creating a wedge between China and Muslim-majority countries.

Syria, like most Arab-Islamic countries, has defended Beijing in the face of the US and other western governments which allege that Chinese authorities are guilty of waging ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang, where about 12 million Uighurs, mostly Muslim, reside.

Mindful of the fact that Uighur jihadists came from Xinjiang to Syria to fight the Syrian government in the ranks of Islamic State and other violent extremist groups, Damascus and Beijing see themselves as having common cause in a struggle against terrorism and extremism.

In 2017, Syria’s ambassador to Beijing said that roughly 5,000 terrorists from Xinjiang were transported, mostly via Turkey, to Syria during the conflict. Chinese authorities have voiced serious concerns about the now battle-hardened and indoctrinated extremists potentially returning to China to carry out acts of terrorism.

Likewise, Beijing rejects the view of western governments that Assad is guilty of serious crimes. China’s leadership believes that the Syrian government deserves praise for its fight against forces which sought to overthrow Assad and his government.

When Wang was in Syria last summer, he said that “the Syrian government’s leading role in fighting terrorism on its soil should be respected, schemes of provoking ethnic divisions under the pretense of countering terrorism should be opposed, and Syria’s sacrifice and contribution to the anti-terror fight should be acknowledged.”

The future of the Sino-Syrian relationship

Currently in the US there is strong support from both sides of Washington’s political aisle for stringent Trump-era US sanctions on Damascus. In fact, this year, Biden’s administration has come under bipartisan pressure to intensify the US government’s enforcement of the Caesar Act.

Given the existing polarization and hostility in West Asian geopolitics, it is difficult to imagine Washington lifting the Caesar Act in the foreseeable future. Ultimately, this means that the US will probably continue to target Syria’s economy with crippling sanctions.

Within this context, Damascus has all the reason in the world to pursue strategies that can help it minimize the harm caused by Washington’s financial warfare.

“China can play an important role in weakening the impact of the Caesar sanctions,” said Dr. Joshua Landis, head of the Middle East department at the University of Oklahoma, in an interview last year with The Cradle.

“In Iran, China has done this,” Landis explained. “Iran’s oil exports, which were devastated by sanctions, have begun to grow again, largely because China is purchasing Iranian oil again. China is the workshop of the world so it can supply most of the goods that Syria needs. China is also strong enough to thumb its nose at US sanctions. As the US increasingly forbids US companies from dealing with Chinese firms, China has greater incentive to punish the US by breaking sanctions on countries like Iran and Syria.”

Now that Syria has joined the BRI, it is safe to conclude that the Chinese will play an increasingly important role in terms of Syria’s strategies for withstanding sanctions imposed by the US.

The odds are good that, as time passes, China and Syria’s geopolitical and geo-economic value to each other will only expand.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

غلاف اليوم لمجلة نيوزويك الأمريكية …الأسد “لقد عاد” Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Returns to World Stage in Defeat for US, Win for its Foes

ON 10/13/21 AT 5:00 AM EDT
NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE

BY TOM O’CONNOR 

Ten years ago, it appeared to be the beginning of the end for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. His government’s brutal crackdowns on peaceful protests in 2011 had given birth to an insurgency backed by foreign foes—the U.S. among them. Atrocities mounted, including use of chemical weapons against civilians, mass murders and torture, over the course of the decade-long civil war that followed. Estimates suggest that more than 600,000 people have died and millions more have been displaced, making the Syrian civil war one of the deadliest, most disruptive conflicts of the 21st century.

One by one, countries severed ties with Assad and his government, including the U.S., which imposed economic sanctions in 2011 and shuttered its embassy for good in 2012. Even the Arab League, an influential organization of fellow regional nations, banished Assad in the fall of 2011 in hopes of welcoming the growing armed opposition to his rule—a strategy it had used with dissidents in Libya, where longtime leader Muammar el-Qaddafi was slaughtered by NATO-backed rebels just as foreign governments and the United Nations were preparing to take action in Syria as well.

Assad, in short, became an international pariah.

But now it’s the twilight of 2021, and the Syrian president has not only survived but appears poised to make a stunning comeback on the world stage. A decade after his actions helped set the civil war in motion, Assad stands strong over a largely broken country that has few other options for leadership. And with the help of longtime allies Iran and Russia, he has managed to retake much of Syria from the hands of the rebels and jihadis that tried to oust him.

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Syria’s President Bashar al-AssadPHOTO-ILLUSTRATION BY GLUEKIT; SOURCE PHOTO BY ALEXEI DRUZHININ/TASS/GETTY

Now, recognizing reality, many of the countries that cut him off 10 years ago have begun to welcome him back, despite ongoing U.S. opposition to his rule. Telling signs: Just last month Jordan reopened its border with Syria, and the Arab League is widely expected to reinstate its membership shortly.

“Assad will stay in power,” former Ambassador Robert Ford, the last U.S. envoy to Syria, tells Newsweek. “There’s no way to imagine that the Syrian opposition now through force of arms is going to be able to compel him to step down. There isn’t a viable alternative.”

For Ford, who witnessed the developments that led to the civil war firsthand, dodging angry mobs in Damascus in the fall of 2011 and the al-Qaeda-linked bombs that rocked the capital city the following winter, it’s a tough outcome to watch. “Syria is a shattered country economically, it’s shattered socially, too,” he says. “Half the country’s been displaced [and] more than a fourth of the population has fled the country. It’s not going to get better for average Syrians inside Syria, and it’s not going to get better for Syrian refugees. It’s just tragic.

With a change in leadership unlikely, the emphasis will now shift to how other countries deal with Damascus, says Mona Yacoubian, a former State Department analyst who today serves as senior adviser on Syria at the United States Institute of Peace. “Given stalwart Russian and Iranian backing, Assad is likely to maintain his hold on power for at least the medium term,” Yacoubian tells Newsweek. “Many countries in the region have come to understand this, and we are starting to see more prominent efforts to accommodate this reality.”

As rapprochement between Syria and other Arab nations moves forward, what is not yet clear is just what shape those efforts will take and, critically, how the U.S. will respond—developments that are likely to affect the balance of power in the region and beyond.

Out of the Cold, Back in the Fold

What’s driving the countries that shunned Assad to move toward normalizing relations, given that the conditions that led to him being ostracized haven’t fundamentally changed? Experts say the desire for regional stability appears to be stronger than the concerns over Assad’s leadership or the allegations of mass human rights abuses that have accompanied it.

“As the region contends with crisis and chaos, deepening economic challenges, the COVID pandemic and widespread humanitarian suffering, governments in the region are more interested in de-escalating conflicts and addressing these persistent and destabilizing challenges,” Yacoubian says.

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Russia has been one of the few countries to back the Syrian government in the country’s civil war. Here, Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin lat a candle-lighting ceremony in 2020.ALEXEI DRUZHININ/TASS/GETTY

Among the examples she cites of the shift in regional sentiment toward Assad is the recent improvement in relations between Syria and Jordan, a major U.S. partner in the Middle East. In addition to reopening the border in September, Jordan’s King Abdullah II symbolically took a call from Assad earlier this month, the first such communication between the two leaders in a decade. Also noteworthy: the recent decision by the Biden administration to alleviate some of the harsher sanctions against Assad encoded in the Caesar Act, a 2019 law that restricts foreign companies from engaging in business activities that support Damascus. The changes allowed delivery of Egyptian gas and Jordanian fuel to energy-starved Lebanon through Syria.

Other signs of tensions easing in the region: The UAE and Bahrain have already reopened their Damascus embassies, and INTERPOL this month readmitted Syria to the global law enforcement body for the first time since banishing the country in 2012.

The motives for bringing Syria back into the fold among various Arab states were elucidated in a report earlier this year by David Schenker, who served as assistant State Department Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs until January, and is now a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“A range of parochial motivations appear to be driving this embrace,” Schenker wrote in his report, which he shared with Newsweek. “For the UAE, reintegrating Assad and rebuilding Syria holds the promise of ending Turkey’s deployment in Idlib, where the Emirati adversary has stationed troops to prevent additional refugee flows. Jordan seems driven primarily by a desire to help its economy, repatriate refugees, reestablish consistent trade and restore overland transportation through Syria en route to Turkey and Europe. In this regard, Washington’s Caesar Act restrictions continue to irritate Amman.”

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Syrian kids are seen at a makeshift camp at Syria – Turkey border in northern Idlib on April 2, 2020, three years after a suspected chemical attack was conducted in Khan Shaykhun.MUHAMMED ABDULLAH/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY

Larger regional concerns have also swayed the likes of Egypt and Israel, which hope to limit the entrenchment of another non-Arab power: Iran. “More broadly, Egyptian officials seemingly subscribe to the dubious idea that Syria’s reentry into the league would gradually accentuate its ‘Arabism’ and thereby move Damascus away from Persian Iran,” Schenker says in the report. “Other regional states likely share similar views; even some Israeli national security figures improbably assess that Russia may limit Iranian encroachment in postwar Syria under Assad.”

All of these developments, though, are at odds with the official U.S. stance on Assad and Syria. Diplomatic ties between Washington and Damascus remain severed, and their respective embassies closed, with no clear path to reconciliation.

Still, unofficially at least, there appear to be changes afoot. “The Biden administration has said that it will not normalize relations with Assad, but does not appear any longer to be dissuading Arab partners from doing so,” Schenker tells Newsweek. “Caesar Act sanctions, if applied, may prevent Arab states from resuming ‘normal’ relations, including trade, with Assad’s Syria. But the increasingly senior engagements are undermining the isolation of the Assad regime and what’s left of the Trump-era policy of pressuring the regime” to implement a 2015 United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire and a political settlement to end Syria’s ongoing civil war.

“Until now, this policy has prevented the Assad regime from achieving a full victory,” Schenker says. “As Arab states move to reembrace Assad, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain the sanctions.”

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A US military convoy takes part in joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha on the outskirts of Tal Abyad town along the border with Turkish troops, on September 8, 2019.DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/GETTY

Meanwhile, Syria continues to maintain a diplomatic presence in the U.S. in the form of the country’s permanent mission to the United Nations in New York City. Aliaa Ali, who serves as third secretary at the mission, tells Newsweek her government hopes that the recent decision by the Biden administration to allow energy shipments to Lebanon will “reflect positively on the Syrian people, and be a stepping stone for the United States of America to rescind its wrong policies and approaches in the region.”

Ali characterizes these developments as a triumph for Syria and a loss for the U.S., saying that they “would not have taken place without the victory of the Syrian state, the failure of the American administrations to achieve their goals and the realization of the majority of regional and international countries that no results can be reached regarding policies or drawing strategic paths in the region unless coordinating with Damascus.”

But the presence of unsanctioned foreign troops on Syrian soil remains a sticking point with Damascus—about 900 U.S. troops remain in the country, even after the Biden administration’s military exit from Afghanistan and stated goal of ending “forever wars.” Bouthaina Shaaban, one of Assad’s top advisers, tells Newsweek that “we cannot talk about a final Syrian victory unless the entire Syrian land is liberated, as we still have parts of our country occupied by American and Turkish powers.”

The Syrian Perspective

Shaaban’s tenure in the Syrian government dates back to the days of Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, who assumed the presidency in 1971, beginning a half a century of dynastic rule that continues to this day. Relations with the West were mostly strained under the elder Assad, a traditional adherent to the Baathist ideology, which blends socialism and Arab nationalism. His son, Bashar, was an aspiring ophthalmologist studying in the United Kingdom when his older brother’s death made him the heir apparent. He initially ushered in a new era, more cosmopolitan on its face, when he assumed the presidency after his father’s death in 2000.

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Undated picture shows Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and his wife Anisseh posing for a family picture with his children (Bashar is in the top row, second from the left).LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/GETTY

U.S.-Syria relations frayed throughout the first decade of the 21st century, however, and ultimately collapsed with the onset of the civil war in 2011. As for any U.S.-Syrian ties today, Shaaban tells Newsweek “we cannot talk about any new intentions until we see the U.S. withdrawing its troops from Syria.”

But she does see value in other nations building bridges with Syria, and maintains that many countries have come to support the Syrian government throughout the course of the conflict. She believes these actions are consistent with a worldwide decline in U.S. power and influence.

Political adviser to Syria's Assad: Major victory over western missiles -  The Jerusalem Post

“The lack of confidence and the lack of credibility of U.S. policies during different administrations over the last decades, besides its continuous violation of international law and of international agencies, and its efforts to create conflicts in many countries, all these led to the deterioration of the position and role of the U.S. in the world,” Shaaban says. “Not only countries who have different points of views with the U.S., but even allies of the U.S. started to lose confidence in U.S. policies.”

She characterizes the Syrian conflict thus far as a win over the West and what it tried to prove to the world.

“The first message the war on Syria has proven is that all Western propaganda about this war was groundless,” Shaaban says. “Western media portrayed what happened in Syria as an uprising against the president of Syria and the war as a civil war. A reality check proves that no president can remain in power if his people are against him, especially as terrorism was supported and financed by so many countries in the world.”

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Syrian senior presidential advisor Buthaina Shaaban answers journalists’ questions on Syrian peace talks at the United Nations on January 29, 2014 in Geneva.FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/GETTY

Shabaan’s message resonates in Syria beyond government halls, and its ramifications are global. One Syrian observer who has personally experienced and closely followed the events of the war tells Newsweek that the coalescing of U.S. foes in Syria means that countries like Russia, Iran and China may seek to block U.S. actions elsewhere too.

“The message is clear, the U.S. can be defeated, or at least stopped, as in Syria today,” says the observer, who asked to remain anonymous due to the country’s sensitive security situation. “From now on, U.S. foes won’t let what happened in Iraq and Libya happen again. The U.S. is not weaker, militarily or economically, but its enemies are getting stronger and so is their will to work together.”

This observer recognizes the uprising against Assad was launched by Syrians, but says the campaign to save him also had indigenous roots. “You can win a war against any regime in the world, but you can never win war against people,” the observer says. “It was the Syrian people who rose against Assad, but it was also the Syrian people who defended him.”

Existential Threats

Syrians on both sides of the civil war didn’t work alone. Just as volunteers from a multitude of countries joined the rebellion against the Syrian government over the course of the conflict, so foreign fighters also intervened on its behalf.

Among those who mobilized with Iran’s backing to support Assad in Syria in 2013 was neighboring Iraq’s Hezbollah al-Nujaba Movement, part of a self-proclaimed, mostly Shiite Muslim “Axis of Resistance” that opposes the actions of Washington and its partners in the region. Nasr al-Shammary, the group’s deputy secretary-general and spokesperson, describes in detail images of beheadings and eviscerations carried out by al-Qaeda that would soon rebrand as the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), and says the decision to intervene was rooted in such atrocities, which were accompanied by threats to the region’s Shiite Muslims, a minority in Syria.

“You can imagine what would happen if these terrorist groups took control of Syria. God forbid!” Shammary tells Newsweek.

Much of the world at that time was focused on other grisly images, such as barrel bombs falling from government aircraft on Syrian cities and reports of the systematic torture and murder of thousands of Assad’s enemies in secret prisons throughout the country. Allegations of Syrian government war crimes involving such banned weapons also continued, including the use of nerve gas to kill 1,400 citizens of Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, in 2013. All told, the conflict has made Syria the world leader in creating refugees and asylum seekers, with more than 6.6 million having fled the country, and even more internally displaced, according to figures shared by the U.N.

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Corpses of men and children killed by nerve gas after a suspected chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, in August 21, 2013.ERBIN NEWS/NURPHOTO/GETTY

And as the fighting intensified, Syrian jets and Russian allies in the air stood accused of bombing hospitals, schools and even religious institutions, ensuring nothing was sacred in such an unholy combat. The mounting reports prompted international investigations on behalf of the powers that still hoped to see Assad dethroned.

The opportunity presented itself for an ultimatum among a nation desperate for victory but war-weary all the same. After quietly funding an insurgency, the U.S. mapped out potential plans to bring the hammer down on Assad.

President Barack Obama had famously set a “red line” on the use of chemical weapons, meaning that their use would cross an internal threshold that triggered a U.S. military response. He even sought congressional approval for U.S. intervention. The president backed down, however, amid an international deal to disarm Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

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A survivor of the Assad government’s suspected chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun town of Idlib district, receives treatment at an hospital in Idlib, Syria on April 05, 2017.CEM GENCO/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY

But reports of abuses persisted, as did the ruthlessness of ISIS and other hard-line groups that overpowered and consumed the ranks of the “moderate” Free Syrian Army. Washington was coming to realize that the Syrian opposition was doomed to self-destruction. The Pentagon saw a new protagonist in Syria’s indefatigable Kurdish community, which had always sought more autonomy from Assad’s Arab-oriented rule but now, like other minorities, faced a genocidal threat from jihadis.

Beyond the American Century

Shammary believes there are two causes for what he sees as the decline of U.S. power and influence. The first one, he says, is internal: “The United States today is no longer what it was before, and the main reason is the intransigent American policies that completely ignore the will of the peoples, their cultural heritage and their social fabric, the mistrust for the peoples in the region, the continuous abandonment of allies and the complete disregard of the interests of the countries of the region before American interests.”

Additionally, he argues, U.S. competitors have grown more capable and adaptable. “The second reason,” he says, “is the growing ability and strength of America’s competitors in the world—such as Russia, China and Iran—and the confidence of their allies in them and the positions of some of the mentioned countries that support and are loyal to these allies without any assumptions or interference in the values of peoples or their social fabric.

“READ MORE

And around the same time that the U.S. officially switched sides to back the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in October 2015, the skies over Syria were overwhelmed with the roar of Russian Air Force jets. “Assad was in some views a dictator, a monster, but he was Russia’s ally,” Evgeny Buzhinskiy, a retired lieutenant general of the Russian military who is now chairman of the executive board at the Russian International Affairs Council, tells Newsweek. “When Russia intervened in the year 2015, Assad was on the verge of collapse. Russia saved him.”

The beleaguered Syrian Arab Army, beset by death and defection, was reinvigorated by a great power partner that turned the tables in the skies and on the battlefield. And Russia, which had worked with China since 2011 to ensure Assad did not suffer the same fate as Qaddafi by vetoing international action in Syria, now coordinated closely with Tehran and its allies to keep a mutual friend in power.

“There was a division of labor,” Buzhinskiy says, “Russia acts from the sky, bombing and delivering missile strikes, and Iran is acting on the ground, in cooperation with the Syrian Armed Forces, simultaneously.”

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Smoke rises after a warplane belonging to the Russian Armed Forces bombed a residential area in the Darat Izza neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria on October 4, 2016.MAHMUD FAYSAL/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY

Buzhinskiy confirms that Moscow’s approach proved “a model” of sorts for successful intervention for Russia and its partners. This killer choreography not only kept Assad’s forces afloat, but, as Syrian Democratic Forces head of media operations Farhad Shami acknowledges, staved off desertions from the embattled Syrian Arab Army.

“Direct Russian and Iranian support were crucial to Assad’s survival in power,” Shami tells Newsweek. “Assad benefited greatly from Russian support in getting rid of his opponents and reducing their control over regions of Syria. And most importantly, it reduced the chances of defecting for many of those who complained about him, whether they were politicians or soldiers who are still now within the institutions of the system.”

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Bashar supporters make their feeling clear outside the Syrian Embassy in Moscow, during early voting for president this year.SERGEI BOBYLEV/TASS/GETTY

But Shami warns that Assad has “not once and for all survived the fall and faces many dangers if he does not achieve a sufficient degree of openness to society and change his behavior and mentality.”

Losing Wars, Choosing Battles

U.S. support for the Syrian Democratic Forces continues, though it is limited to defeating the remnants of ISIS. As Russia stepped up its own presence across Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces’ political wing, the Syrian Democratic Council, opened a line to Moscow as well in the hopes that the U.S. and Russia could work together to secure an agreement between them and Damascus.

“We are pretty interested in direct talks with Assad, with the Syrian government,” Syrian Democratic Council co-chair Elham Ahmad told a small gathering of journalists in Washington earlier this month. “We asked our partners to play a positive role in getting us to find a solution between us and the Syrian government.”

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An Anti-Assad Syrian demonstration held in Whitehall, Central London.IN PICTURES LTD./CORBIS/GETTY

Progress has been slow, however, and a lack of results has led to some second guessing at times, even among the U.S.-partnered force.

“From time to time, when we don’t see any physical or any real change, we try to recalculate our ideas,” Ahmad says, expressing hope that this visit to the U.S. capital may produce “something different” from prior experiences.

As for Ford, the former ambassador, he resigned from the State Department in 2014, frustrated by what he saw as a slow and misguided approach to the war in Syria. Today, he frequently discusses what went wrong for the U.S., but ultimately he emphasizes that the government in Washington was never in a primary position to steer the course of the conflict in Syria.

“For sure our credibility took a hit,” Ford says. “But I think what your readers really need to understand is that the Americans did not control the path of events in Syria. We did not expend the resources to change the course of events there, and even if we had vastly increased the number of resources, I’m not sure that we would have come out where we wanted to.”

He acknowledges the limitations of U.S. involvement in Syria, which he said falls far more readily within Tehran and Moscow’s sphere of influence than that of Washington.

“The Americans got involved in something that was much bigger than what the United States was about in the Middle East, and in a sense we ended up just being one player among many,” he says. “And when you’re one player among many, the single player does not control it, Iran does not control it, Russia by itself does not control it, even Assad himself does not control it, the Turks don’t. It’s a really complex interplay.”

And sometimes, he argues, it is best for the U.S. to stay out of the mix altogether, especially in countries where rivals have more interest, influence and the willingness to apply both.

Says Ford, “The Americans really do need to pick and choose their battles carefully.”

جيش تشرين بقيادة الأسدين يصنع الانتصارات…

أكتوبر/7 تشرين الأول 2021

See the source image
 حسن حردان

تحلّ ذكرى حرب تشرين التي خاضها الجيش العربي السوري بقيادة الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد بأفق التحرير، فيما خاضها الرئيس المصري أنور السادات بأفق تحريك التسوية بالاتفاق مع وزير خارجية أميركا هنري كيسنجر من وراء الرئيس الأسد.. تحلّ هذه الذكرى وسورية تقف على أعتاب تحقيق نصر جديد وغالي الثمن في مواجهة أشرس حرب إرهابية كونية شنتها عليها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية…

فالحرب ضدّ العدو الصهيوني الذي يحتل هضبة الجولان السوري، وأرض فلسطين، والحرب ضدّ قوى الإرهاب واحدة لا تتجزأ، لأنّ الإرهابيين الذين تستروا بثوب الإسلام زوراً إنما هم أدوات أميركا و»إسرائيل»، وهدفوا من وراء حربهم إلى إسقاط الدولة الوطنية السورية وتدمير الجيش السوري الذي أثبت في حرب تشرين انه قادر على خوض الحرب وتحقيق النصر وكسر شوكة وجبروت وأسطورة الجيش «الإسرائيلي»، كما أثبت انه يشكل بعقيدته العروبية، التي بُني عليها، سنداً قوياً للمقاومة ضدّ الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي» والاستعمار الغربي، وقوة حامية للحق العربي… وبالتالي سداً منيعاً يحول دون تنفيذ مخططات أميركا و»إسرائيل» الهادفة إلى تصفية قضية فلسطين وفرض الهيمنة الاستعمارية على المنطقة…

لقد أثبت الجيش العربي السوري قدرة قتالية فائقة في حرب تشرين في مواجهة جيش الاحتلال، ولقن جنود العدو دروساً في القتال المباشر على سفوح جبل الشيخ، وكاد جيش العدو يُدحر بالكامل وتلحق به هزيمة قاسية لولا الطعنة الغادرة التي وجهها السادات باتفاقه مع العدو على وقف النار، مما مكنه، أيّ العدو، من تعزيز قواته على جبهة الجولان وإعادة التوازن لجيش الاحتلال الذي كان يعاني من تراجع في معنوياته في الأيام الأولى للحرب.. على انّ البطولات التي سطرها ضباط وجنود الجيش السوري في ميادين القتال في موجهة جيش الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي»، ما كانت لتحصل لولا الثقة الكبيرة التي زرعها فيهم قائدهم الرئيس حافظ الأسد وقراره الجريء بالتحضير والاستعداد لخوض حرب تحرير الأراضي العربية المحتلة، والإقدام دون تردّد على اتخاذ قرار شنّ الحرب، مما أكد انّ سبب الهزائم العربية في السابق، إنما كانت نتيجة تخاذل القيادات العربية وارتباطها بقوى الاستعمار، وهكذا عندما توافرت القيادة الثورية والجريئة والشجاعة، تبدّلت الصورة وصنع النصر الذي أجهض نتيجة تواطؤ السادات ..

ولأنّ الرئيس بشار الأسد تربى في مدرسة القائد حافظ الأسد، وسار على نفس درب الكفاح الوطني والقومي المقاوم ضدّ المحتلين والمستعمرين وأدواتهم الرجعية والإرهابية، فقد صمد مع جيشه، جيش تشرين، صمود الأبطال في مواجهة الحرب الإرهابية الكونية، وأحبط أهداف هذه الحرب التي استهدفت تحطيم وتدمير وتفكيك هذا الجيش، الذي تربى على العقيدة القومية وعدم التهاون في الدفاع عن الوطن، وساند المقاومة في صنع انتصاراتها على جيش الاحتلال في لبنان وتحطيم أسطورته، ليتأكد بذلك انّ الأسطورة، بالمعنى المجازي للكلمة، إنما هو جيش تشرين الذي فاجأ أعداءه بقدرته على الصمود والانتصار على جيوش الإرهاب العالمي… وإجبار دول الغرب الاستعمارية بقيادة أميركا على الإقرار بفشل محاولاتها لإسقاط الرئيس بشار الأسد، والنيل من شرعيته الوطنية والشعبية.. وها هي أميركا تضطر مكرهة الى البدء بتجرّع كأس فشلها تدريجياً، من خلال القبول بتخفيف الحصار الذي فرضته على سورية بموجب قانون قيصر السيّئ الذكر، والسماح بانفتاح الأردن على سورية وإعادة العلاقات بين البلدين إلى ما كانت عليه قبل الحرب، واستجرار لبنان الكهرباء الأردنية والغاز المصري عبر الأراضي السورية.. الأمر الذي ما كان ليحصل لولا انتصارات الجيش السوري بدعم من حلفائه في محور المقاومة وروسيا…

ويمكن القول إنه بفضل هذه الانتصارات ستخرج سورية وجيشها أقوى وأكثر منعة وحصانة في مواجهة أعدائها، وستبقى الحضن الدافئ للمقاومة العربية ضدّ الاحتلال، وعمود محور المقاومة، وقلعة العروبة العصية على قوى الاستعمار… وأمل الأمة بالتحرر والوحدة، والمدافع الأول عن قضية الأمة المركزية قضية فلسطين.

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There are positive developments on the ground in Syria, but for America it’s sanctions and suffering as usual

Sep 30, 2021, RT.com

moi

-by Eva K Bartlett

Jordan is re-opening its border crossing with Syria and resuming flights to Damascus. In Syria, more armed groups lay down their weapons but while these positive developments occur, the US hunkers down to inflict more pain.

On September 29, Jordan’s Nassib border crossing to Syria re-opened, meaning a resumption not only of travel but of trade between the two nations. In early October, Royal Jordanian will start flying again to Syria’s capital.

In Syria’s south, after years of the government and allied attempts to restore full peace, the last armed groups have finally laid down their weapons in Dara’a, which journalist Vanessa Beeley wrote about after her recent return there.

And while the Biden administration recently changed talking heads for a Syria related diplomatic position, little else has altered regarding America’s position on Syria.

Sanctions against the Syrian people have continued under Biden, and the at least 900 US troops illegally occupying Syria remain.

Same old, same old, for Syrians, who have endured 10 years of foreign war and terrorism against their country, as well as ten years of some of the most obnoxious lies and war propaganda.

Read here

In their September 13 meeting in Moscow, Presidents Assad and Putin made clear that while Syria continues to work towards restoring stability, doing so has been hampered by the presence of foreign troops not invited by the Syrian government and not under a mandate of the UN.

While speaking diplomatically, it is clear they meant the US and Turkish troops occupying areas of Syria, which—along with the proxy forces they support—bring the opposite of peace to Syrians.

Yet, type “Syria” into your search engine of choice and you will still come across screaming headlines of inexplicable “violence” in Syria, and that Syria is “not safe” for the return of refugees. Many of these recent claims emanate from a recent update from the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

But this is not true. In fact since September 2015, nearly 1 million Syrians have returned to Syria, with another nearly 1.4 million internally displaced refugees re-settling, according to the September 27, 2021 bulletin of the Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and Control of the Movement of Refugees.

What the delusional articles, omit are the real factors that make life in Syria difficult, and dangerous: the continued presence of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Idlibterrorizing the population and firing on civilian areas in surrounding Hama and Aleppo provinces; and the deadly Western sanctions against Syrians, among still other preventable factors.

Starving and thieving Syria

The latest from the UN commission refers to the fuel shortages and food insecurity without a mention of the many brutal Western sanctions against Syrians, once again showing the supposed impartiality of the UN is non-existent.

Read here

I have written repeatedly about the deadly impact of sanctions, noting that they impact Syria’s ability to import medicines or the raw materials needed to manufacture them, medical equipment, machines and materials needed to for prosthetics, among other things.

The food insecurity mentioned by the UN commission comes as a direct result of sanctions which, “cripple a state’s economy; disrupt the availability of food, medicines, drinking water, and sanitation supplies; interfere with the functioning of health and education systems; and undermine people’s ability to work.”

Deliberating causing the devaluing of the Syrian pound (as US envoy James Jeffrey boasted about) is not targeting the Syrian government, it is targeting the Syrian people. Western leadership have blatantly said sanctions will continue until Assad is deposed.

More recently, journalist Dan Kovalik was in Syria. He noted that, “10 years ago, abject poverty in Syria affected less than one percent of the population. By 2015, this had risen to 35 percent of the population. The rise in food prices – up 209 percent in the last year – is also noted.”

Indeed, the comparison of pre-war Syria and lack of abject poverty then rings true to what Syrians have told me over and over again in my visits to their country since 2014: that they were living wellin safety, and in harmony.

As for the increasingly debilitating effects of the sanctions, I saw life get increasingly more expensive. Syrians got more desperate during the 6 months I spent there last year, and again even more so this May and June, with skyrocketing prices meaning Syrians, in spite of working multiple jobs, can’t afford to put food on the table.

Under the Biden administration, the illegal US forces continue to pillage Syrian oil. Last year, I wrote about this theft of around $30 million a month. In March 2021, Syria’s petroleum minister compared the illegal US forces to “pirates” for plundering Syria’s oil, saying the US occupation inflicted over $92 billion in damage on Syria’s petroleum sector.

Turkish-backed terrorists imprison, torture and kill civilians (including children) in northeastern Syria, with Turkish forces themselves routinely shelling Syrian villages. Meanwhile, before his meeting with President Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan sent still thousands more troops into Syria.

These are all factors contributing further to Syrians’ hellish circumstances and poverty, as well as factors omitted by most media and UN reports on Syria.

Peace-bringing reconciliation initiatives ignored

When armed groups reconcile with the state, laying down their weapons, they’re largely ignored by Western leaders, media and the UN.

Indeed, the same UN report mentioned earlier claimed that under Assad’s leadership there seems to be, “no moves to unite the country or seek reconciliation.”

Reconciliations have been ongoing since the Reconciliation ministry was established in 2012. Although the process is not perfect—the state cannot guarantee that armed groups who promise to cease violence against the state and population will adhere to their word—it is still the most peaceful option of enabling armed Syrian men to reintegrate into society, if they so choose.

How would America deal with such men on US soil? Kill them without blinking, most likely.

I interviewed the Minister of Reconciliation in 2014 and 2017, after the successes of returning peace to HomsAleppoMadaya, al-Waer, among others.

The objectives of Reconciliation are the obvious restoration of security and enabling Syrians to return to their lives. But also, according to Minister Haidar, helping Syrians resolve their suffering in all respects: “Their security and safety, the economy, social services, education, the large number of martyrs and injured, the kidnapped, the missing, the internally-displaced… We are trying to find a solution to each one of these cases. That is the deepest meaning of ‘reconciliation’: to return people to their normal lives.”

In our 2017 conversation, I asked the Minister whether Syria had any outside support for Reconciliation. Only, he said, from countries who are friends of Syria.

He said even the UN wasn’t interested.

The UN during this period was siding with the Western policies, and not mentioning the achievement that the Syrian government has reached from these efforts. Western governments were against this project because it considered it a victory for the Syrian government and a major pillar for the unity of the Syrian people and the Syrian territories.”

At the end of our conversation, he made one particularly poignant point: “Most of the people that support the reconciliation process are the martyred’s families. For example, I was in a Latakia suburb and there I met a mother of four martyrs. She said, ‘I lost 4 children and I don’t want other mothers to suffer what I suffered.’”

Incidentally, the minister is also father of a martyr: His son was gunned down by terrorists in 2012, in what Haidar described as an attempt to assassinate himself.

Dara’a, a long-awaited reconciliation

The UN commission called the restoration of peace to Dara’a al-Balad an unfolding tragedy. That’s right, it is utterly tragic that armed extremists who have shelled, killed and maimed civilians for years are finally laying down their weapons.

As Vanessa Beeley wrote“The armed groups that had committed multiple war crimes and atrocities against Syrian civilians and anti-terrorism armed forces had no intention of relinquishing their campaign of retaliatory crimes against anyone they considered to be loyal to the Syrian government and state. A vicious offensive was unleashed by these extremist gangs formerly associated with terrorist Al Qaeda and ISIS factions in the southern region.”

Further, it is truly tragic (sarcasm) that those terrorists can no longer shell and snipe the state hospital, preventing civilians from getting medical care, as they have done for years.

As I wrote, in May 2018 before Daraa was fully liberated, in a hired taxi I went to areas which were under fire from terrorists, and took a perilous high speed ride to the state hospital, down a road exposed to terrorist sniping from less than 100 metres away.

The hospital was battered and partially destroyed from terrorists’ mortars, and mostly empty of patients. The director showed me destroyed wards and off-limits areas due to high risk of snipers.

In that article I noted that upon my return months later, I was able to see just how close the near terrorist headquarters had been to the hospital: 50 metres away, hence the extreme risk of being shot while inside the hospital.

Read here

So yes, UN and Western media, shed your tears that another reign of terror has come to an end.

And keep ignoring the brutal Western sanctions as you churn out more war propaganda against the Syrian people and ignore positive developments on the ground. Because you care so much for the Syrian people…

RELATED LINKS:

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda

Meeting with President of Syria Bashar al-Assad

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

Faked concern: Haley & corporate media bleating about Idlib civilians, ignore terrorists’ presence

The bombs rain down as I visit the Idlib frontlines, and witness the atrocities committed against civilians by NATO-backed terror

Scoundrels & gangsters at UN: Silencing the Syrian narrative

A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

The New U.S. “Caesar” Sanctions on Syria Are Illegal

As Foreign Insurgents Continue to Terrorize Syria, the Reconciliation Trend Grows

Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”

Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate Rebel’ Rule

Order Returns To Western Cities as Syrian Civilians Recount Horrors Of Rebel Rule

Western media quick to accuse Syria of ‘bombing hospitals’ – but when TERRORISTS really destroy Syrian hospitals, they are silent

“I’ve Seen the Horrific Toll Western Sanctions are Having On the People of Syria and Lebanon”

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Daniel Kovalik

Millions hungry… no fuel or electricity… worthless currency… I witnessed all of this in Lebanon and Syria. And the greatest tragedy is this needless suffering is caused by the West’s desire to introduce ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’.

I have just returned from my second trip to Lebanon and Syria this year. I previously visited in May, and in the course of a few months I have witnessed a precipitous decline in the wellbeing of the people of both of these countries.

Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, seemed rather normal and tranquil in May but is now completely dark at night, due to a lack of electricity. There are only a few hours of sporadic electricity a day throughout the city. Meanwhile, fuel is nearly impossible to come by, with lines of cars spanning at least a kilometer waiting for gas. A number of my friends told me that they could not drive to meet me because they had no fuel for their vehicles.

There is also little to no garbage service, and so the streets and sidewalks are lined with trash. In what was once dubbed the ‘Paris of the East’, I witnessed goats roaming the streets in search of garbage to eat on the side of the road. The Lebanese lira has tumbled in value daily, with menus at restaurants that were still able to operate displaying prices written in pencil so they could be changed every morning. As I write these words, the lira is now worth 0.00066 US dollars. A number of truly exasperated people stated – with a swoosh of the hand in the air – that “Lebanon is finished.” And it certainly feels that way.

Everyone in Lebanon I talked to wants out of the country; some even asked if I could take them with me. The possible exception is the mass of Syrian people who have fled the war in their own country.  Many of these Syrians now live on the streets in Beirut. It is very common to see Syrian women with their children sleeping on the dark city sidewalks.  According to UNICEF, there are nearly 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, putting further strain on a social system which is unable to take care of its own people.

Syria is also suffering from a lack of electricity, with power for only a few hours a day, and food and vital medicines are hard to come by as well.  Personal protective materials necessary to protect against Covid – such as masks and hand sanitizer – are almost non-existent.


The families I stayed with would be at the ready with their laundry and food to cook for the odd occasion that the electricity would turn on for an hour. Most people are without air-conditioning or refrigeration in the sultry climate. The Syrian pound is also relatively valueless, with $100 buying bags of the currency, as I myself have experienced. Meanwhile, huge swathes of cities like Homs remain largely in rubble as post-war reconstruction has ground to a halt.

All of this is, of course, according to the plan of the Western ‘humanitarians’ who claim their suffocating economic sanctions on Syria – once Lebanon’s biggest trading partner and largest source of fuel – are intended to somehow bring democracy and freedom to the region. As we well know, these sanctions hurt civilians first and foremost, and disproportionately injure women and children in every country upon which they have been imposed.

As an article in Foreign Affairs explains, the example of Iraq shows that sanctions do nothing but create human misery. It reads, “US sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Their effect was gendered, disproportionately punishing women and children. The notion that sanctions work is a pitiless illusion.” 

And it goes into great detail about the humanitarian toll of the sanctions first imposed upon Syria by President Trump. “The Trump administration designed the sanctions it has now imposed on Syria to make reconstruction impossible. The sanctions target the construction, electricity and oil sectors, which are essential to getting Syria back on its feet. Although the United States says it is ‘protecting’ Syria’s oil fields in the northeast, it has not given the Syrian government access to repair them, and US sanctions prohibit any firm of any nationality from repairing them – unless the administration wishes to make an exception…”

The article goes on to point out that these restrictions mean the country faces “mass starvation or another mass exodus,” according to the World Food Program. This is backed up by alarming statistics which show that 10 years ago, abject poverty in Syria affected less than one percent of the population. By 2015, this had risen to 35 percent of the population. The rise in food prices – up 209 percent in the last year – is also noted, as is the fact that according to the World Food Program, there are now 9.3 million “food insecure” Syrians.
There is also criticism of the requirements the Syrian government must meet to secure relief from the sanctions. These are described as “deliberately vague” – a ploy, it is said, to deter investors who might be able to assist Syria, but are unprepared to do so because they are not certain they are free to help.

The UK humanitarian organization, the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), echoes these concerns, explaining that “[t]he sanctions that have been placed on Syria by the EU (including the UK) and USA have caused dire humanitarian consequences for Syrian citizens in Government controlled areas (which is 70% of the country) who are seeking to rebuild their lives…”

“Of the huge amounts of humanitarian aid that western governments are sending ‘to Syria’, the vast majority reaches either refugees who have fled the country, or only those areas of Syria occupied by militant groups opposed to the Syrian government. Most Syrian people are therefore deliberately left unsupported; indeed, even their own effort to help themselves and re-build their lives are hampered by sanctions.”

The despair being brought about by Western sanctions is palpable. Syrians and Lebanese, whose fates are inextricably tied to each other, have little hope for a happy and prosperous future. Once again, the West’s claims to ‘civilize’ the world have brought only misery, sorrow and destruction.

But I would be remiss if I did not end on this note: that, still, despite it all, the incredible hospitality and kindness of the Syrians and Lebanese have yet to be destroyed by the cruelty visited upon them.  Everywhere my companions and I went, including in the most modest homes of places like Maaloula, Homs or Latakia, Syria, or in Lebanon, families were quick to offer us coffee, water, and snacks.

Despite the fact that they are being denied the basic amenities of life by sanctions as targeted as a nuclear weapon, these people still know how to share the little that they have. This, I will always carry with me and be grateful for.

Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the recently-released No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using “Humanitarian” Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.

Syria and Lebanon’s Unbreakable Brotherhood: Against All Odds!

September 9, 2021

Syria and Lebanon’s Unbreakable Brotherhood: Against All Odds!

By Mohammad Sleem

Beirut – Unique of its kind, Hermel’s Al Assi river in north Lebanon, flows upwards towards Syria opposing the logical direction of any river and links between the Syrian and Lebanese borders. The link between the two neighbors is fed with social and political factors that has long bonded both countries for hundred years to date.

Since the 2011 Syrian crisis and the most recent Lebanese crises, the first official Lebanese delegation visited the Syrian capital last week to discuss the possibility of importing gas from Egypt through the Syrian territories in a bid to solve the fuel shortages in power plants, which has affected Lebanon’s economy and day-to-day life.

After a 10-year cut in diplomatic ties between the two governments and amid the ensuing calamities in Lebanon as the worst monetary inflation taking place, the Lebanese government has no time for any additional delays to enhance the country’s economy to a better level as much as possible.

In the light of the aforementioned, an official delegation including Lebanon’s Deputy Prime Minister Zeina Akar, Minister of Energy and Water Raymond Ghajar, Finance Minister Ghazi Wazne, Secretary-General of the Lebanese Syrian Higher Council Nasri khoury and General Security Director General Abbas Ibrahim headed to Syria on September 4 in the highest level visit in years to ask Syria to allow the passage of Egyptian gas through the Syrian territories.

The 4-hour meeting concluded with a declaration on behalf of the Syrian side of full assistance and cooperation and an agreement on the technical procedures to implement the move immediately.

The next day, Syrian President Bashar Assad met with a Lebanese Druze delegation at the Syrian Presidential Palace.

Head of the Lebanese Democratic Party MP Talal Arslan and head of the Arab Unitarian Party and former minister Wiam Wahhab asserted the importance of the strong ties between the two countries in face of any challenge.

The delegation also presented a warm greeting by Sheikh Nasseredine al-Gharib, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Lebanon, congratulating Syria for its latest victories against terrorism, confirming that the Druze community will always be loyal to Syria and its people.

Forty-eight  hours were enough to put things back on track between the two neighbors, proving that no matter how vicious the battles and struggles both nations may face, given the boundless US-“Israel” meddling via political and military policies such as the Caesar Act and the backing of terrorist groups. Hence, Syrian-Lebanese cooperation has a direct beneficial impact for both countries, it struck US proxies in Lebanon calling for a full cut of ties with Syria in the heart revealing how wrong their visions and decisions are.

A whole decade of a conspiring to split Syria and Lebanon, reinforced by a brutal war led by the US and its proxies has failed, and all the facts lead to the reality that Syria is the only gateway for Lebanon and its true ally for better or worse, taking in consideration the recent crisis in Lebanon.

The brotherhood between Lebanon and Syria is as the Al Assi River, facing the calamities and all the struggles together, with a one-of-a-kind link, standing side by side at every precise moment, even when opposing nature itself – against all odds!

The Caesar Act Falls with a Signal from Sayyed Nasrallah

September 1, 2021

The Caesar Act Falls with a Signal from Sayyed Nasrallah

By Ahmed Fouad

Deconstructing the complexity of the current scene exposes the myth of American power – with its illusion and glare – whose links are broken one after the other. Nevertheless, it won’t collapse entirely as a result of one position. They will not all fall in one glorious moment, but America’s abilities are waning, weakening, and retreating in images that appear to anyone who wants to see.

Suddenly, the American steps in Lebanon failed, and the Caesar Act, which is besieging Syria and Lebanon and is imposing a red line to prevent communication between the Axis of Resistance, collapsed. In the words of the American ambassador, the scene ended long years of efforts to isolate Syria and keep it away from Lebanon.

At this rare moment, based on the years of victory and jihad on every battlefield, and in light of the sudden American helplessness and astonishment at what happened, Sayyed’s move towards Syria came. On the fourth anniversary of the second liberation, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah linked what happened and what will happen to Syria, once again.

“The Caesar’s Act was not only a siege on Syria, but also a siege on Lebanon,” he said. For those who deny the influence on Lebanon, Sayyed returned the crisis to its first and direct root.

The divine blow, of course, swept aside the Zionists, the party that suffered the most significant setback as a result of what is happening to the shepherd, the ally, and the capable treasurer. At the moment, the entity looks like an abandoned bastard, without a father, without protection and the ability to move, and its confidence in the future bleeds in terrible succession.

In light of a humiliating US withdrawal, the comprehensive view of the region requires acknowledging that “Israel’s” paralysis is not a sign of surrender to reality, but rather a pause to take a breath. The leaders of the entity desperately want this in order to comprehend the surprise of the siege being broken over Syria and Lebanon and the opening of a wide road between Tehran and Damascus, all the way to Beirut.

Following Sayyed’s first speech in which he announced an agreement for the first Iranian ships to Lebanon, those who are familiar with the “Israeli” media noticed silence when it came to describing the scene. The Zionist media, which is completely under the sword of strict military censorship, would not be silent on such a threat unless instructed to do so.

It seems that the entity needs time to be able to absorb what happened, which constituted an unbelievable surprise. It’s now looking for an opportunity to maneuver after being completely paralyzed by incidents following the surprise. The entity’s position was weak, and in the best case scenario, it would merely be a reaction to the Lebanese decision. Thus, it would place an unknown price on any steps it chooses to take. Therefore, Tel Aviv wants time to calculate its next steps.

The transformations initiated by a signal from our Sayyed, the master of resistance and victory, are not just a reversal of the rules of the game. The beholder will see the laying of the foundations of a new era – one of the many challenges the Americans and Zionists will face.

The goal of this stage is to strike the philosophy of Zionist continuity in Palestine as well as the philosophy of its presence on our Arab land – the Zionist entity is always keen to portray its army as the unbeatable army. It’s also designed to hit Tel Aviv’s vast foreign investments and the theory of Zionist supremacy over the Arabs.

For its existence and continuity, “Israel” relies on multiple factors – the army with its aura, and support from Western powers that provide it with political cover as well as iron and fire. This is designed to ensure that its superiority over all the Arab armies combined cannot be denied. In every war the Zionists waged, they destroyed one Arab army after another, with ease – in a strange manner.

And in the event of a crisis, the United States was there to provide immediate and mighty assistance. In the October liberation war, the American force intervened immediately after the forbidden occurred and the first crushing defeat of the Zionists approached, to turn it into what could be promoted as a massive victory by freezing the Syrian advance first, then besieging the third Egyptian army, and crossing back to Africa in one day and night.

Western investments were immediately made available in the form of armies of human wealth, and then tens of billions of dollars ready to be pumped into the joints and arteries of the Zionist economy. If anyone thought of leaving, these investments gave them a reason to stay. Additional motives were added to the desires of those who wish to move to the Promised Land, where a job is guaranteed and the lands abandoned by its inhabitants are looking for new owners.

Finally, by using weapons and the economy, the Zionist entity maintains its permanent position as an oasis of growth and progress, amid an Arab sea suffering from the bitterness of backwardness, ignorance, and poverty. “Israel” is portrayed as a beacon of superiority, and a civilized ghetto among groups of barbarian tribes that do not know the way to civilization, and this superior entity had to subjugate them, as the American ancestors subjugated the Indians.

By any and all scales, Sayyed’s strikes – starting with the dazzling and great Ashura speech – dealt a triple blow to the Zionist entity. It comes in light of an optimal situation, from an American retreat seeking costly, even questionable, repositioning.

Moreover, the generous man proved that action in this region is possible. Successive victories generated the required amount of self-confidence and confidence in one’s capabilities, in turn giving the entire Axis of Resistance the necessary fuel to overcome the American siege and the Zionist threat. It also broke the arrogance of the Zionist power that allowed it to strike whenever and wherever it wanted to impose the “Israeli” demands and deter any aspiration for our rights.

Al-Assad: Extremism Tied to EU’s Failed Policies in Middle East

22 Aug 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad discusses recent developments in Syria and the region with European Parliament Member, Thierry Mariani, and his accompanying delegation.

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attributes spread of extremism to the European Union’s ‘failed policies’ in the Middle East. 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stated that the Syrian people have found new ways to overcome the odds.

SANA news agency tweets: Al-Assad delivered his speech after being greeted by Thierry Mariani, a member of the European Parliament and a member of the French National Rally party, as well as a delegation accompanying him.

During the meeting, a discussion on the developments of the situation in Syria and the region took place. Al-Assad answered the delegation members’ questions about the situation and the difficult conditions experienced by Syrians as a result of the sanctions and the unjust siege imposed on them. He noted that despite all the troubles this sieges afflicts on all aspects of life, the Syrian people are resilient.

President al-Assad considered it necessary to have a dialogue at parliamentary, intellectual and cultural levels to analyze and understand the developments and changes taking place in the region and the world. He emphasized the importance of parliamentary and cultural delegations visiting Syria and the region to see things as they are, and to be able to link political statements to the current situation. Such dialogue is important because as Europe grapples with the refugee crisis, terrorism and extremism seem to be the result of its failed policies in the Middle East.

The discussion touched on the role of nationalism in the Arab region, identity, and the relationship between religion and politics, as well as the major challenges confronting nations as a result of extremism that has infiltrated many societies, including European ones. This spread of extremism comes as a result of the EU’s failure to develop appropriate policies to ensure immigrants’ integration into Europe while preserving their original identity.

هل عاد الأميركيون لصيغة جوار العراق؟ قمة المصالحات الإقليمية رغم العقوبات!

الثلاثاء 10 آب 2021

  ناصر قنديل

حسمت التأكيدات الرسمية صحة ما تمّ تداوله إعلامياً عن دعوات رسمية يقوم وزير الخارجية العراقي فؤاد حسين، لقمة تعقد في بغداد تحت عنوان دول جوار العراق للتعاون الأمني، بالتزامن مع توقيع إتفاق انسحاب القوات الأميركية القتالية، بعدما أعلنت بغداد أنّ زيارات وزير خارجيتها واتصالات رئيس حكومتها تتمّ في سياق التحضير لقمة تضم دول جوار العراق نهاية شهر آب الجاري، وقد شملت دعوة السعودية وتركيا والكويت حتى الآن ويفترض أن تشمل إيران وسورية والأردن قريبا، ولقيت تجاوب الرئيس الفرنسي للمشاركة في القمة، ورغم بعض التقديرات التي تقول إنّ الأرجح هو أن تستبدل القمة بلقاء يضم وزراء الخارجية والمسؤولين الأمنيين، لأن عقد قمم من هذا النوع لا تزال دونه عقبات كثيرة، يبقى أن التوجه بذاته يمثل تحوّلاً كبيراً في أوضاع المنطقة يستحيل حدوثه بمبادرة عراقية صرفة دون تنسيق مسبق، أو طلب مسبق من الأميركيين.

سبق لواشنطن أن اعتمدت إطار لقاءات دول جوار العراق لحوار إقليمي غير مباشر مع سورية وإيران، ولا تبدو موافقة الرئيس الفرنسي على المشاركة والتشجيع بعيدة عن تلبية رغبة أميركية، خصوصا بعد زيارة رئيس الوزراء العراقي الطازجة لواشنطن، كما لا تبدو الصيغة بعيدة عن الاستنتاجات الأميركية الخاصة بتسارع الإنهيار في أفغانستان، والحاجة لتنسيق يطال دول جوار العراق لحماية الصيغة القائمة على ما يسمّيه الأميركيون بإعادة الإنتشار الإقليمي، وإقامة قاعدة عسكرية في الأردن تستضيف القوات التي سيتم إخلاؤها من العراق، وربما من سورية أيضاً، دون التسليم بالانسحاب الكامل، من غير إتفاق كامل، لا يبدو متيسّراً مع إيران وقوى المقاومة، حتى الآن.

القرار بالانفتاح على سورية من عدد من الدول المشاركة يناقض ما سبق إعلانه عن نصائح أميركية بتجميد العلاقات معها، خصوصاً بعد الإنتخابات الرئاسية السورية، وكان واضحاً انّ الرسالة الأميركية تستهدف العلاقات السعودية السورية والإماراتية السورية، وانعقاد لقاء وزاري تشترك فيه سورية يكفي لإعلان سقوط مفهوم المقاطعة والحصار، ويطعن نظرية العقوبات، لأن العنوان الثاني للقمة هو التعاون الإقتصادي، ولعله من الملفت أن نسمع حماسة فرنسية للمبادرة العراقية، وسيصير الأمر مفاجأة أنّ عقد اللقاء على مستوى القمة وحضره الرئيس الفرنسي، كما أعلن، وهذا في حال حدوثه يعني ان زمن التحوّلات الكبرى قد بدأ، وان المنطقة دخلت مرحلة جديدة سياسياً وأمنياً وإقتصادياً، فلا يُعقل أن ترضى سورية بالمشاركة في لقاء يشارك فيه الأتراك دون أن تكون بين يديها ضمانات مسبقة تتصل بتغيير جوهري في التعامل التركي مع الواقع السوري.

الأهمّ من اللقاء الوزاري، والشديد الأهمية إذا تحققت القمة، هو المفاوضات الحثيثة التي ستسبق الإنعقاد، حتى لو تأجّل الموعد فهو لا يعني إحباطاً، بل مزيداً من الوقت لإنضاج التفاهمات وإزالة التعقيدات، ولقاءات غير علنية تضمّ الأطراف المعنية تمهيداً ربما للقاء أول على مستوى وزاري وأمني، يعقد في الخريف، وقمة تعقد مع نهاية العام، كما تقول التقديرات، وهذا وحده يعني رسم خريطة جديدة للمصالحات والتسويات التي تشكل الدعوة العراقية بذاتها إيذاناً بإنطلاقها.

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Al-Assad’s Vow and Syria’s Comeback

15 July 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Rasha Reslan

Ahead of the Syrian President’s much-awaited inauguration speech, here is a quick review of how al-Assad stepped in and boosted his country’s stature and resources during his first term, despite a global military war and extreme economic sanctions.

Recent victory in the latest elections has further emboldened al-Assad
The recent victory in the latest elections has further emboldened al-Assad

On Saturday, July 17, Bashar al-Assad will begin his new term as Syria’s President, setting his policies for 2021-2028.

On May 27, the Syrian government’s official Twitter account posted: “The Syrians had their say. Bashar al-Assad wins the presidential elections of the Syrian Arab Republic after obtaining 95.1% of the votes at home and abroad.”

The victory achieved in the latest elections has further emboldened al-Assad, the President who managed not only to defeat a global conspiracy against his country but also to bring Syria back to life, against all odds and despite one of the world’s most brutal decade-old wars.

Al-Assad’s First Term: The Survival of the Fittest

During the period between 2014-2021, the conspiracy plan against Syria rapidly escalated. Hundreds of foreign fighters and armed groups sprung up, and it did not take long before the conflict turned into more than just a battle between the Syrian army and terrorist groups. Certain foreign powers took the anti-government side, supporting it with money, weaponry, and armed groups, and as the wreaked chaos worsened, the grip of western-backed extremist organizations, such as “ISIS” and “al-Qaeda”, tightened. 

Meanwhile, Bashar al-Assad didn’t flee his country. On the contrary, he got off to a fresh strong start. By most measures, he stood with his country, despite gloomy clouds and rumbling storms. His overall strategy booted terrorist groups out of major Syrian cities. On the personal level, al-Assad always scores high for his attributes, as most Syrians like the way he conducts himself as president.

Terrorist Groups Fall in Syria

At its height, as terrorist groups held about a third of Syria; al-Assad, the Syrian army, and Syria’s allies redefined victory in a thundering War on Terror. The so-called “US-led global coalition” carried out airstrikes and deployed “Special Forces” in Syria, providing financial and logistical support for the terrorist groups since 2014. 

US-backed terrorist groups in Syria
US-backed terrorist groups in Syria

Syria’s key supporters have been Russia and Iran, while Western powers and several Gulf Arab states have backed terrorist groups in varying degrees over the past decade.

By December 2017, terrorist groups started to suffer key losses in Aleppo, Raqqa, and other strongholds. In 2018, the focus of the campaign against the terrorists shifted to eastern Syria. In 2019, they lost their last bastion in eastern Syria, in Baghouz village, after which Syria declared victory over terrorism.

Today, the country is almost clean from armed groups except for the presence of dormant cells along the border with Iraq and in Idlib (a city in northwestern Syria).

US Sanctions:  A Trifling Opening Shot

US support for terrorist groups in Syria was a shot in the dark, and as it failed to win the military war on Syria, they initiated a new type of war represented by Caesar sanctions. 

In mid-June 2020, the US government announced the implementation of the “Caesar Act” with a flurry of sanctions. Yet a closer look at the 15 sanctions by the US Department of State and the 24 sanctions by the Department of Treasury reveals a brutal plan to destroy Syria’s economy and inflict utmost suffering on its people.

A Desperate Plan within a Failed One

Apropos the US military and economic war on Syria, there is much more yet to come. Syria and its allies have succeeded in defeating the flurry of sanctions aimed at stopping the al-Assad government from reconstructing Syria. They also buried a US plan to change the demography of Syrian and divide the country. 

Rebuilding Syria’s Future 

The main question remains: How will the future of Syria unfold? At the dawn of al-Assad’s new term, Syria continues to stand strong and united. Furthermore, the Syrians have high hopes that their President will take effective actions in the course of boosting the economy and achieving overall prosperity, despite the US sanctions.  

Besides, al-Assad exerted strained efforts to reconstruct his country, focusing on projects with the highest likelihood of significant economic returns and benefits to quality of life. In other words, al-Assad, side by side with his people, is conveying a clear message to the world which declares the end of the global war on Syria; al-Assad will remain in power, treading the path of Syria out of all the challenges and crises. Syria’s allies also plan to be on hand as al-Assad rebuilds Syria to help it rise from the ashes, by handling the security and economic threats imposed on Syria.

The Second Term: Defying the Odds

To put things into perspective, the last election witnessed al-Assad securing almost 95.1% of the votes, so this cannot but be seen as a sign of strength for Syria and al-Assad himself, as well as his electoral campaign.

Today, the elections had taken place, and Syria has come out victorious, with an insistence on maintaining its vital role, considering that al-Assad plans to finance the infrastructure that the terrorist groups have been targeting and bombing for the past 10 years.

The Syrian President will also tackle the US sanctions on Syria, aiming to accelerate economic growth, strengthen society, and encourage youth empowerment.


What is Syria?

Collective Punishments and Humanitarian Aid عقوبات جماعية ومساعدات إنسانية!

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Arab Intellectual

10 Jul 2021

Bouthaina Shaaban

Source: Al Mayadeen

What the West wants to do is to violate Syrian sovereignty, lay the foundations for dividing Syria, and to supply terrorist groups with weapons in the name of humanitarian aid.

For the past two months, all Western media and research centers have been preoccupied with a single topic about Syria, which is the necessity of opening the so-called “humanitarian corridors” across the border, lamenting over those who will suffer hunger and poverty if the benevolent hands of the West are not allowed to be extended to save their lives. They believed their lie and rejoiced in it, because it gives them the chimerical satisfaction that they are in harmony with their moral rules for which they have always been calling, pretending saving people and caring about people’s health, food and lives. 

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The strange thing, however, is that all this Western-oriented media talked about is three million people living in the north-west and north-east of Syria, and did not mention at all the twenty million Syrians who are languishing under immoral, illegal and illegitimate collective punishments that prevent them from accessing food, medicine and power, and punishing any party who tries to lend a hand for them or who dares to violate these penalties by any means. 

Another strange thing is that no one has linked between Caesar’s law, which is not a law but a violation of all humanitarian and moral laws, and the suffering of the Syrian people over the past years, and no thinker in the West has ever tried to challenge this noisy media wave by highlighting the fact that all the aid sent by the United Nations has been distributed by United Nations organizations operating in Syria over the Syrian territory. What the West wants to do is to violate Syrian sovereignty, lay the foundations for dividing Syria, and to supply terrorist groups with weapons in the name of humanitarian aid.

Does it make sense for dozens of countries to convene a conference in Rome in order to discuss humanitarian aid to Syria, without mentioning the main reason for the suffering of all Syrians, namely the unilateral, coercive, illegal and aggressive measures imposed on the Syrian people? Following this conference, the Washington Post wrote in its editorial on June 30, 2021: “there is no better place to demonstrate our values than in Syria, by extending humanitarian aid and reaching a settlement to the war there, as per the agreed terms of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254.” The writer complains that Syria has been a drag on US diplomacy for more than ten years! Such writers should rather ask the Syrians about the suffering they experienced due to the US occupation over the past ten years, and about the crimes that have been committed, wheat that has been stolen, and oil that has been smuggled, and lands that have been illegally seized by the force of American weapons in harsh violation of all international laws and legitimacy!

While reading what the Western media is publishing about Syria, I wonder about the distorted image that is being formed in the minds of Western readers as a result of misleading information which has nothing to do with reality, and which fills the pages of this media, ignoring the truth and all the difficulties and tragedies that Syrians are living, because referring to such tragedies means referring to the Western perpetrator. Therefore, everything mentioned about Syria has been written in the passive form, just as the Zionists used to do for decades when broadcasting news about Palestine and Palestinians; you cannot find a sentence in the active voice because it requires mentioning the subject, who is the causative of all crimes perpetrated against the innocent Syrians, and this is not allowed. 

In all the media promotion before the Rome Conference and following it, Syria had been shrunk to the northwest and northeast, to be under control of terrorists and occupiers, without any mention of the Syrian people who suffered patiently, and liberated a large part of their land and are trying to rebuild their lives and properties despite the difficulties created by the criminal sanctions against them. 

The editorial of Newsweek of June 30, insinuates that Syria and Iraq are inhabited only by “Iranian militias”, as if the Syrian and Iraqi peoples do not exist, and that the United States is obliged to respond to Iranian drone attacks in Iraq, and therefore it is bombing the Iraqi-Syrian border near Al-Bukamal. Since the United States has the right, as the editorial suggests, protecting its forces anywhere in the world, nobody showed any concern when the United States bombed facilities and killed people. However, they consider those attacks as acts of self-defense.  The author says that the issue is not limited only to whether this aggression is legitimate or not, he rather raised the following question: why do members of the Iraqi army, who are being trained by the United States, attack the American forces? The author is trying to correct a “strategic shift” in the United States’ view that they were unable to instill a sense of deterrence in Iraq. 

Firstly, The American forces refrained from attacking Al-Bukamal crossing and from maintaining Al-Tanf crossing too, not only to back up their troops, which should not be here in the first place, but rather to ensure safety to the terrorists they protect, and be able to move them whenever and wherever they want. Secondly, the United States wants to cut the geographical connection between Iraq and Syria on the one hand, and between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon on the other. This action represents one of the strategic goals of the Zionist entity, who considers any communication between these countries, in the frame of the resistance axis, as an existential threat to it. In other words, the United States is implementing the targets of “Israel”, moreover they do not respond to attacks because they are the ones who start the aggression. Thirdly, if the writer of the editorial believes that the Iraqi army, or any other army in the region, will express in the future his gratitude and loyalty to the American forces, he is certainly wrong. The peoples of the region are much smarter than you can ever think; Iraqis and Syrians are aware that it is the US occupying forces who prevent communication between the two countries and hinder the opening of the borders between two close brother countries. Our people are completely aware that the US troops want to open the borders with the Turkish occupier who used the frontier lines for the past ten years to help terrorists infiltrate Syria and provide them with illicit supplies (money and weapons).

It occurred to me while reading the editorial of the Washington Post and the editorial of Newsweek, of June 30, 2021, that the Western transatlantic people would be better off, if they do not read such misleading editorials and analysis which have nothing to do with the reality of the situation in our countries and our region, because such analysis stem from the writers’ sense of false colonial superiority and from a premeditated intent to drown our people into a sea of ignorance, abandoning them to  sufferings, stifling their innovation and destroying their ambition.

Today, the US troops are getting out of Afghanistan after causing countless tragedies to innocent Afghani peoples; while no one knows why did they enter or why do they leave now. They claimed that they went to Afghanistan to liberate its people from Taliban, while their actions prove that they contributed to its perpetuation and spread.

Every time I read what the American media and research centers publish, I wonder about the curricula of History in the United States and about what they teach all their students, but this is another topic that needs to be addressed.  


عقوبات جماعية ومساعدات إنسانية!

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بثينة شعبان

المصدر: الميادين نت

هل يُعقل أن تتداعى عشرات الدول إلى مؤتمر في روما لمناقشة مساعدات إنسانية لسوريا من دون ذكر السبب الأساسي في معاناة السوريين جميعاً، ألا وهي الإجراءات القسرية الأحادية الجانب، والمفروضة على الشعب السوري ظلماً وعدواناً؟

طوال الشهرين الماضيين، انشغل القيّمون على وسائل الإعلام الغربية ومراكز الأبحاث بموضوع وحيد عن سوريا، وهو ضرورة فتح ما سمّوه “ممرّات إنسانية عبر الحدود”، متباكِين على من سيُصيبهم الجوع والفقر إذا لم يتم السماح لأيدي الغرب الخيّرة بأن تمتدّ لتنقذ حيواتهم.

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عقوبات جماعية ومساعدات إنسانية!

صدّقوا الكذبة التي كذبوها على أنفسهم، وفرحوا بها لأنها تعطيهم الارتياح الزائف إلى أنهم منسجمون مع قواعدهم الأخلاقية التي يتحدثون بها دوماً، وهي الحرص على الناس وعلى غذائهم وصحتهم. لكنّ الغريب في الأمر أن كلّ هذا الإعلام الغربي الموجَّه تحدَث عن ثلاثة ملايين يقطنون في الشمال الغربي والشمال الشرقي، ولم يذكر أبداً الملايين العشرين من السوريين، والذين يرزحون تحت عقوبات جماعية، لاأخلاقية ولاشرعية ولاقانونية. وفي الحقيقة، فإنّ هذه العقوبات جريمة إبادة، وهي المسؤولة عن الفقر والجوع والغلاء، التي يعاني جرّاءها ملايين السوريين، لأنها عملياً تمنع عنهم سبل الغذاء والدواء والطاقة، وتعاقب أيَّ طرف يحاول بيع هذه المواد الأساسية لإنقاذ حياة أيّ إنسان، أو يحاول مدّ يد العون إليهم، أو خرق هذه العقوبات، بأي وسيلة كانت.

والغريب في الأمر أن أحداً لم يربط بين “قانون قيصر” الإجرامي، والذي هو ليس قانوناً، بل جريمة إبادة جماعية موجَّهة ضدّ الشعب السوري المسالم، لأنه يمثّل خرقاً لكل القوانين الإنسانية والأخلاقية، وبين معاناة هذا الشعب على مدى السنوات الماضية. ولم يحاول أي متحدث في الغرب أن يتحدى هذه الموجة الإعلامية الصاخبة، والموجَّهة سياسياً من جانب الأجهزة المخابراتية والعسكرية نفسها، التي موّلت الإرهابيين وسلّحتهم وأرسلتهم إلى سوريا، من خلال إبراز حقيقة أن كل المساعدات المرسَلة من جانب الأمم المتحدة توزّعها منظمات الأمم المتحدة العاملة في سوريا على مدى الجغرافيا السورية، لكنّ ما يريد الغرب فعله هو انتهاك السيادة السورية أولاً، ووضع أسس لتقسيم سوريا ثانياً، وإمداد مرتزقته من العصابات الإرهابية بالسلاح، تحت مسمى مساعدات إنسانية. وهذا ما فعله بالشعوب طوال تاريخه الاستعماري الدموي.

هل يُعقل أن تتداعى عشرات الدول إلى مؤتمر في روما لمناقشة مساعدات إنسانية لسوريا من دون ذكر السبب الأساسي في معاناة السوريين جميعاً، ألا وهو الإجراءات القسرية والأُحادية الجانب، والمفروضة على الشعب السوري ظلماً وعدواناً؟ ألم يكن الأجدر بهذه الدول، إنْ كانت صادقة، أن ترسل المساعدات مباشرة عبر الوسائل المتَّبَعة دولياً، وعبر المنافذ الحدودية والموانئ السورية.

وفي أعقاب هذا المؤتمر، تكتب جريدة “واشنطن بوست”، في افتتاحيتها في 30 حزيران/يونيو 2021، أنه “لا يوجد مكان أفضل من سوريا للتعبير عن قيمنا، من خلال إيصال المساعدات الإنسانية، والتوصّل إلى تسوية للحرب، وفق ما نصّ عليه قرار مجلس الأمن 2254”.

ويشكو الكاتب أن سوريا شكّلت عبئاً على الدبلوماسية الأميركية طوال السنوات العشر الماضية. وعلى مثل هؤلاء الكتاب أن يسألوا السوريين: بمَ تسببت لهم الولايات المتحدة على مدى السنوات العشر الماضية؟ وما هي الجرائم التي ارتُكبت بحقهم؟ وكيف ينظرون إلى نهب قمحهم ونفطهم واحتلال أرضهم بقوة السلاح الأميركي، في انتهاك صارخ لكل القوانين والشرعة الدولية؟ 

أتساءل، وأنا أقرأ كلّ ما يصدر عن سوريا في الإعلام الغربي، عن الصورة المشوَّهة، والتي تتشكّل حُكماً في أذهان القراّء الغربيين، نتيجة المعلومات المضلِّلة، والتي لا تمتّ إلى واقع الحال بصلة، والتي تملأ صفحات هذا الإعلام الذي تحتكره الحكومات الغربية، وتسيّره عبر المخابرات الغربية. لذلك، فإن إعلامهم يتجاهل الواقع والحقيقة وكل ما يعتري حياة السوريين من صعوبات ومآسٍ، لا يتم التطرّق إليها أبداً، لأن التطرق إليها يعني الإشارة إلى الفاعل والمتهَم الغربي المجرم. لذلك، فإن كل ما يُكتَب عن سوريا يُكتَب بصيغة “المبنيّ للمجهول”، تماماً كما درج الصهاينة على بثّ الأخبار عن فلسطين والفلسطينيين منذ عقود، إذ لا توجد جملة بصيغة المبني للمعلوم، لأن المبنيّ للمعلوم يتطلّب ذكر الفاعل المسبّب بالجرائم بحقّ الملايين من السوريين الأبرياء والمسالمين، وهذا أمر غير مسموح به.

في كل هذا الترويج الإعلامي في مؤتمر روما وما سبقه وما تلاه، يختصرون سوريا بالشمال الغربي والشمال الشرقي، وبحفنة من الإرهابيين والمحتلين، بينما لا يوجد ذكر للشعب السوري الذي عانى وصبر وحرّر الجزء الأكبر من أرضه، ويحاول إعادة بناء حياته وممتلكاته، على الرغم من الصعوبات التي ولّدتها العقوبات المجرمة عليه.

وفي افتتاحية مجلة “النيوزويك”، في 30 حزيران/يونيو أيضاً، تشعر كأن سوريا والعراق مسكونان بمليشيات إيرانية فقط، ولا وجود للشعبين السوري والعراقي، وأن الولايات المتحدة مضطرة إلى الردّ على هجمات الطائرات الإيرانية المسيَّرة في العراق. لذلك، هي تقصف الحدود العراقية السورية قرب البوكمال. وبما أن للولايات المتحدة الحق، كما تقول الافتتاحية، في حماية قواتها في أيّ مكان في العالم، لذلك لم يهتم أحد حين قصفت الولايات المتحدة الأسبوع الماضي منشآت وأشخاصاً، وقتلت مَن قتلت، واعتبروها “أعمالاً دفاعية عن النفس”. ولا يُخفي كاتب المقال أن المسألة لا تنحصر فقط فيما إذا كان هذا العدوان قانونياً أم لا، بل السؤال هو: لماذا توجد قوات احتلال أميركية في العراق وسوريا؟ ولماذا تعمد عناصر في الجيش العراقي، الذي تدربه الولايات المتحدة، على مهاجمة القوات الأميركية. وهو يحاول في مقاله أن يصحّح “حَوَلاً استراتيجياً”، في نظرة الولايات المتحدة إلى تدريب هذا الجيش، وأن الولايات المتحدة لم تتمكّن من خلق حالة الردع في العراق.

أولاً، إن قوات الاحتلال الأميركية لا تهاجم معبر البوكمال، ولا تحتفظ بمعبر التنف، من أجل سلامة قواتها التي يجب ألا تكون موجودة اصلاً، بل من أجل ضمان سلامة الإرهابيين الذين تحميهم وتحرّكهم متى تشاء وكيفما تشاء. ثانياً، لأنها تريد قطع التواصل الجغرافي بين العراق وسوريا من جهة، ومحاصَرة الملايين من الشعبين في البلدين، ومنع أيّ تبادل تجاري ينفعهما. كما تهدف إلى قطع التواصل بين إيران والعراق وسوريا ولبنان من جهة أُخرى. وهذا يمثّل أحد الأهداف الاستراتيجية للكيان الصهيوني، الذي يعتبر التواصل بين هذه البلدان الموجودة في محور مقاوم خطراً وجودياً عليه؛ أي أن الولايات المتحدة تنفّذ أهدافاً إسرائيلية، وهي لا تقوم بالرد على أي هجوم لأنها هي التي تبدأ العدوان دائماً. 

ثالثاً، إذا كان كاتب الافتتاحية يعتقد أن الجيش العراقي، أو أي جيش في المنطقة، سيعبّر مستقبلاً عن امتنانه وولائه للجيش الأميركي، فهو واهم. فشعوب المنطقة أذكى كثيراً مما تعرفون وتظنّون. والشعب في كل من العراق وسوريا يدرك أنّ قوات الاحتلال الأميركية هي أولاً قوات عدوانية، هدفها قمع الشعبين وحرمانهما من الحرية والسيادة، وموجودة من أجل نهب ثرواتهما. ويدرك الشعبان في سوريا والعراق أنّ هذه القوات المعتدية هي التي تمنع التواصل بين بلديهما، وهي التي تمنع فتح الحدود بين بلدين شقيقين متحابّين، بينما تريد فتح الحدود مع محتل تركي استخدم الحدود طوال السنوات العشر الماضية لإرسال الإرهابيين المسلّحين والمدرَّبين غربياً إلى سوريا، وتزويدهم بالمال والعتاد والسلاح.

خطر لي وأنا أقرأ افتتاحيتي “الواشنطن بوست” و”النيوزويك”، والمؤرَّختين في 30 حزيران/يونيو 2021، أن شعوب الغرب عبر الأطلسي ستكون في حال أفضل لو أنها لا تقرأ مثل هذه الافتتاحيات الموجَّهة سياسياً من جانب حكومات ترتكب جرائم حرب ضدّ الشعوب العربية، في سوريا والعراق ولبنان واليمن وليبيا. فهذه التحليلات المضلِّلة لا تمتّ بصلة إلى واقع الحال في بلداننا ومنطقتنا، وتنبع من تحيّز كتّابها إلى فكرة التفوّق الاستعمارية، وتجاهلهم واقعَ الشعوب ومعاناتها ووعيها وطموحها.

ها هم اليوم يخرجون من أفغانستان بعد التسبب بمآسٍ لا تُحصى للملايين من الشعب الأفغاني المسالم، ولا أحد يعلم لماذا دخلوا، ولماذا خرجوا، ولم يتمكنوا من الخروج إلاّ بعد التفاوض مع “طالبان” التي ادّعوا أنهم ذهبوا إلى هناك لتخليص الشعب الأفغاني منها، وإذ بهم يساهمون، عبر سياساتهم، في إدامتها وانتشارها.

أتساءل عن مناهج التاريخ في الولايات المتحدة، وعما تدرّسه للطلاب، إذا كان هذا ما تجود به مراكز الأبحاث ووسائل الإعلام، والتي تُعتبر نخبوية في الغرب؟ لكنّ هذا حديث آخر، ويحتاج إلى وقفة مقبلة. 

Syrian FM Dr Faisal Mikdad: western hypocrisy on humanitarian assistance

A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

June 16, 2021, RT.com

moi

-by Eva K Bartlett

A little over a decade ago, Syrians lived in safety and financial security. After ten years of war on Syria, while safety has largely returned, Syrians are struggling to exist under increasingly crippling Western sanctions.

As Syrian analyst Kevork Almassian noted“Were it not for the CIA regime change war, arming & training tens of thousands of multinational terrorists, draconian sanctions, foreign occupation of North & East, looting the oil & burning the wheat, Syria would’ve now a brilliant economy & high standard of living.”

When I first visited Syria in 2014, and in the years following, mortars and missiles fired from terrorist groups occupying eastern Ghouta pummeled Damascus on a daily basis. Likewise in government-controlled areas of Aleppo, and elsewhere around Syria.

Parents never knew if their children would return from school, or be shelled while at school. Untold numbers of Syrian civilians have been maimed over the past decade by such shelling, untold numbers more killed.

So one might expect that in 2021, with most of the terrorism in Syria eradicated, Syrians would have begun returning to the normal lives they had ten years prior. But the brutal sanctions have truly wrought hell on Syrians over the years, and under the latest ones, life has gotten exponentially worse.

Last year, I was in Syria for half of the year, after the borders closed due to Covid confusion. With ample time on my hands, I walked for hours around Damascus daily. One afternoon, wanting to get a good view of the city, I walked along narrow lanes going up the side of Qasioun mountain, encountering locals who spoke of community and supporting one another in hard times.

I had stopped to take a photo of the vista when a young girl’s voice called out to me. Shortly after, I was seated in her family’s humble sitting room, drinking cold water and talking with the family.

Only by chance did I learn that the father was ill with prostate cancer and suffering greatly for a want of affordable medications, increasingly difficult to get a hold of due to the sanctions. And that was in April, before the sadistically-named Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act came into effect months later.

I say sadistically, because these sanctions, while ostensibly intended to target the Syrian government and its allies in order to punish and discourage supposed “war crimes” against civilians, in reality inflict endless misery on those same Syrian civilians. This is, as I wrote, something former US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

It’s a pattern we’ve already seen with Western sanctions – in Venezuela, they have not only made people’s lives hell, but as I also wrote, have killed up to 40,000 Venezuelans in the span of one year, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

A recent guest article in the Financial Times addressed Syria’s ongoing (and orchestrated) economic crisis, with particular attention to the sanctions, noting that 60% of Syrians are suffering from food insecurity.

That number might actually be significantly higher, as in a July 2020 article detailing the illegality of the sanctions, the author cited 83% of the population living below the poverty line. That article noted, of the Caesar sanctions:

“Unlike the pre-existing sanctions, they apply to transactions anywhere in the world that engage the Syrian Government or certain sectors of the Syrian economy, even when those transactions have no connection to the United States.

“Such sanctions cripple a state’s economy; disrupt the availability of food, medicines, drinking water, and sanitation supplies; interfere with the functioning of health and education systems; and undermine people’s ability to work.”

These are not unintended effects – they are the whole idea.

The FT article notes that after the Caesar Act came into effect, the Syrian pound, “lost almost 70% of its value against the dollar in the following months. This spurred an inflationary spiral affecting food prices, which more than tripled in 2020.”

And, in contrast to how the US pretends to “protect” Syrians with these sanctions, the Caesar Act is, “severely affecting the local economy especially in the construction, energy, and financial sectors, blocking any possibility of reconstruction in this phase of lower-intensity conflict.”

Although I continued to follow events in Syria after leaving in late September 2020, when I returned in the last week of May this year, even I was surprised at the skyrocketed cost of basic things. About half a kilo of hummus that was 400 Syrian pounds last year is 2,200 now. At the current official exchange rate of 2,500 that’s slightly less than a dollar – but the average salary in Syria is around 50-60,000 Syrian pounds/month.

The FT article noted a kilogram of beef “costs about a quarter of a public employee’s average monthly salary. For perspective, in Italy this translates as €700 per kg. In the UK? £300 per lb.”

I chatted with a friend who has just one child. He described spending 15,000 (about $6) on vegetables, that would last several days. That’s a quarter of his salary gone, and many expenses still to pay.

In the Midan district of Damascus—an area usually brimming with shoppers coming for the famous sweet shops there, but not crowded the day I went—a cigarette vendor I spoke with described how he struggles to provide food for his wife and two sons. Like the majority of Syrians, selling cigarettes is a second job for him. Some are working three jobs, morning to late evening, and still can’t make ends meet.

He spoke of the self-sufficiency Syria had prior to the war, how everyone had work, but now, people are suffocating.

“We are rationing! I used to buy a kilo of meat every month, but now I buy 200 grams. My salary is 55,000, and if I can earn 50,000 from this second work, I will have 100,000 Syrian pounds. But, this amount is still not enough.”

“Yesterday, I bought some yogurt, cheese, a box of mortadella (meat), and a box of tissues. I paid 11,000 Syrian pounds. This is for one day, and just breakfast.”

He said a dearth of fertilizers and insecticides, due to sanctions, is directly impacting the agricultural sector.

While in Damascus, I also met with French humanitarian, Pierre Le Corf, who has lived in Syria for six years, most of that time in Aleppo. Le Corf, working and living with some of the poorest and most affected Syrians in Aleppo, spoke of how the sanctions are designed to kill hope, in addition to killing civilians.

“You might not see people starving in the street, but that’s not what suffering is. People are suffering in silence. More and more, the youth are leaving the country, not because they want to leave Syria or feel oppressed, but because they feel that they have no hope anymore.

The currency went from 50 Syrian pounds [for a dollar, before the war] to 4,000 Syrian pounds. People work from morning to night, and at the end of the day, their kids might ask for a banana. One kilogram of bananas is 5,000 Syrian pounds. When you earn 60,000 a month…”

He spoke of the pressure the US puts on every company and person who deals with Syria, that they can be imprisoned, fined. “They are forcing companies to not work with Syria,” to isolate Syria.

“I know families for who I’m trying to figure out how to bring them medicines that they can’t find any more. A week ago, I went to bury a guy who we had been bringing medicine, because we couldn’t find it any more. It became 90,000 pounds a box, he needed four boxes a month. He needed more medicine and better treatment that we can’t have, because it’s forbidden. Forbidden why? Because they pretend it’s ‘double use’, maybe it could be used for the army. The people are paying the price, no one else.

In an interview on Syria Insider, British journalist Vanessa Beeley condemned the sanctions against Syria, saying:

“Western governments are starving the Syrian people. They are depriving them of their right to return home, because the rebuilding process is being delayed. They are punishing the Syrian people for the resistance of the Syrian people against what they want to impose upon them. It’s nothing to do with the Syrian government or President Assad.”

Sanctions are never ever non-lethal practises. They are almost the most lethal of all weapons used in the hybrid war against the people of a targeted nation.

“At the same time as the sanctions are in place, the West is stealing the oil, burning the food resources, selling the food resources outside of Syria, all to deprive the Syrian people of their own resources, of the abundance of their own country.”

In a recent, detailed, presentation focussing on the sanctions, Beeley highlighted their effects not only on incomes, food, medicines, but also on fuel, industry, agriculture, health care and hospitals, electricity and water.

She aptly noted: “One could argue that the US Coalition is responsible for genocide in Syria under Genocide Convention article II (e) – deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

“The US Coalition is effectively following a policy of collective extermination of the Syrian people by military and economic means. This is a crime against Humanity, a war crime and a flagrant violation of the right to life & a life of dignity.”#Syria https://t.co/m8YxqIlUHR— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) June 14, 2021

In US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin today, perhaps among the scripted talking points there was tut tutting of Syria and Russia’s alleged preventing of humanitarian aid, a tired old trope debunked but still trumpeted by hypocrites in the West.

And while such integrity-devoid Western representatives launch accusation after accusation at Syria and Russia, it is abundantly clear that the suffering of Syrians is a product of the illegal war on Syria and the deadly, criminal, sanctions against the Syrian people.

RELATED:

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

Assad Highlights Syria’s Potential to Overcome Blockade

10/06/2021

Assad Highlights Syria’s Potential to Overcome Blockade

By Staff, Agencies

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the country is capable of overcoming the blockade and create more investment opportunities.

On Wednesday he visited a number of factories and facilities at Adra industrial city in Damascus countryside which were established under the circumstances of the war and blockade, but their owners have succeeded despite all difficulties and challenges.

During the visit, Assad inspected the production situation in the industrial city and met the industrialists and discussed with them means of boosting production and overcoming obstacles that may face industry in Syria.

“Syria has genuine potentials to overcome the blockade and lessen its impacts and create more investment opportunities,” Assad said in a press statement.

“I am very happy with my visit today to Adra industrial city and meeting with a number of Syrian industrialists… this city which has been on the front line between the army and terrorists since many years…but it has withstood… my visit today aims to stress the priority of economy in the upcoming stage,” he added.

“What I have seen today can’t be described except as excellent, taking into consideration the circumstances to which this region has lived during the years of war and the conditions to which the Syrian economy passes through… I believe that this visit is very important for anyone to raise his morale through the morals taken by the supervisors of the work, owners of industries and workers in the industrial sectors.”

He added, “This patriotic spirit that I have already touched at supervisors of the work and workers gives several messages in Syria… while I was inspecting the facilities, the first thing that came to my mind is a comparison, which comes spontaneously, between those who offered the national capitals during hard circumstances for creating job opportunities and supporting the economy, and those persons who fled with their capitals since the first days.

“When the signs of war have begun, they took the capitals they had collected in their country and migrated, at the time, the Syrian citizen was coming through a tunnel; Security tunnel, livelihood and economic tunnel, and he/she has thought that there would be too many brothers who would offer assistance,” the Syrian president said, state-run SANA news agency reported.

He went on to say, “Actually, What I have already seen sends many messages; messages to persons who possess the potentials, capabilities and resources but they lack the courage and spirit of the initiative to launch work and production, sends messages full of hope and confidence … confidence that during those circumstances ,the industrial sector has been able to remain and withstand, therefore, the most important message that we get from this visit is that if we have the will to build the homeland ,then we are able to build.”

Assad added that we are in need for the capital, in need for strong will and the patriotic sense, “and I felt that these three elements are existed with each one I met today, these three basic factors give momentum to many investors to establish industries in different areas, investments or productive facilities in other areas in Syria.”

“In fact, those persons are the ones on whom the Syrian society and homeland can depend in building economy and homeland in general…and certainly, the State will stand by them because they deserve all support as they carry on today the war on a front which is a front of work and a front of economic war… the Syrian citizen expect from you a lot and the State supports you in order to reflect these joint efforts as numbers in the economy, job opportunities and a prosperity for the homeland,” he concluded.

The suggestion Turkey was smuggling weapons to Al-Qaeda in Syria shows why Russia’s desire to halt ‘aid’ was a good idea

moi

June 4, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

New allegations that aid trucks to Syria from Turkey carried weapons for terrorists have surfaced. But it’s unlikely to convince those in the West to change their tune that Russia was wrong to want border crossings closed. 

In July 2020, there were those who self-righteously railed at Russia for allegedly denying humanitarian aid to Syrians. They screamed that in calling for crossings to be closed, Russia was attempting to starve and choke civilians in need of assistance. 

The Russian mission to the UN, however, maintains that ample aid is delivered from within Syria, via various agencies, including the UN. It argues that delivering aid from outside of Syria is no longer necessary, since most of the country has returned to peace and security. I haven’t come across a Russian representative who has stated so, but wonder if another reason Russia wanted cross-border ‘aid’ from Turkey halted was because it knew weapons were being smuggled to terrorists in Syria? 

On May 30, Sedat Peker, a Turkish mobster and former ally to Turkish President Recep Erdogan, published a new video in a series he has been releasing on criminal activities among Erdogan’s inner circle. In this latest video, Peker spoke of the weapons and vehicles sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, and that the contractor behind these shipments was a company called SADAT, run by Erdogan’s former chief military advisor.

Turkish mobster Sedat Peker, former ally to President #Erdogan, revealed he shipped arms, military supplies, drones, vehicles to al-Nusra front in #Syria at the request of #Sadat, Turkish contractor run by Erdogan’s former chief military advisor Adnan Tanriverdi. pic.twitter.com/AdqUxSyVVO— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) May 30, 2021

Our trucks went under the name of Sedat Peker Aid Convoy. We knew other trucks that went on my behalf carried weapons. This was organized by a team within SADAT. No registration, no paperwork applied to these shipments that crossed directly [to Syria],” said Peker.

The revelations should not come as a surprise. In January 2013, the late journalist Serena Shim, as I wrote, exposed how terrorists and arms were smuggled into Syria from Turkey, noting World Food Organization trucks were being used. In October 2014, Shim was killed in a car accident, shortly after telling Press TV she feared for her life and that Turkish intelligence had accused her of being a spy. Her family, and inquiring journalists, believed it was down to Turkish foul play, noting the official story of Shim’s death changing. The US government didn’t investigate the suspicious death of one of its citizens in Turkey. 

As Shim reported, if WFO trucks were at one point used to smuggle arms into Syria, can you blame Russia or Syria if they are indeed sceptical of supposed ‘aid’ entering from Turkey?

But whenever the issue of aid crossing into Syria is brought up at the UN Security Council, the narrative is usually to ‘blame Russia’. Hysterical headlines aside, is it really likely that Russia, with the world’s eyes on its every move, is actually trying to starve civilians in Syria? It is Russia, remember, that has demined vast areas of Syria formerly occupied by terrorist factions in order for local people to be able to return to their areas. It is also Russia that delivered aid to Raqqa, the city completely flattened by the US and allies in the pretext of fighting terrorism. 

Syria’s cross-border mechanism (CBM) began in 2014, when – due to the presence of terrorist groups – aid couldn’t be delivered from within the country. The Security Council established the CBM, with four crossings into Syria: two from Turkey, one from Iraq, the last from Jordan. In December 2019, all except the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey were closed down, with aid being coordinated via Damascus. 

But as Russian representatives at the UN pointed out in a statement in July 2020, by then the situation had changed, with most of Syria back under the control of the government. Sending aid to those who need it can be done from within the country. Western media suggested that Syria would use the closure of crossings to starve its civilians, but the reality is that Damascus has consistently cooperated in sending aid, while the US has in the past stymied aid delivery. 

Russia’s statement also noted, “The UN still has no presence in Idlib de-escalation zone which is controlled by international terrorists and fighters. It’s not a secret that the terrorist groups control certain areas of the de-escalation zone and use the UN humanitarian aid as a tool to exert pressure on [the] civil population and openly make profit from such deliveries.”

But amid a round of finger pointing, the West and allies continued to criticise Russia for wanting to end the CBM. In response, the Russian Federation’s representative to the UN Security Council wondered whether the UN’s OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) could go to Idlib to see if terrorists occupying that region were respecting the Declaration of Commitment some had signed regarding aid deliveries. 

This was a valid point, given that in areas previously occupied by terrorists, most civilians never saw the ample aid sent in by Syria and agencies. Terrorist groups controlled and hoarded the aid, from east Aleppo to Madaya to al-Waer, to eastern Ghouta. So it was by no means a stretch of the imagination to assume the same might play out in Idlib, particularly since the terrorists included factions from the aforementioned regions, who were bussed to Idlib as the cities and towns finally returned to peace. 

The Russian statement also addressed frenzied Western claims that the other closed crossings were the only means to send aid to civilians in the north-east of Syria. It read“In total, since the beginning of 2020 when ‘Al Yarubiyah’ was closed, more humanitarian aid has been delivered to the north-east of Syria than in previous years.” 

Still the narrative continued, though, and in March 2021, the dictator of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, tweeted about “Putin starving Syria”, resurrecting the cries over the unnecessary, and closed, crossings. But his claim prompted an angry response from some.

🇷🇺

So who is actually starving civilians in Syria? Aside from terrorists hoarding food and denying it to the local people, there are more significant reasons for their preventable suffering. And these are the West’s sanctions against them, particularly the June 2020 Caesar Act. 

Last year, James Jeffrey, the then US Special Representative for Syria Engagement, was quoted as saying the latest sanctions would contribute to the fall of the Syrian pound. What a wonderful way to “protect” Syrians. In US parlance, “protect” means “starve.”

As I walk around Damascus, I ask about the cost of food, and whether people can afford to feed their families. Most say their salaries aren’t sufficient: food prices have skyrocketed, salaries have not. Most describe adopting a more vegetarian diet – chicken and meats are too expensive to have more than once a month, or at all. 

Furthermore, there is the US occupation forces’ thieving or destroying of Syrian resources. On that, Dr. Bashar Ja’afari, in his former post as Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, in June 2020, said“When the United States daily steals 200,000 barrels of oil from the Syrian oil fields, 400,000 tons of cotton, 5,000,000 sheep and sets fire to thousands of hectares of wheat fields, and deliberately weakens the value of the Syrian pound, and when it imposes coercive economic measures aiming to choke the Syrian people and occupying parts of the Syrian lands, and when the US representative expresses her concern over the deteriorating situation of the Syrian citizen’s living conditions the logical question will be are not these acts the symptoms of political schizophrenia?”

But as usual the US and its allies blame Russia and Syria for the suffering in Syria, whitewashing their own very long litany of crimes there. 

Although the smuggling of weapons and terrorists via Turkey has been openly known for years, it’s rather amusing that it takes a petty mobster, and not Western media or leadership, to draw new attention to it. No, as terrorists use those weapons to fight the Syrian government (and rival terrorist factions, and civilians), the West is only concerned about blaming Russia and Syria. Ten years of lies and war against the people of Syria just aren’t enough for America and its allies.

Previous Articles:

Syrians filled the polling stations to defend their sovereignty and now fill the streets to celebrate the result

Today I saw Syrians dancing and celebrating life, and a return to peace – but, of course, the Western media won’t report that

Western nations want ‘democracy’ in Syria so badly they close embassies and prevent Syrians from voting in presidential elections

Douma: Three Years On, How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative.

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

American Journalist Killed in Turkey for Revealing the Truth Regarding ISIS-Daesh: No Investigation Two Years After Suspicious Death of American Journalist Serena Shim

Returning to Syria is a Fate, It’s Not an Option – Nasser Kandil العودة إلى سورية قدرٌ لا خيار

ARABI SOURI 

The war on Syria - Nasser Kandil
Photo of معادلة القدس تفجّر حرباً إقليميّة تشغل واشنطن

Nasser Kandil is a former member of the Lebanese Parliament, an accredited political analyst, and a career journalist and politician who has witnessed major milestones in the rich history of Lebanon and its relations with Syria and the world, he is currently the editor in chief of the Lebanese Al-Binaa Newspaper.

Under the above title, Nasser Kandil wrote an update in Al-Binaa newspaper in regards to the latest diplomatic developments with Syria and the US’s recent shift in policies, especially after the successful presidential election in Syria and the overwhelming win of President Bashar Assad for another term of 7 years, the following is its translation to English.

The news coming from Damascus and the capitals of the countries of the region and the world follows an increasing number of embassies that are reopening or strengthening their diplomatic level, after years in which a large International-Arab alliance wanted to besiege Syria and weaken its state, and for this, it devoted huge funds and enormous capabilities and a media and intelligence war and the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of armed terrorists from all worldwide, and the diplomatic estrangement was one of the tools of war that sought to overthrow Syria.

After a long decade of Syrian steadfastness full of sacrifices, Syria succeeded, with its state, army and president, to foil what had been planned for it, and succeeded in establishing honest alliances that realized the dangers of what had been prepared for Syria and its impact on stability in the region and the world.

As a result of these sacrifices and alliances, new equations and balances were formed that were difficult to break, which were translated in the military field by the retreat of the control of terrorist groups and the presence of their operators from large areas of the Syrian geography, and the blockage of the road to pressure attempts to impose sovereign concessions on Syria that affect its unity, identity and constants.

This difficult decade of the twenty-first century witnessed a fate similar to the failure that befell the plans of the project of the American hegemony over the world project, of which the war on Syria was one of its most prominent chapters, by betting on the fallouts that winning the overthrow of Syria would carry, and the results of the overall failure of the project began to leave their repercussions on the American interior and articulates the framework for policy change toward recognition of failure, seeking to adapt to the changes, and in this context the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is taking place, negotiations are on returning to the nuclear agreement with Iran, preparing for an American-Russian summit, and trying to draw new lines for American positioning on multiple settlement lines.

Despite the harsh and unjust sanctions imposed by Washington on Syria, and the negative and hostile stances taken by the administration of US President Joe Biden towards all the sovereign entitlements in Syria, the most recent of which is the position on the presidential elections, Washington has lost the ability to control the alliance that it gathered behind it under the title of overthrowing Syria, so that it continues to isolate itself from Syria, which is regaining its health and presence, and its regional and international alliance is escalating to more present and powerful positions, and that is why returning to Syria seemed to translate the attempt of its owners not to stay away from what Syria represents and will represent it in the near future in drawing the region’s equations.

Breaking the deadlock in diplomatic relations with Syria is the first step to retreat from this positioning, which did not bring any of these Arabs and non-Arabs, except to remain outside the equation of influencing the vital addresses in which Syria stands at its heart.

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العودة إلى سورية قدرٌ لا خيار

Photo of معادلة القدس تفجّر حرباً إقليميّة تشغل واشنطن

تتلاحق الأخبار الواردة من دمشق وعواصم دول المنطقة والعالم عن عدد متزايد للسفارات التي يُعاد فتحُها أو تعزيز مستواها الدبلوماسي، بعد سنوات أراد فيها حلف دولي عربي واسع حصار سورية وإضعاف دولتها، وكرّس لذلك أموالاً طائلة وإمكانات هائلة وحرباً إعلامية ومخابراتيّة واستجلاباً لمئات آلاف المسلحين الإرهابيين من كل أصقاع الدنيا، وكانت القطيعة الدبلوماسية واحدة من أدوات الحرب التي سعت لإسقاط سورية.

بعد عقد طويل من الصمود السوري المليء بالتضحيات، نجحت سورية بدولتها وجيشها ورئيسها، بإسقاط ما دُبّر لها، ونجحت بإقامة تحالفات صادقة أدركت مخاطر ما تمّ تحضيره لسورية وتأثيره على الاستقرار في المنطقة والعالم، وتشكّلت بفعل هذه التضحيات والتحالفات معادلات جديدة وتوازنات يصعب كسرها، ترجمت في الميدان العسكري بتقهقر سيطرة الجماعات الإرهابيّة وحضور مشغليها عن مساحات واسعة من الجغرافيا السورية، وبانسداد الطريق على محاولات الضغط لفرض تنازلات سياديّة على سورية تمسّ وحدتها وهويتها وثوابتها.

شهد هذا العقد الصعب من القرن الحادي والعشرين مصيراً مشابهاً للفشل الذي أصاب مخططات مشروع الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم، الذي كانت الحرب على سورية أحد أبرز مفرداته، بالرهان على التداعيات التي سيحملها الفوز بإسقاط سورية، وبدأت نتائج الفشل الإجمالي للمشروع تترك تداعياتها على الداخل الأميركي وترسم إطار تغيير السياسات نحو التسليم بالفشل، والسعي للتأقلم مع المتغيرات، وفي هذا السياق يجري الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان، والتفاوض على العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، والتحضير لقمة أميركيّة روسيّة، ومحاولة رسم خطوط جديدة لتموضع أميركيّ على خطوط تسويات متعددة.

رغم العقوبات القاسية والظالمة التي تفرضها واشنطن على سورية، والمواقف السلبية العدائية التي تتخذها إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن تجاه كل الاستحقاقات السيادية في سورية، وآخرها الموقف من الانتخابات الرئاسية، فقدت واشنطن القدرة على ضبط الحلف الذي جمعته خلفها تحت عنوان إسقاط سورية، ليواصل الانعزال عن سورية التي تستعيد عافيتها وحضورها، ويصعد حلفها الإقليمي والدولي الى مواقع أكثر حضوراً وقوة، ولهذا بدت العودة الى سورية ترجمة لمحاولة أصحابها عدم البقاء بعيداً عما تمثله سورية وستمثله في المستقبل القريب في رسم معادلات المنطقة، وكسر الجمود في العلاقات الدبلوماسية مع سورية أولى الخطوات للتراجع عن هذا التموضع الذي لم يجلب لأي من هؤلاء عرباً وغير عرب الا البقاء خارج معادلة التأثير في العناوين الحيوية التي تقف سورية في قلبها.

Syria comes in from the cold: Saudi-Syria relationship warms up

May 8, 2021

Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is embarking on a new beginning that could change the Middle East.   To enhance security and stability, a Saudi delegation headed by the head of the intelligence service, Lieutenant General Khaled Al-Humaidan, visited Damascus on Monday and met Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and the Vice President for Security Affairs, Major General Ali Mamlouk. The talks were aimed at restoring diplomatic relations after a ten-year pause, reported the private London-based Arabic daily, Rai Al-Youm

Saudi Arabia will reopen its embassy in Damascus following continuing talks planned in Damascus after the end of Ramadan, and the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The Syrian ambassador to Lebanon issued a positive statement on the topic. 

Lebanon remains at the core of Saudi interests in the eastern Mediterranean region, and the assistance of Damascus in stabilizing Lebanon is crucial. A US State Department assessment in 2020 found evidence that Damascus was regaining its pre-eminent place in Lebanese politics. Following the collapse of Lebanese banks, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has worked towards making Riyadh a player in Lebanon again, and the Saudis need President Assad on their side to help shape the region.

Saudi Arabia is recalibrating its foreign policy and repairing relations with its neighbors as it works to stop the influence of global powers in the region. The visit to Damascus comes after the UAE and Bahrain have publically shown support for the Assad administration in recent years.

Giorgio Cafiero, CEO, and founder of Gulf State Analytics, a geopolitical risk consultancy based in Washington, said “The Saudis have to be pragmatic in how they deal with Syria. It’s very clear that Damascus isn’t on the verge of falling and I think the Saudis are coming to terms with the inevitable in moving toward some sort of rapprochement with Syria,” he said. “It’s important to realize that as Assad has proven triumphant on the ground and as the Saudis have deepened their relationship with Russia,” said Cafiero. “We need to keep in mind that Syria is very much in need of reconstruction and redevelopment and the Syrian government is going to want help from the wealthy Gulf countries, so this is certainly a card that the Saudis can play at some point – to support reconstruction with deep pockets,” said Cafiero.

Syria would also be able to lobby Washington indirectly through Abu Dhabi and Riyadh to lift sanctions, and thereby access the funds being offered by the Gulf states to rebuild Syria. The UAE has publicly called for the removal of US Caesar Act sanctions, and is delivering regular medical aid and helping to facilitate Syria’s regional rehabilitation. The Emirati foreign minister had declared that “the return of Syria to its environment is inevitable and is in the interest of Syria and the region as a whole, and the biggest challenge facing coordination and joint work with Syria is the Caesar Act.”

Algeria is insisting that Syria be readmitted to the Arab League, and the UAE has restored ties with Syria as it seeks to contain Turkish expansion. The UAE, a Saudi ally, reopened its embassy in Damascus in December 2019 in an attempt to re-engage with Syria. Oman and the UAE, have recently rekindled ties with the Syrian government.  Iraq, another Syrian ally, has also pushed for Damascus to rejoin the Arab League. 

Iraq is turning to Syria as a transit route for Egyptian gas imports. Iraqi oil minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail said on April 29 that discussions have opened with his Syrian counterpart Bassam Toumeh. “We have a common vision about the possibility of steering and moving Egyptian gas through Syria land,” a spokesman for the Iraqi oil ministry said.

The Arab Gas Pipeline runs from Egypt to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, with the Syrian section having been completed in 2008. Gas exports from Egypt to Iraq would flow through an extension to the pipeline. 

The Akkas gas field is in western Al-Anbar province in Iraq, but the field development was put on hold while the area was occupied by ISIS.  However, both the Syrian and Iraqi governments control the areas on both sides of the border, and Iraq has planned to supply surplus gas to Syria.  US-based energy firm Schlumberger is to lead a consortium to develop Akkas, a project that also involves Saudi companies.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Saudi Arabia in March, sending signals to Washington that the Saudis are seeming to inch closer to the Russian position on Syria. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in a joint press conference with Lavrov, “We are keen to coordinate with all parties, including Russia, to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz met with the Russian president’s special envoy for Syrian settlement affairs Alexander Lavrentiev, the day before meeting with Lavrov, and discussed the latest developments in Syria.

Sami Hamdi, the editor-in-chief at The International Interest, says that the Saudi displeasure with the Biden administration has something to do with the shift as well. “Bin Salman may also have eyes on deepening ties with Russia as Riyadh becomes increasingly disillusioned with Washington. Engaging with Syria is likely to increase Saudi-Russia ties and cooperation,” Hamdi said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Russia have coordinated well on the issue of oil within the OPEC framework and the pursuit of market equilibrium.

Iraq has played host recently to Saudi Arabia and Iran in last month’s direct talks that officials hope will defuse the tension between the two regional powers. Talks behind closed doors between the two were held in Baghdad as senior representatives from both worked to find common ground. The Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported that the discussions which started in Baghdad will continue.

Iran will also urge Saudi Arabia to recognize President Assad as the legitimate leader of Syria, paving the way for Syria’s re-entry into the Arab League. This may be timed to coincide with the outcome of the Syrian presidential election on May 26. 

The Saudi, Jordan, Syria highway for the movement of goods and people is now open.  Jordan held the key and has opened the border crossing with Saudi Arabia at Al-Omari post, while also opening the Jaber crossing into Syria, which is called Nassib on the Syrian side.

The Saudi-UAE reset with Syria sends a clear message to the Biden administration: you want to restart relations with Iran, and we want to restart relations with Syria.

 Saudi Arabia will push for a solution to the Syrian crisis and that will place the interests of the region above all else, even if they conflict with Washington.

The US-allied Gulf Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were the main regional backers of armed groups opposed to the Syrian government, providing finance and weapons as part of a program of support for the armed opposition coordinated by Washington.

The Syrian battleground has provided fertile ground to feed extremism among the region’s youth, as radical groups can use social media. By pushing for a solution in Syria and the return of Damascus to the Arab fold, would end the use of Syria as a battlefield for conflicting regional and international agendas.

The US State Department responded to the Emirati foreign minister’s statements on Tuesday regarding the effects of the US “Caesar Act” on the lives of Syrians, by claiming the sanctions have nothing to do with the humanitarian crisis in Syria, even though medical supplies and equipment are forbidden by US-EU sanctions.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist

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