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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Yes, Syria is a tragedy but it would be madness for Britain to intervene

The death spiral continues in Syria. For more than a year, the benighted Arab state has been gripped by savagery as the authoritarian regime of President Bashar al-Assad is challenged by insurrectionists.

The ruthlessness of both sides has resulted in a mounting catalogue of atrocities, leaving the Syrian people with the deepening fear that their country is sliding into civil war.

Such anxieties can only have been worsened by reports of the massacre in the town of Houla, where more than 100 civilians were said to have been butchered last week by the President’s forces.

Funeral: Mourners attend a mass burial in Syria as Syrian diplomats around the world are being expelled after more than 100 people were killed in a massacre in the central Syrian city of Houla Funeral: Mourners attend a mass burial in Syria as Syrian diplomats around the world are being expelled after more than 100 people were killed in a massacre in the central Syrian city of Houla

Among the dead were no fewer than 49 children and 34 women.

On Sunday, the UN Security Council — meeting in an emergency session — issued another fierce condemnation of Assad and repeated calls for a ceasefire between the government and the rebels.
Here in Britain, Foreign Secretary William Hague has not only attacked Assad in the strongest possible terms, but has also demanded international pressure to bring about his downfall. Yesterday, Britain — and other Western powers — announced the expulsion of their Syrian diplomats.

Even military intervention by the West against Assad has not been ruled out.

In the U.S., General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has indicated that American troops could be sent to support the rebels. ‘There is always a military option,’ he said. Hague himself has indulged in some noisy sabre-rattling over the past few days.

Massacre: This citizen journalism image provided by Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows shrouded dead bodies in HoulaMassacre: The UN Security Council has issued another fierce condemnation of Assad and military intervention by the West has not been ruled out

The expressions of outrage over Houla and the consequent threats of military action all feed into the conventional Western narrative of the Syrian crisis whereby Assad is portrayed as a bloodthirsty tyrant and the rebels as heroic freedom-fighters trying to liberate the Syrian people from oppression.

It is a picture that has been sedulously cultivated by the anti-Assad opposition, who are masters of manipulative propaganda aimed at gullible Western politicians, broadcasters and protest groups.

But the truth about the violence in Syria is far more complex than Assad’s enemies would have us believe.

Of course, this murderous bloodshed must be condemned, and there is no doubt that a human tragedy is unfolding. The Assad regime is clearly repulsive and its actions indefensible, so a genuinely popular and peaceful uprising by the people would be both understandable and justified.

However, contrary to what Hague might argue, this is anything but a straightforward battle between a dictatorship and the people.

Guilt: The rebels are blaming Assad, but the President's regime are strongly denying any responsibility for the killings Guilt: The rebels are blaming Assad, but the President’s regime are strongly denying any responsibility for the killings

While the uprising began as a series of peaceful demonstrations by ordinary Syrians, the simplistic notion of good versus evil no longer reflects the reality.

Even on the most basic level, we do not know what actually happened at Houla. ‘Truth is the first casualty of war,’ goes the wise old dictum, and all we have at the moment are the contentions of either side.

The rebels are blaming Assad, while the President’s regime strongly disputes any responsibility for the killings at all, pointing out that most of the victims seem to have been shot at point-blank range, whereas the Government forces at the time were using heavy mortar fire against the rebels.

Self-serving propaganda? Perhaps, but in this most bitter of conflicts, tales of atrocities have often been exaggerated and exploited.

Only in February, for instance, just before a key UN vote on Syrian sanctions, we were told that more than 200 civilians were killed by Assad’s forces in the bloody shelling of Homs,  a rebel stronghold.

But it subsequently turned out that the real death toll was 55.

Moreover, it should be recognised that the rebels stand accused of barbarity matching that of the Assad regime.

Over recent months, they have been accused of a string of vicious terrorist attacks in major cities, including car explosions and suicide bombings. In turn, they claim these were the work of Assad. But how are we to know the truth?

Such a murky picture of mutually murderous violence makes it absurd for Hague to pretend that this is merely a moral struggle between the darkness of the Assad regime and the nobility of his opponents.

The fact is that there is no uprising of the Syrian people against the government. Nor have there been any major protests against Assad’s presidency in the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, where the only mass demonstrations to have been held at all have been pro-Assad.

Foreign secretary William Hague, pictured meeting his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, is expected to officially announce the expulsion of three Syrian diplomats from the UKAction: Foreign secretary William Hague has announced the expulsion of three Syrian diplomats from the UK

Some try to explain the absence of mass rallies by claiming that the tyrannical nature of the government prevents them, but this will not wash. In Egypt, the police, army and security forces under President Mubarak were far stronger than those under Assad in Syria today, yet they still could not prevent huge popular protests.

There has been nothing like that in Syria, for the reality is that the opposition does not represent the will of the people. Instead, it is a largely Islamist force that wants to end Assad’s attachment to secular rule, under which — for all the regime’s other failings — the rights of religious minorities are respected.

The opposition’s co-ordinating body, the Syrian National Council, is dominated by the hardline Muslim Brotherhood, which supports the imposition of Sharia law. The council is strongly supported by armed jihadists on the ground who want to create an anti-Western Islamic state in Syria.

These zealots have been provided with both arms and financial backing by the fundamentalist Muslim regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as both want to promote ultra-conservative Islamism across the region.

It is grotesque that our own Foreign Secretary thinks that we have a duty to take up the cause of these fanatics in Syria who have no interest in negotiation or democracy.

Hague is quite simply deluded if he thinks that we have anything to gain from intervention in the country.

 

 

Britain’s position is shot through with hypocrisy. Hague fulminates about human rights in Syria because the issue is dominating international news, yet says nothing about abuses of freedom in Saudi Arabia, just because the country happens to be our oil-rich economic ally.

He criticises Russia for backing Assad, yet remains silent about Qatar’s backing for the murderous jihadists.

Nor do our politicians seem to have learnt any lessons from the so-called Arab Spring, which they enthusiastically presented last year as a triumph of freedom over dictatorship. It has hardly worked out like that.

In almost every country where the Arab Spring prevailed, the result has been more oppression, greater economic paralysis and an increase in religious autocracy.

Diplomatic talks: UN international envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to demand an end to the bloodshedDiplomatic talks: UN international envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to demand an end to the bloodshed

So in Tunisia, once the most secular and progressive country in the Arab world, gangs of Salafist Muslim thugs now roam the streets, threatening unveiled women and firebombing shops that dare to sell alcohol. In Yemen, Al Qaeda now controls large tracts of the south of country, while in Egypt, the first round of the presidential election has resulted in a run‑off between an Islamist hardliner and a former military crony of Mubarak — hardly the victory for democracy that the Egyptian people were promised at the height of the revolution.

All this partly explains why the Syrian people have largely refused to support the rebels. They see what has happened in the rest of the Middle East and shudder.

Assad may have the blood of children on his hands, but in the eyes of the majority of his people he at least offers a degree of stability and economic progress, whereas the prospect of jihadist rule means puritanism and paralysis.

It would be outrageous to sacrifice the lives of any British soldiers in this conflict in which we have no national interests.

Deluded: William Hague has criticised Russia for backing Assad, but has remained quiet about Qatar's backing for the murderous jihadistsDeluded: William Hague has criticised Russia for backing Assad, but has remained quiet about Qatar’s backing for the murderous jihadists

Enough lives have already been lost in ideological adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the cost of both those wars would pale beside the terrible consequences of intervention in Syria, up against a fiercely loyal, well-trained and well-equipped army.

Even if our forces succeeded in driving Assad from power, we would be dragged further into a blood-soaked quagmire as we tried to negotiate a settlement between the warring factions.

Our intervention in Libya may have deposed a tyrant — but only at the cost of giving power to lethal Islamic militias and further degrading the infrastructure of that nation. The damage we would cause in Syria would be even greater.

In any case, at a time of severe military cutbacks, we simply do not have the capability to intervene — so Hague’s aggressive rhetoric is little more than mere posturing anyway.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2151866/Houla-massacre-Syria-tragedy-madness-Britain-intervene.html

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Syrie : Des massacres « préparés » pour torpiller le processus politique

Le scénario qui se déroule en Syrie est devenu un classique que mérite d’être enseigné dans les écoles de sciences politiques. A la veille de chaque échéance susceptible de faire avancer le processus de règlement politique, les groupes extrémistes terroristes, financés, armés et manipulés par les États-Unis via leurs agents du Golfe et la Turquie, provoquent une flambée de violence. Bénéficiant ensuite d’une couverture médiatique planétaire, ils provoquent un tapage d’enfer, destiné à imposer leur propre agenda. Depuis des mois que cela dure, leur objectif n’ont jamais été atteint. Mais cela ne les empêche pas de réessayer encore et encore…

Heureux hasard du calendrier, les nouveaux massacres imputés aux forces gouvernementales ont eu lieu à la veille de l’arrivée à Damas de l’émissaire international Kofi Annan, dont la visite avait été annoncée en premier lieu par le président Bachar al-Assad, dans une interview accordée il y a deux semaines à la télévision russe Rossia 24. M. Assad avait affirmé qu’il poserait des questions à M. Annan sur le fait que les violences commises par les extrémistes sont systématiquement passées sous silence. L’émissaire de l’Onu était censé examiner les moyens de mettre en œuvre la deuxième phase de son plan en six points, qui consiste à mettre sur les rails la solution politique, basée sur le dialogue. Un dialogue que le Conseil national syrien (dont il ne reste plus grand chose après la démission de son chef Burhane Ghalioun) et l’Armée « syrienne » libre (ASL), la milice auxiliaire des services de renseignements turcs, de la CIA et des pays du Golfe, n’ont jamais officiellement accepté, pas plus que le plan Annan.

Les officines de l’opposition commencent tout à coup à évoquer la situation à Houla, parlant de « massacres perpétrés par les forces gouvernementales ». Les images de corps ensanglantés et meurtris sont diffusés sur les médias du réseau planétaire. Pour des militants « bombardés au canon de tank et à l’artillerie et pourchassés par les troupes du régime », on remarquera qu’ils ont eu le temps de filmer les corps tranquillement. Les indignations fusent de toutes parts, les condamnations aussi. Le ministre britannique des Affaires étrangères, William Hague, annonce que son pays projetait de saisir le Conseil de sécurité de l’Onu. L’ASL affirme ne plus être engagée par le plan Annan (qu’elle n’a toujours pas officiellement accepté) et envoie « en enfer » l’initiative de l’émissaire international.

Les observateurs internationaux se rendent à Houla (au Nord d’Alep) et constatent l’ampleur de la tragédie : au moins 32 enfants de moins de dix ans morts et 60 adultes. Le chef des observateurs, Robert Mood, fait une déclaration dans laquelle on peut retenir une phrase très significative : « Ceux qui ont provoqué ces violences, ceux qui ont riposté et ceux qui sont responsables… ». Le général norvégien parle donc de provocation.

La version du gouvernement syrien, que personne ne prendra la peine de diffuser, est la suivante : des groupes extrémistes armés de mortiers et de missiles antichars ont attaqué les troupes régulières qui ont riposté. Les terroristes ont ensuite commis les massacres pour provoquer l’exode des habitants (qui a effectivement eu lieu) pour faire assumer aux troupes régulières la responsabilités de ces atrocités.

Le gouvernement syrien avait fait état de deux autres massacres commis dans les localités de Taldou et de Choumariya, où « des groupes d’Al-Qaïda » ont massacré les membres de deux familles, 18 personnes au total.

Le ministre des Affaires étrangère, Walid Moallem, a contacté M. Annan pour lui expliquer la réalité des faits, rapportés en détail par le porte-parole du ministère, Jihad Makdessi. Mais les médias internationaux ont-ils des yeux et des oreilles autre que pour les officines de l’opposition, financées par les grandes démocraties wahhabites du Golfe ?

La tendance au Liban

Tripoli, Akkar : affaiblir l’armée pour édifier un émirat islamique

Les récents incidents du Liban-Nord visent à « confessionnaliser » la sécurité, en présentant l’armée comme une institution proche des chrétiens et du 8-Mars, la Sûreté générale comme une institution sous le contrôle du Hezbollah, et les Forces de sécurité intérieure (FSI) aux mains du Courant du futur, et donc des sunnites. Les développements qui ont secoué le Nord prouvent l’existence d’une plan secret destiné à vider cette région du pays de toute force de sécurité non sunnite, pour laisser la voie libre aux courants extrémistes, alliés à l’opposition syrienne, elle-même noyauté et manipulée par Al-Qaïda, comme le reconnait le secrétaire général de l’Onu, Ban Ki-moon.

Diverses sources de sécurité libanaises précisent que les derniers événements se préparaient depuis quelque temps, et ne peuvent être séparés de l’installation de la tente du sit-in, place al-Nour, offerte par le prédicateur salafiste Omar Bacri avant l’arrestation de Chadi Mawlaoui. Les salafistes prévoyaient donc d’organiser ce sit-in en soutien aux 350 islamistes emprisonnés sans jugement. Ces groupes extrémistes ont poussé leurs partisans à se déployer à Tripoli et à édifier des barricades, créant ainsi une sorte de nouvelle ligne de démarcation. En quelques heures, le chef-lieu du Nord a failli s’embraser, car des forces hostiles au courant islamiste, toutes proches du 8-Mars et hostiles à l’opposition syrienne, ont à leur tour menacé de se déployer dans la ville. Il s’agit notamment des membres du Parti de la libération arabe (partisans du ministre Fayçal Karamé), ceux du Mouvement de l’Unification islamique, du Parti syrien national social et du Front d’action islamique, dont les principales figures à Tripoli sont les cheikhs Bilal Chaabane et Hicham Minkara.

La remise en liberté de Chadi Mawlaoui est sans doute un signal négatif. Elle prouve que pour préserver le calme, il a fallu sacrifier le prestige de l’État, qui ne ressort pas grandi de cette affaire.

Entre l’arrestation de Mawlaoui et la mort de cheikh Ahmed Abdel Wahed et de son compagnon, tués car ils refusaient de s’arrêter à un barrage de l’armée dans le Akkar, et la réaction violente des islamistes du Liban-Nord, proches de l’opposition syrienne, l’Armée libanaise et la Sûreté générale ne pourront plus accomplir la moindre mission dans cette région. C’est tout le prestige de l’État qui en pâtit. Leur objectif est de livrer le Nord aux forces proches de l’opposition syrienne qui ne prennent plus la peine de cacher leurs armes. L’Armée libanaise, qui continuait à arrêter des voitures bourrées d’armes ou même des navires, ne peut plus agir dans toute cette zone avec autant d’efficacité si elle n’obtient pas une couverture politique totale. L’équation qu’ils (l’alliance obscure 14-Mars/ASL/wahhabites) tentent d’instituer est basée sur le postulat suivant : les sunnites ont leur région forte, le Liban-Nord, face à la banlieue sud des chiites. Et tout comme les services de sécurité n’ont pas pu arrêter les personnes réclamées par le Tribunal international, les islamistes arrêtés doivent aussi être relâchés et Mawlaoui n’est que le début de la série.

Mais la comparaison n’a pas lieu d’être, car les armes de la banlieue sud sont dirigés contre Israël, qui a goûté à la défaite grâce à elles. Alors que l’arsenal du Nord n’a aucune cause à part celle du fanatisme religieux et de l’extrémisme, et n’a aucun projet à part l’édification d’un émirat islamique.

Déclarations et prises de positions

« Je compte adresser à toutes les parties des messages écrits en vue d’une reprise du dialogue national au cours de la deuxième semaine de juin prochain. Ceux qui ont des observations à ce sujet sont appelés à me les communiquer. Les composantes du dialogue ne sont pas celles du gouvernement. Et si d’aucuns ont une réserve au sujet du gouvernement, ils auront une compensation à la table de dialogue. C’est pourquoi il ne faut pas lier ces deux choses et je souhaite que le 14 Mars prenne part au dialogue sans conditions. Le gouvernement ne peut pas être démis ipso facto. Ou son président démissionne, ou il s’effrite ou alors la confiance parlementaire lui est retirée. Les points qui doivent être débattus lors des réunions du dialogue sont la stratégie défensive et le statut des armes en trois volets : premièrement, il s’agira de répondre à la question de savoir où, quand, pourquoi et comment utiliser les armes de la Résistance ; deuxièmement, la question des armes palestiniennes à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur des camps ; et troisièmement, le retrait des armes qui prolifèrent dans les villes et les villages. Le peuple ne désire-t-il pas que ces points soient discutés ? Si oui, il faut qu’il fasse pression sur ses leaders politiques. Il ne saurait être question de modifier la position officielle du Liban consistant à rester à l’écart de la crise syrienne. Le roi Abdallah d’Arabie saoudite n’est nullement opposé à ce positionnement du Liban. Je vais visiter prochainement les pays du Golfe pour discuter avec leurs dirigeants des appels lancés à leurs ressortissants à ne pas venir au Liban. La crise syrienne ne sera pas exportée au Liban et certaines retombées n’ont pas d’horizon politique. L’avenir du Liban est prometteur. Je suis certain que le prestige de l’armée ne sera pas touché quoi qu’il arrive. Ce qui garantit ce prestige, c’est comment se comportent l’armée, les services de sécurité et la justice. Al-Qaïda ne dispose pas d’un environnement propice au Liban. Je souhaite la rentrée à Beyrouth du chef de Saad Hariri, parce qu’il a un rôle efficace à jouer dans la rue libanaise. Il a parlé avec tout le monde lors des derniers événements et a joué un rôle positif. »

  • Béchara Raï, patriarche de l’Eglise maronite

« Les responsables libanais doivent se réunir à la table de dialogue, loin du langage des armes. Les Libanais sont invités à placer leur confiance dans l’État, dans l’armée, dans les institutions et les forces de l’ordre. Je joins ma voix à tous ceux qui appellent à la tenue d’un dialogue responsable. Personne d’autre que l’Armée libanaise ne peut nous protéger et sauvegarder l’État. Ce n’est pas à chaque fois que nous polémiquons sur un sujet donné qu’il faut revendiquer la démission du gouvernement, ou prendre d’assaut les rues pour y brûler des pneus. »

  • Michel Aoun, principal leader chrétien libanais (allié du Hezbollah)

« Il y a tentative de jumelage des événements en Syrie avec certains incidents au Liban afin de généraliser le chaos dans le pays et de pousser les Libanais au désespoir. Il ne fait pas de doute qu’Israël convoite notre terre et nos eaux. Ses visées s’étendent à la Syrie aussi. C’est ça le cœur du conflit. Le gouvernement est censé écarter tout danger du Liban mais l’équipe actuelle est défaillante. Il y a une implication libanaise dans les événements en Syrie, à travers les trafics d’armes et l’accueil d’hors-la-loi syriens au Liban (…) Lors du meeting du CPL le 5 mai, j’avais dit que la visite de Joseph Lieberman et de Jeffrey Feltman ensemble visait à transformer le Liban-Nord en zone tampon avec la Syrie. Ils cherchent à saper le prestige de l’armée à cette fin, pour instaurer la zone tampon que l’Onu n’arrive pas à imposer en Syrie. Voilà ce qu’ils sont en train de faire. L’incident du Akkar est donc artificiel, planifié à l’avance. Le prestige de l’armée reste entier et la troupe reste la seule force en laquelle nous avons confiance. Quant à ce climat de folie dans le Akkar, ceux qui sont en train de l’instaurer le paieront cher. Ce n’est pas une menace, mais ceux qui sont à l’origine de tout cela le paieront, ainsi que les hommes politiques qui sont avec eux. L’instant viendra, et il viendra bientôt, si ce n’est déjà fait, où tous les hommes politiques qui ont attaqué l’armée et se sont livrés à des provocations contre cette dernière seront bientôt relégués aux oubliettes du passé. Ce genre de mouvement se dégonfle rapidement : que personne ne se sente fort par leur biais. Le mieux qu’ils pourront faire, c’est à peine rester debout. »

Général Jean Kahwaji, commandant en chef de l’Armée libanaise

« Les militaires doivent faire attention à la vie des Libanais en menant leur mission de manière responsable. Les derniers événements survenus au Liban-Nord prouvent une fois de plus que tout le monde compte sur vous pour empêcher la sédition et imposer la stabilité. Les missions de défense et de sécurité sont complémentaires dans la préservation de la souveraineté de la nation et des intérêts du pays. Il n’est pas permis de mettre en danger la sécurité du citoyen, ses propriétés et sa dignité, encore moins d’exploiter le climat de démocratie et les libertés publiques dont jouit le Liban. Je crois que le vent de déstabilisation qui souffle sur la région risque d’ébranler les fondements de l’État et l’unité de la nation en s’en prenant à ses acquis et en remettant en cause son avenir. La troupe doit resserrer les rangs afin de faire face aux difficultés. Le découragement n’a pas sa place au sein de l’institution militaire. »

  • Samir Geagea, chef des Forces libanaises

« La solution à la crise serait que le gouvernement démissionne immédiatement et qu’il soit remplacé par un cabinet neutre. Il ne peut y avoir de dialogue en présence d’un gouvernement de confrontation. Le gouvernement a besoin d’un dialogue entre ses membres avant tout autre dialogue avec les autres dirigeants. Le régime syrien s’affaiblit chaque jour un peu plus. Le Hezbollah et le Courant patriotique libre cherchent à tout prix à sauver le régime de Bachar el-Assad, même au détriment du Liban et de ses relations avec les pays arabes. »

Revue de presse

As Safir (Quotidien libanais proche de la majorité, 25 mai 2012)
Imad Marmal

L’Armée libanaise sent depuis quelque temps que certains veulent l’entrainer dans la rue pleine de mines confessionnelles, sectaires et politiques, pour l’impliquer dans une aventure absurde et coûteuse et lui faire payer le prix des divergence autour de la crise syrienne et des armes du Hezbollah. Le commandement de l’armée, qui a très vite compris ce qui se passait, tente autant que possible d’éviter de tomber dans les pièges qui lui sont tendus. Il est clair pour le commandement que la classe politique, y compris certains hauts responsables officiels, n’hésitent plus à utiliser un discours de plus en plus sectaire pour faire plaisir à leurs bases populaires. Désormais, ce sont les politiciens qui suivent la rue et non pas le contraire, sans qu’ils prennent en compte les répercussions nationales et sécuritaires de tels agissements.

Aussi, l’institution militaire estime que la sécurité intérieure a toujours été et restera une décision politique en premier lieu. Si cette décision existe, l’armée peut frapper d’une main de fer et contrôler le terrain d’une manière efficace. Et sans « sécurité politique », aucune armée au monde ne peut accomplir ses tâches convenablement.

Le commandement de l’armée assure, dans ce contexte, que ce n’est pas vrai que les leaders politiques ont retiré leur couverture aux miliciens et hommes armés. Ceux-ci sont encore sur le terrain et jouissent de toute sorte de protection et d’immunité. Le commandement est convaincu que chaque groupe armé à Tripoli, par exemple, dispose d’un parrainage direct ou indirect de telle ou telle personnalité influente. Preuve en est les pressions officielles et politiques exercées pour faire libérer Chadi Mawlaoui, au détriment du prestige de la justice et des services de sécurité. Prenant en compte ces réalités, le commandement refuse de transformer l’institution militaire en bouc émissaire en prévision de son expulsion de l’équation nationale. S’il est vrai que les hommes politiques sont attachés à son rôle, pourquoi ne demandent-ils pas à leurs partisans de ne plus descendre dans les rues et de ne plus utiliser leurs armes. L’armée a défini clairement les limites de son action en cette période : « Notre devoir est de protéger la stabilité politique lorsqu’elle existe. Mais ce n’est pas à nous de créer cette stabilité et nous ne pouvons pas remplacer l’absence d’une telle stabilité. Nous n’accepterons pas d’être les victimes de son absence. Aussi, la prudence dont l’armée fait preuve n’est pas un signe de faiblesse mais de responsabilité pour éviter que l’institution militaire soit la victime des conflits politiques ».

As Safir (24 mai 2012) 
Marlène Khalifé

Dans son message, au président Michel Sleiman, le roi Abdallah Ben Abdel Aziz a exprimé la préoccupation de l’Arabie saoudite vis-à-vis de la situation au Liban, de l’équilibre entre ses différentes composantes et de la reprise du dialogue entre les formations libanaise, qui constitue le garant de la stabilité dans l’avenir. Le roi d’Arabie saoudite a, en outre, fait état de sa profonde confiance en la personne du chef de l’État consensuel, Michel Sleiman. Il l’a dans ce cadre appelé à prémunir le Liban contre les clivages qui pourraient torpiller la stabilité et la paix civile au sein du pays.

En dépit du ton cordial et amical adopté dans le message, le roi ne s’est pas réservé de souligner que l’Arabie saoudite suit avec une « grande inquiétude » les évènements à Tripoli, d’autant plus que « l’une des principales communautés qui composent le tissu social libanais y est visée ». Ceci laisse entendre que « la monarchie ne se départira pas de son rôle de protecteur des musulmans », plus particulièrement, des sunnites au Liban. Le roi Abdallah a également ajouté dans son message qu’il est important pour le président libanais de distancier le Liban des conflits externes.

Cependant, contrairement à la position prise par les autres pays du Golfe, le message du roi saoudien ne s’est pas adressé aux ressortissants saoudiens leurs conseillant de quitter les territoires libanais. En effet, l’Ambassadeur saoudien au Liban, Ali Awad El-Assiri, a rassuré les Saoudiens au Liban, à travers ses déclarations quotidiennes à la presse et aux médias, afin de faire savoir que le Liban n’est pas une poche de tension, et que les touristes n’y sont pas visés par les dissensions internes. C’est dire combien l’Arabie saoudite est soucieuse de préserver le dynamisme de la saison touristique au Liban et de ne pas resserrer l’étau sur son activité économique. Dans ce contexte, le message saoudien a mis l’accent sur l’importance de cerner les conflits internes et de retourner à la table du dialogue en vue de faire prévaloir l’intérêt du Liban et de restaurer la stabilité.

As Safir (24 mai 2012)
Nabil Haitham

Selon un ténor de la majorité, le rapt des Libanais à Alep, à leur retour d’un pèlerinage en Iran, a apporté une lueur d’espoir aux Libanais. D’abord, le Hezbollah et le Mouvement Amal, en particulier Hassan Nasrallah, ont fait preuve d’une grande capacité de contenir la colère de la rue et d’empêcher tout débordement. Ensuite, l’initiative prise par Saad Hariri de contacter Nabih Berry, après une logue période de rupture, en vue de condamner l’opération d’enlèvement. Cependant, renchérit la source de la majorité, cette lueur d’espoir, ne portera ses fruits que si elle sera doublée d’actes tangibles visant à rétablir les liens entre les différentes formations politiques.

Selon la même source l’enlèvement des libanais a permis de constater ce qui suit :

– Il existe de nombreux points de similitude entre le bus des pèlerins et le bus de Aïn el-Remmané, qui fut l’étincelle de la guerre civile au Liban.

– Les groupes armés en Syrie qui prétendent aspirer aux réformes et à la liberté ne sont que des brigands qui prennent pour cible des femmes et des citoyens désarmés.

– L’incident a mis les alliés de l’opposition syrienne au Liban dans une situation embarrassante.

– Il y a une crainte d’une tentative de transmettre le conflit sectaire de la Syrie au Liban.

– Le régime d’Assad tient toujours les leviers de commande, et l’opposition est en voie d’effritement, ce qui portera les acteurs régionaux et internationaux à changer leur approche vis-à-vis de la crise syrienne.

– La politique de dissociation est la meilleure formule pour le Liban. Dans ce cadre, la même source a souligné que le roi saoudien, dans son message au président Sleiman, a encouragé le retour à la table du dialogue, exprimant en outre la nécessité pour le Liban de se mettre à l’écart des conflits externes.

As Safir (23 mai 2012)
Denise Atallah Haddad

Les incidents du Liban-Nord, de Beyrouth et d’autres régions, ont réveillé les démons de la discorde et de la guerre. La première réaction des chrétiens a été de se replier sur leurs peurs originelle. Mais ils sont revenus très vite à leurs dissensions et à leurs alliances. Pouvait-on espérer qu’ils réaliseraient la gravité du danger de miner l’idée de l’Etat ?

Un homme politique du Nord regrette l’absence de toute possibilité de dialogue entre les leaders chrétiens afin d’aboutir à des dénominateurs communs.

Une source ecclésiastique maronite estime que les dissensions interchrétiennes dépassent le cadre de la diversité et du pluralisme qui sont d’ailleurs souhaités. Les divisions sont devenues tellement profondes que les chefs chrétiens en ont perdu leur boussole. Chaque camp défend « aveuglément » son allié musulman, à tort ou à raison. Les dénominateurs communs qui devraient cristalliser des constantes indiscutables sont tombés.

Et l’évêque de poursuivre : « Les récents incidents ont ravivé les nouvelles-vieilles angoisses. Ils ont montré à quel point notre situation est fragile. Tous sont responsables de cette situation, personne ne peut prétendre à l’innocence. Autant les chrétiens que les musulmans sont moralement responsables. Nous partageons tous l’échec dans l’édification d’une patrie et d’un Etat. Nous avons entendu beaucoup de critiques sur les hommes barbus, les abaya. Mais les gens ont le droit d’exprimer par leur apparence extérieure et leurs tenues vestimentaires leurs croyances. En revanche, l’extrémisme et le fondamentalisme constituent une source d’inquiétude pour nous et pour les autres modérés. Mais ce qui fait le plus peur aux chrétiens, c’est l’apparition et l’utilisation des armes, les accusations lancées contre l’Armée libanaise et les appels à l’expulsion de la troupe de certaines régions. Ces propos sont inacceptables et contribuent à instaurer une animosité avec l’idée de l’Etat et de ses institutions. »

Qu’un évêque prenne la défense de l’institution militaire n’est pas surprenant et s’inscrit dans une logique historique. Mais tout en défendant l’armée, l’évêque critique les agissements des hommes politiques chrétiens qui ont été, selon lui, « incapables de développer un discours national et de prendre du recul pour jouer le rôle de médiateur entre les protagonistes. »

As Safir (22 mai 2012)
Imad Marmal

Le paysage qui s’est offert aux observateurs à Beyrouth, dimanche 20 mai, était surréaliste : des hommes encagoulés barrant les routes entre un poste de l’armée et une caserne des Forces de sécurité intérieur à Verdun, alors que les rues de la capitale connaissaient une situation chaotique qui aurait pu provoquer des accrochages si les partis du 8-Mars n’avaient pas pris la décision d’éviter d’être entrainés dans un conflit sunnite-chiite.

Commentant les événements des derniers jours, le président du Parlement Nabih Berry a estimé que ce sont les armes absurdes, utilisées dans des combats de rues pour effrayer les gens, qui menacent la paix civile, et non celles de la Résistance, dirigées vers Israël.

M. Berry déclare que les événements de Akkar et de Tarik Jédidé lui ont montré la pertinence de son appel à réunir la table du dialogue. Et si le dialogue avait repris, il aurait été possible d’éviter ce qui s’est produit ensuite.

Le fait que Saad Hariri et le Courant du Futur aient tenté de prendre leur distance (virtuelle) avec les groupes armés qui ont semé le désordre, signifie deux choses :

Hariri a perdu le contrôle sur sa rue et il est tellement affaibli qu’il n’a plus le pouvoir de faire ouvrir une route bloquées ou de faire cesser le feu. Les groupes islamistes sont devenus des partenaires dans la décision sur le terrain, comme cela est apparu à Tripoli, dernièrement. Les défenseurs de cette thèse soulignent à cet égard que Hariri pourraient subir le même sort que les Etats-Unis et l’Arabie saoudite, qui ont créé Al-Qaïda pour combattre l’Union soviétique, avant qu’ils ne deviennent les victimes de cette organisation.

Deuxième possibilité, Hariri a couvert ces événements pour réaliser trois buts : 1- établir une sorte d’équilibre avec les armes du Hezbollah, en instituant l’équation suivante : les armes de la banlieue sud contre celles du Liban-Nord. 2-Accentuer les pressions sur le Premier ministre Najib Mikati pour qu’il apparaisse faible et incapable devant les gens. 3-Adresser un message à l’armée afin qu’elle change son attitude sur le terrain, concernant la crise syrienne.

An Nahar (Quotidien libanais proche du 14-Mars, 25 mai 2012)
Paris, Samir Tuéni

Le chef de la diplomatie française, Laurent Fabius, s’est dit inquiet de voir la crise syrienne être importée au Liban. « Nous suivons avec une vive inquiétude les conséquences du drame syrien sur le Liban. Nous espérons que ces crispations s’apaiseront et que le drame syrien ne contaminera pas le Liban ».

Laurent Fabius a indiqué que le président russe visitera Paris le 1er juin prochain, il sera accompagné du ministre russe des Affaires étrangères, Serguei Lavrov. « Durant la visite, notre rencontre qui sera utile, nous discuterons de toute les questions, y compris certainement de la question syrienne, vu le danger que représente ce dossier, ainsi que des positions russes de ce dossier, de la mission de l’émissaire des Nations Unies et de la Ligue Arabe, Kofi Annan, et des autres initiatives relatives à ce dossier. Les discussions seront certainement utiles ».

Il a ajouté que la date de la Conférence des Amis de la Syrie qui devrait avoir lieu en France, n’a pas encore été fixée « parce que j’espère prendre bientôt contact directement avec Annan, avant de procéder à l’analyse de la situation. Il est souhaitable de tenir une conférence en vue d’avancer sur ce dossier », a-t-il conclu.

Pour sa part, le porte-parole du Quai d’Orsay, Bernard Valero a déclaré que la France se tient aux côtés des autorités libanaises dans leur volonté d’apaiser les tensions et de sauvegarder la paix civile. Il a salué le discours responsable tenu par les dirigeants libanais qui ont aussitôt adressé des messages afin de calmer le peuple libanais. La déclaration a été faite à l’issue de l’enlèvement des pèlerins libanais chiites en Syrie.

Des sources françaises ont exprimé leur préoccupation de l’escalade de l’instabilité au Liban depuis une semaine, faisant état de la conviction grandissante de la France quant au rôle joué par la Syrie dans la déstabilisation de ce pays. Les mêmes sources considèrent que le régime a tenté de profiter de cette situation pour faire passer des messages à la communauté internationale et aux acteurs régionaux, de donner un caractère confessionnel au conflit interne et de mettre l’accent sur ses dimensions régionales.

Le régime syrien serait en train de bouger ses pions sur la scène libanaise, après avoir perdu l’influence qu’il exerçait ces dernières années sur son allié le Hezbollah. Dernièrement, le Hezbollah a fait preuve d’une grande retenue face aux développements, en dépit du fait qu’il a perdu une partie de son ascendance sur la rue chiite. Ceci s’est constaté quant le Hezbollah a affiché une position neutre lorsque des éléments du Courant du futur sont intervenus à Tarik Jdidé pour faire échec à un plan entrepris par des groupes inféodés au régime syrien, visant à prendre le contrôle du quartier.

Face à la montée du rôle des organisations islamiques au sein de la communauté sunnite, le Courant du futur est appelé à faire face aux changements majeurs survenus et qui ont semé la confusion parmi les modérés et les extrémistes sunnites. En contrepartie, La position du Premier ministre Najib Mikati qui tente de contenir l’ire de sa communauté devient de plus en plus difficile et compliquée.

An Nahar (25 mai 2012)
Mazen Hayek

Les évènements sanglants qui ont secoué le Liban ces derniers jours sont plus violents et plus dangereux que le coup d’Etat du Hezbollah à Beyrouth le 7 mai 2008. Ces incidents ont porté au grand jour une nouvelle facette fondamentaliste et sectaire, bien financée et armée, qui fera contrepoids au Hezbollah, par ses extensions idéologiques et ses liens régionaux, et qui mettra le Liban face à une équation fatale, où les Libanais seront appelés à choisir entre le dangereux et le plus dangereux.

Face à l’effritement de l’Etat, toutes les composantes de la catastrophe sont combinées pour faire brandir le spectre d’une nouvelle guerre. Mais à la différence des guerres passées, cette fois aucun médiateur, parrain ou filet de sécurité ne se profile à l’horizon, et c’est la dimension sectaire qui vient supplanter le facteur confessionnel, avec tous ses résidus historiques, ses extensions idéologiques, ses liens régionaux, et ses influences géographiques. Autant de facteurs qui élèvent donc le risque de l’éruption d’une nouvelle guerre au Liban. Y aurait-t-il quelqu’un qui considère que la force des armes et les séismes régionaux pourraient être bénéfique ? Y aurait-t-il un politicien sage et modéré qui considère qu’un rôle lui sera réservé face à la montée de l’extrémisme ? Le dialogue, les concessions mutuelles, ne seraient-ils pas le meilleur moyen pour parvenir à des ententes, qui, même si ne seront pas à la hauteur de nos aspirations, seraient moins coûteuses que le prix à payer dans une guerre ?

An Nahar (24 mai 2012)
Rosanna Bou Mouncef

Les événements des dix derniers jours à Tripoli, au Akkar et à Beyrouth sont une source de vive inquiétude. Le député Walid Joumblatt espère un dialogue entre les principaux acteurs, notamment entre le président Nabih Berry et le Hezbollah d’une part, et le président Saad Hariri d’autre part. Le [r2sident du pqrti socialiste progressiste (PSP) appelle de ses vœux un dialogue conduit par le président de la République Michel Sleiman, mais reconnaît que ce ne sera pas de toute facilité, en attendant que les parties concernées soient convaincues du fait que tous les sujets sans exception doivent être mis sur la table. Il n’approuve pas l’appel du 14-Mars à la démission du gouvernement. Selon lui, en effet, ce gouvernement est irremplaçable à l’heure actuelle, et il y a donc tout lieu de craindre un vide en l’absence de tout accord sur un substitut, à moins qu’un dialogue entre les parties concernées ne conduise à un nouveau gouvernement. Selon lui, un accord minimum doit être mis en place à l’heure actuelle, portant sur l’organisation du différend ayant pour objet la crise syrienne, en dépit des points de vue divergents.

Al Akhbar (Quotidien libanais proche de la majorité, 25 mai 2012)
Hassan Olleik

L’affrontement dû à une affaire de cœur à Hamra, mercredi soir, a duré huit heures et a fait deux morts et dix blessés. La folie ne s’arrête pas là. Un des morts et une des personnes arrêtées étaient des activistes dans les rangs d’Al-Qaïda. La première surprise vient du nom de la personne arrêtée : Hani el-Chanti. Elément important de la « cellule des 13 », liée à Abou Massaab Zerquaoui et qui était dirigée par l’ancien émir d’Al-Qaïda en Syrie, le Libanais Hassan Nabaa. Un autre membre de ce groupe, le saoudien Fayçal Akbar, avait avoué être impliqué dans l’assassinat de l’ancien Premier ministre Rafic Hariri, au niveau de la planification et de l’exécution. C’était aux premiers jours de 2006. Puis en présence d’enquêteurs de la section des renseignements des FSI, il s’était rétracté et avait changé sa déposition pour des raisons qui restent inconnues. El-Chanti est l’un des plus proches amis de Khaled Taha, qui seraient impliqué dans la disparition d’Ahmad Abou Adas, le jeune palestinien qui a revendiqué l’attentat contre Hariri. El-Chanti a passé cinq années en prison. Dès qu’il a été blessé dans l’accrochage et arrêté par l’armée, mercredi, il a décliné son identité. Lors de l’interrogatoire préliminaire, il a raconté qu’il avait fait de la prison pour terrorisme. Les militaires ont senti une poussée d’adrénaline et ont appelé des renforts « qualitatifs », puis ont pris d’assaut l’appartement où étaient retranchés les hommes armés. Ils y ont découvert un Syrien appelé Yaman Mounzer Sleimani, né en 1984. Il y a quatre ans, ce dernier avait été arrêté au Liban pour falsification de passeports. Le jeune homme avait des liens avec Al-Qaïda. Il avait été recruté en 2007 par un adjoint du cheikh syrien Mahmoud Ghoul Aghassi, qui avait été assassiné devant sa mosquée à Alep la même année. Cette année-là, le nom de Sleimani était apparu dans l’affaire d’un groupe tchétchène affilié à Al-Qaïda dans un Etat du Golfe. Il avait été arrêté, interrogé, jugé, puis libéré le 21 décembre 2008. Cependant, il n’a pas été expulsé. Personne ne sait pourquoi.

Al Akhbar (24 mai 2012)

L’Arabie saoudite envisage de rappeler son ambassadeur à Beyrouth et de nommer un autre diplomate à sa place. Ali Awad el-Assiri a, semble-t-il, accompli la tâche pour laquelle il était venu au Liban : mobiliser les mouvements salafistes. Quelqu’un d’autre doit en exploiter les résultats. Le Royaume a semé le salafisme au Liban et le temps de la récolte est venu.

Al Akhbar (24 mai 2012)
Jean Aziz

Les chrétiens de l’opposition ont toujours cru qu’un inconnu tenterait d’assassiner un de leurs ténors. Mais ils n’auraient jamais imaginé qu’ils seraient assassinés tous par un allié. Voilà dans quelle situation ils se trouvent ces jours-ci. Preuve en est leur silence éloquent et la distance qu’ils ont pris des développements graves qui ont frappé de plein fouet les slogans et les discours sur lesquels ils misaient beaucoup.

Ce qu’il y a de pire dans l’assassinat des chrétiens de l’opposition, c’est qu’il a été commis par des tirs amis ; qu’il a eu lieu dans un timing qui a fait beaucoup de dégâts ; enfin, qu’il s’agissait d’un assassinat collectif, qui a touché toutes leurs composantes.

Il suffit de se remémorer les slogans électoraux brandis par les chrétiens de l’opposition à la face de leurs adversaires, et vérifier ce qu’il en reste aujourd’hui, pour réaliser à quel point ils sont dans l’embarras. Le premier slogan concerne la Syrie. Ils ont mobilisé autour du refus de la tutelle syrienne, accusé Damas de continuer à tenir les rênes politiques et sécuritaires au Liban, et ont assuré que les aiguilles de la montre ne reculeront pas … Aujourd’hui, leur principal allié, le Courant du futur, vit en symbiose avec les « révolutionnaires de Burhane Ghalioun ». La Syrie sombre dans une guerre civile absurde, marquée par des actes terroristes et du sang qui coule à flot. Brandir la menace du régime syrien pour faire peur aux chrétiens est terminé.

Autre slogan exploité pendant des années pour effrayer les chrétiens est celui des armes du Hezbollah, du projet du parti, de la Wilayat al-Faqih, du croissant chiite, du rattachement à I’Iran… Subitement, et en l’espace de quelques jours, les alliés des chrétiens de l’opposition ont montré une image pire, à Tarik Jdidé, Verdun, Kandahar-Tripoli, Tora Bora-Akkar : chaos, désordre, armes. La rue chrétienne proche de l’opposition a été choquée par ces scènes. Comment peut-on encore leur faire peur avec les armes du Hezbollah, qui n’apparaissent que sur quelques clips d’al-Manar, après ce qu’ils ont vu chez leurs alliés ?

Al-Joumhouria (Quotidien libanais proche du 14-Mars)
Paris, Georges Sassine

Les milieux dirigeants en Europe ont perdu espoir de voir la Russie changer de position sur le dossier syrien, et ont commencé une autocritique qui englobe des aspects de la propagande politique. Certains centres de décision en Europe ont été atteints de déprime après l’annonce de la composition du nouveau gouvernement russe, surtout que Sergueï Lavrov reste à la tête du ministère des Affaires étrangères. Les Européens sont maintenant convaincus et résignés qu’aucun changement dans les stratégies de Moscou est possible, dans les dossiers syrien, irakien et iranien.

Les milieux européens qui procèdent à une autocritique ne sont pas surpris pas cet état de déprime, car il est dû à des positions idéologiques qui priment sur les considérations stratégiques lesquelles dictent l’attitude de la Russie. Surtout que Moscou a une grande expérience dans la confrontation avec les groupes extrémistes en Tchétchénie, en Afghanistan, du temps de l’Union soviétique, lorsqu’Al-Qaïda était considérée comme un bras exécutant la politique des Etats-Unis.

Par ailleurs, les positions européennes étaient bâties sur des conclusions erronées, présentées par des experts qui ont procédé à une mauvaise lecture. Ils ont ainsi minimisé le rôle de la Syrie sur l’échiquier régional et international ; ils ont estimé que l’alliance russo-syrienne est une relation passagère entre deux oligarchies ; que les Syriens n’apprécient pas les Russes ; ils ont travaillé sur le slogan que les Russes participent au massacre du peuple syrien ; ils disaient que Vladimir Poutine est induit en erreur par Bachar al-Assad ; que le port de Tartous n’a pas de réelle importance stratégique.

Mais les positions de la Russie étaient dictées par de toutes autres considérations. Moscou refuse d’une manière catégorique, dorénavant, que des régimes hostiles à l’Occident soient renversés de force. De même que la relation militaire entre la Russie et Damas est très ancienne. Les trois-quarts des dirigeants militaires syriens parlent le russe, qu’ils ont appris en Union soviétique ou dans les anciennes Républiques soviétiques. Ensuite, cent mille russes sont installés en Syrie et ils transmettent à leur pays les vraies informations sur ce qui se passe. Aussi, il est difficile pour le commandement syrien de fournir des données erronées à son allié. Enfin, Tartous est le dernier et seul port d’attache pour la flotte russe en Méditerranée.

Source: Réseau Voltaire

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

West’s Houla Syria Narrative Crumbles, Expels Syrian Diplomats Anyway

UN admits almost all of the 108 killed in Houla were killed at close range by militants, not Syrian soldiers firing artillery. By Tony Cartalucci

May 29, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — – The UN according to Associated Press, has stated that, “most of the 108 victims of a massacre in [Houla] Syria last week were shot at close range, some of them women, children and entire families gunned down in their own homes.” The UN has also stated that militants, not Syrian soldiers, were responsible for the massacre. The report cites “witness accounts” claiming the militants were “pro-government thugs known as shabiha,” while the Syrian government has claimed the militants were foreign-backed armed terrorists.

 

This stands in stark contrast to the original narrative the US, UK, France and other NATO members have used to accuse the Syrian government for the atrocities, and even as the basis to expel Syrian diplomatsAs stated by UK Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, (emphasis added) “We are appalled at what appears to be credible reports that the Syrian regime has been responsible for the deaths of 92 civilians in Houla, including 32 children. The UN Head of Mission has been able to confirm the numbers and also that artillery tank shells have been used. If this is the case then it’s an act of pure, naked savagery and we condemn it in the most strongest possible terms.”

Video: UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt peddling what is now a confirmed fabrication, told for days to the public as the West maneuvered to leverage it against the Syrian government. The UN has now confirmed that artillery fired by government troops were not responsible for the massacre, and instead carried out by unidentified militants. Despite this, the UK has failed to retract earlier accusations and has instead expelled Syrian diplomats in an increasingly dangerous, irrational, aggressive posture. 

….

Clearly Burt was not reading credible reports, nor has he or his government made any credible attempts to retract their earlier accusations now confirmed to be fabrications. Instead, what the West has done, is distort each new piece of actual evidence that emerges, as the Syrian government and their Russian counterparts struggle to objectively ascertain what happened in Houla, Syria. An example of this comes from the Guardian, who contradicting its own earlier reports, began citing “witness” accounts admittedly provided by Syrian opposition leaders and seemingly custom-tailored to refute the latest evidence presented by Russia before the UN Security Council.

At the moment, only Russia has observed that not enough evidence exists to blame either side, and insists that “the blame must be determined objectively.” Paradoxically, the West, who justifies its global interventions and institutions via “international rule of law,” seems intent on trying, convicting, and executing the Syrian government as quickly as possible, seemingly desperate to do so exactly before “blame can be determined objectively.”Atrocities Made to Order

How Wall Street & London Manufacture Tragedy to Sell War & Regime Change.By Tony Cartalucci 

May 29, 2012 – In the wake of the Houla massacre in Syria, and evidence exposing the West’s initial narrative of Syrian troops “shelling to death” around 100 people to be categorically false, people are struggling to understand just what happened. The Guardian has chosen to post unverified witness accounts produced by the Free Syrian Army, seemingly custom tailored to refute evidence brought by Russia to the UN Security Council. The BBC has admitted that only “most” of the accounts they’ve received implicated what they “believe” were Syrian troops, or pro-government militias – and by doing so, imply that some did not and have told a different account.

As the window of opportunity closes for the West to exploit the bloodshed at Houla, the Western media is increasingly backpedaling, retracting, and being caught in a crossfire of their own lies and propagandizing. BBC was caught initially using years’ old photos from Iraq for their Houla coverage, while papers and networks across the board have had to adjust their narratives entirely as each new piece of verified evidence emerges.

What is known is that Syrian troops were engaged with armed militants of the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) in and around Houla. Syrian troops, as they have been doing throughout the conflict, were using artillery and tanks to target heavily fortified rebel positions from a distance. During or shortly after this exchange, militants began entering homes and killing families with knives and small arms fire. The FSA and Syrian opposition claim the militants were pro-government militias while the government claims they were foreign-backed Al Qaeda terrorists, known to be operating throughout the country. What they weren’t, by all accounts, were Syrian troops.

A recent “editorial” out of the Globe and Mail claims that Russia’s position that opposition forces were involved in the massacre is “laughable.” However, this is divorced from not only reality, but also from a complete understanding of modern 4th generation warfare. From Venezuela to Thailand, Western backed opposition groups have triggered unrest and used it as cover to pick off members of their own movement, to then blame on the targeted government and compound any given conflict until a critical mass is reached, and a targeted government is toppled..

A Historical Example: Bangkok, Thailand 2010 

Wall Street-backed former-Thai Prime Minsiter Thaksin Shinawatra, a close associate of the Bush family with connections ranging from before, during, and after his term in office, was ousted from power in 2006 by nationalist forces for abuses of power. Thaksin had worked as a Carlyle Group adviser, sent Thai troops to aid in Bush’s invasion of Iraq, attempted to implement a free trade agreement with Wall Street’s Fortune 500without parliamentary approval, hosted CIA torture facilities, and prosecuted a “war on drugs” that saw some2,500 Thais extra-legally executed in the streets, most of whom were later determined to have nothing to do with the drug trade.

Since his ousting in 2006, he has received support from a myriad of prominent US lobbying firms including fellow Carlyle member James Baker and Baker Botts, Bush administration warmonger Robert Blackwill ofBarbour Griffith & Rogers, and Neo-Conservative PNAC signatory Kenneth Adelman of Edelman. 

With this backing, Thaksin has led an increasingly violent bid to return to power through a “red” color revolution constituting of a large political machine operating in Thailand’s northeast provinces and a personality cult called the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD).

In April of 2010, Thaksin mobilized thousands of UDD members to paralyze Thailand’s capital of Bangkok in retaliation to a court seizure of billions of his ill-gotten assets. On the night of April 10, 2010, when riot troops moved in to disperse the protesters, militants clad in black opened fire on Thai troops.

Page 62 of Human Rights Watch’s “Descent into Chaos (.pdf)” report stated:

“As the army attempted to move on the camp, they were confronted by well-armed men who fired M16 and AK-47 assault rifles at them, particularly at the Khok Wua intersection on Rajdamnoen Road. They also fired grenades from M79s and threw M67 hand grenades at the soldiers. News footage and videos taken by protesters and tourists show several soldiers lying unconscious and bleeding on the ground, as well as armed men operating with a high degree of coordination and military skills.”

HRW, an otherwise dubious organization, only conceded to this a full year after the events unfolded and only in the face of irrefutable photographic and video evidence captured and broadcasted by both professional and amateurs local and foreign journalists. This included videos and photos of militants armed with both AK-47′s and M-16′s. Previously, Thaksin’s Western backers and his opposition leaders had tried to blame all deaths resulting from the M-16′s 5.56mm rounds squarely on the Thai military, including the high-profile death of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto. With proof that opposition militants were also firing 5.56mm rounds, this political leverage was negated.

However, the most chilling aspect of the April 10, 2010 violence was an incident involving the premeditated murder of a pro-Thaksin protester by Thaksin’s own mercenaries – recorded on tape and extensively photographed, then shamelessly and relentlessly used as propaganda to this very day. The incident took place on April 10, 2010, the same night Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto was killed, and gives us immense insight into how Western-backed unrest will take advantage of chaos it itself creates to then purposefully kill both protesters and government troops to escalate tensions and violence while undermining the legitimacy of a targeted government.

In a YouTube video (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) recorded by Thaksin propagandists, protesters can be seen facing off against troops to the left of the screen with other protesters seeking cover as fire is exchanged between militants and troops. In the center of the frame, a very conspicuous man is seen carrying a tall red flag with his attention fixated on men directing him into position. He moves in steps, almost as if posing for a picture with his attention focused on the men directing him. Behind him, with his hat turned backwards, appears to be a spotter shadowing the flagman’s moves and flashing a series of hand signals to the men on the left directing the flagman.



Images: Frames taken from the video with annotations describe the events that unfolded shortly before and directly after Thaksin mercenaries intentionally killed one of their own protesters. The final image eventually made it onto the cover of Thaksin propaganda magazine, “Voice of Taksin.” (click images to enlarge)

….

Men in the upper left of the screen can be seen waving the flagman into position as they tell other protesters to “get down” before a shot is fired taking off the top of the man’s skull. As protesters panic and run off camera, the spotter moving with the flagman calmly stands above the dead man and waves in a photographer who takes the infamous pictures that would soon be featured on the cover of Thaksin’s propaganda publication, the “Voice of Taksin.” It must be remembered that the video camera was fixated on this otherwise insignificant flagman the entire time leading up to the gruesome event, to specifically capture the entire, premeditated murder.


Image: A censored version of the very explicit “special” cover of Thaksin propaganda magazine, “Voice of Taksin,” featuring a man killed not even a minute ago. The flag he was conspicuously waving just moments before lays across his chest and was most likely handed to him to aid mercenary snipers in targeting him. The original cover with translations can be found here. (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC.) The editor of “Voice of Taksin” has since been arrested and imprisoned for his role in the 2010 violence – however Western “human rights” fronts including US-funded Prachatai maintain that he is a “political prisoner” and a “human rights activist.” Note: on the bottom of the magazine cover a “free” CD is offered featuring video of the gruesome staged murder of this unfortunate man.

….

This horrific, cold-blooded demonstration of the callous, murderous nature of these so-called “pro-democracy” movements sowing chaos from Tunisia to Thailand, and certainly including Syria, illustrates the full depths of depravity from which the global elite and their proxies operate. Behind the thin veneer of revolutionary “singing tomorrows” is a heartless, craven killing machine as eager to dispose of its most adamant supporters as it is inclined to eliminate its most reviled opponents. What was just described has played out not only repeatedly in Thailand, but all across North Africa and the Middle East as well as during previous attempts by the West to oust Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Back to Syria

The Free Syrian Army has been regularly engaging in armed combat with government troops and now more than ever, are better equipped with communication equipment, weapons, cash and logistical support from the West and the Gulf States. Just as Thaksin’s gunmen were able to draw Thai troops into a conflict used as cover to commit manufactured atrocities to be used as propaganda against the Thai government, militants in Syria have already demonstratively employed similar tactics. In 2011, “mystery gunmen” would regularly start firefights during protest rallies identical to the one in Bangkok, firing on both Syrian troops and protesters,with both sides describing elusive “rooftop snipers.”

Houla appears to simply be on a much larger scale, involving militants most likely not affiliated with local FSA fighters or the Syrian government, but foreign elements just as the Syrian government has claimed. Just as in Bangkok where protesters were taken as much by surprise as Thai troops at the arrival of Thaksin’s militants, FSA fighters, Houla residents, and Syrian troops all seem baffled as to who exactly committed the atrocities.

And amongst all the finger pointing, it is the politically-motivated haste by the US, UK, France, Israel, and the Muslim Brotherhood to condemn the massacre, baselessly blame the Syrian government, and cry in unison for military intervention that is by far the most incriminating evidence yet as to who was really behind the bloodbath. Cui Bono? To whose benefit? NATO and its Middle Eastern proxies have made it abundantly clear it was to their benefit.

Clearly there is the distinct possibility that a third party took advantage of a prolonged engagement between the FSA and government troops in Houla, to manufacture a very real atrocity. With so few facts in hand, it would be the height of irresponsibility to lay blame on anyone so squarely that punitive actions are leveled.  So while the Globe and Mail berates Russia for suggesting that “the blame must be determined objectively,” it is by far, without debate, the most sensible course of action to take. If the West laments the distrust it now suffers, it has only itself, and its long history of running death squads in exactly this manner, to blame.Tony Cartalucci at Land Destroyer

http://www.lobelog.com/former-top-israeli-spy-chief-attacking-iran-‘could-accelerate-the-procurement-of-the-bomb’/

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Understanding the Propaganda War Against Syria

Rape and Torture: Weapons in the Propaganda War.

Rape and torture have become standard issue in the propaganda arsenal of Western media.  Reports from organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council that claim to document the systematic use of rape and torture by the “enemies” of the West have become usual fair in the soft war against whomever the imperialists have chosen to attack.  We have seen these claims used to legitimize aggression against Libya, Iraq, and now Syria.
In an article published in The Telegraph, the author cleverly uses a quote from a Deputy Director at Human Rights Watch making a general statement about the use of rape in detention facilities in order to humiliate, degrade and instill fear.  However, he makes no direct reference to Syria, though the article clearly attempts to draw that abstract connection.  In fact, as one reads further, the claims of rape and torture at the hands of Syrian security forces come from “activists” (the usual anonymous term applied to any quotable voice parroting the Western talking points regarding Assad and the regime) who have fled Syria.  In fact, the so-called activists are, in many cases, wanted terrorists who have fled Syria not in fear of persecution but for fear of being brought to justice for their crimes.
It is significant to note that, even with the obvious bias from the “eyewitnesses” and the authors of the article, there is still no mention of actual Syrian forces engaging in these actions. Instead, it is all chalked up to “militias loyal to the Assad regime”, an important distinction which goes conveniently understated.  In fact, the only mention of “security forces” involved in this sort of behavior is added in brackets by the authors of the article themselves.  This shows how the Western media constantly manipulate quotes and facts in order to shape them to fit the narrative that the Western propagandists want.
The Precedent of Libya
In the run-up to the imperialist aggression against Libya last year, the lie that Gaddafi forces were using rape as a weapon was planted in the public mind, so as to legitimize the obvious warmongering of the West, providing NATO the human rights cover they so desperately needed for their “intervention”.  Of course, as is so often the case, the fact that these claims were later proven untrue went conveniently missing from the standard narrative.  But, by the time the myth was debunked, the PR damage was done: Gaddafi was a monster, the Benghazi “rebels” and NTC were heroic freedom fighters, and Libya was in dire need of the benevolent bombs of NATO.
Almost as important as the content of the claims, was the nature of who made them.  The UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and countless other organizations which are dependent on funding from the US and its allies lent credence to such charges, providing an air of legitimacy to claims which, otherwise, would have been dismissed as little more than NATO propaganda.  In this way, these organizations are complicit in the instigation of war and the devastation wrought on Libya.
The charges of rape and the systematic distribution of Viagra to Gaddafi forces served another crucial function: they framed the conflict in the public mind to be one between good and evil, rather than between government and rebel terrorists.  This is a very significant manipulation because, in order to shape public opinion in favor of war, the forces of Western imperialism needed more than simply a justification, they required an emotional appeal: one that relied not on violence and warfare aimed at fighters, but one that was aimed at the most defenseless, women and children.
Iraq: Torture Prisons and Incubator Babies
Libya was not the first example of this sort manipulation for the purposes of legitimizing US aggression.  One of the most well-documented instances of this blatantly false propaganda was the lead-up to the first and second Iraq Wars.  George H.W. Bush utilized the completely fictional story of Iraqi soldiers barbarically killing Kuwaiti babies in incubators in order to justify the US aggression against Saddam Hussein in 1991.  This claim, now totally debunked, painted Saddam as a vicious barbarian who craved death and torture for their own sake.  This dehumanization of the enemy and the subsequent emotional and visceral response from the public, allowed Bush to launch his aggressive war.  Moreover, this episode illustrated plainlythe complicity of Amnesty International and similar “watchdogs” in selling war.
Like his father before him, George W. Bush employed the very same tactics to unleash the death and destruction of the second Iraq War.  His administration claimed that Saddam ran a series of torture prisons, a fact that, though possibly true, was simply used to justify the aggression against Iraq for the sake of corporate profits and asserting US hegemony in the Middle East.
The hypocrisy of these claims should not be lost on any political observer.  Within a short time of deposing Saddam Hussein, the United States had established its own series of “black site” torture prisons, of which Abu Ghraib was only the tip of the iceberg.  Reports of US military, CIA, and Blackwater using torture on Iraqis began becoming more and more common until it had become quite clear that the United States was systematically torturing prisoners, precisely the claim that was leveled against the “barbaric” Saddam.
Syria: The Next Casualty of Propaganda War
The use of rape and torture lies for propaganda purposes serve a very specific function: they create a climate conducive to war-making when a government has successfully resisted all other attempts at subversion and destabilization.  Like the Gaddafi government last year, Assad’s government has managed to stay in power in the face of a multi-faceted, international war being waged against it from all sides.  Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of the Washington imperialist warmongers are incensed that Assad has not yet fallen and that their terrorist proxies have been unequivocal failures.  So, they turn to their most effective weapon: lies.  As we’ve seen in recent days with the Houla massacre, the Western media, as a mouthpiece for US-NATO propaganda, has launched an all-out media campaign of lies to convince the public that Assad is a heartless, inhuman butcher.  The claims that Syrian military forces were responsible for the horrendous massacre have been refuted and debunkedcountless times, so much so that even the Western media has had to recast the narrative, constantly changing it in the face of evidence to the contrary.
Whatever claims of rape and torture that might be true are likely being committed at the hands of the armed terrorist “opposition” in Syria.  If we are to believe that there actually are eyewitnesses to these acts, as claimed in the above mentioned London Telegraph article, then it is clear these acts are being carried out by these militias who have no connection to the Syrian government or to the Syrian people and are part of the international subversion campaign.  These death squads, like their antecedents in Central America and Iraq, are trained by the West and its proxies in the Middle East because the imperialists know that they cannot otherwise execute their agenda.
It is necessary and, in fact, essential for the United States and its allies to wage this propaganda war.  Without it, rationality and sound political thinking might sway public opinion away from war and back to the idea that Syria belongs to Syrians.  This basic conception completely derails the entire drive for war, preventing Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the United States from imposing their will on the people of Syria and continuing their imperialist domination of the region.
 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Lines in shifting sands: Russia’s response to the Syrian uprising

Russian policy in the Middle East has been largely driven by pragmatic calculations of trade and geopolitical influence, in direct opposition to notions of liberal interventionalism and the ‘Arab Spring’. This week’s shocking massacre by Syrian forces in Houla, however, has fundamentally challenged the durability of that approach. Will Russia now fall in line with the position of its western partners? wonders Margot Light.

About the author
Margot Light is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at the Department of International Relations of the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an expert on post-Soviet politics, and is a regular commentator and featured expert on both radio and television.

This has been a bad week for the Russian government. After months of agreeing with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad that the opposition was responsible for the continuing violence, Russia’s representative to the United Nations was forced to accept evidence that Syrian government forces were guilty of attacking a residential area of Houla  with close-range artillery and tank shells, causing the death of more than100 men, women and children. The UN Security Council (UNSC) issued a press statement — which requires the agreement of all 15 members — condemning the outrageous use of force against civilians which violated international law and the commitments given by the Syrian government under previous UN resolutions to stop all violence, including the use of heavy weapons in populated areas.

‘When Putin became president of Russia in 2000, he began to pursue quite clear goals in the Middle East. They included regaining some of the influence the Soviet Union had wielded and expanding Russia’s share of Middle Eastern markets.’

It seemed for a while that Russia’s attitude had moved a little closer to the position of western countries. However, by the next day the Russian government had backtracked, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisting that both sides were to blame. Why has Russian policy towards Syria been so much at odds with western policy?

Putin’s Middle East policy

When Putin became president of Russia in 2000, he began to pursue quite clear goals in the Middle East. They included regaining some of the influence the Soviet Union had wielded and expanding Russia’s share of Middle Eastern markets. Russian policy also aimed at ensuring stability in an area which – because of its close proximity to Russia’s southern neighbours — is deemed to affect the security of Russia itself. Russia has been thwarted in achieving these goals by western policy and by the ‘Arab spring’.

Iraq and Syria were two of the fourteen countries with which the Soviet Union concluded treaties of Friendship and Cooperation in the 1970s. Although they had often been uneasy relationships, one way in which Russia hoped to regain influence in the Middle East was by reviving relations with these traditional Soviet allies. Russia could not prevent the attack on Iraq or the fall of Saddam Hussein, and this demonstrated how little influence Moscow really had in the Middle East. It has been determined to avert President Bashar al-Assad succumbing to a similar fate, which would further undermine Russian influence in the area. In fact, if Russia were successful in brokering a deal to bring the conflict to a peaceful end, its continued influence in Syria would be assured and, at the same time, its international prestige would be boosted more generally.

Russia_veto

The geopolitical and economic significance of the Middle East for Russia have led its diplomats to twice veto UN Security Council resolutions on Syria (photo: flickr.com/freedomhouse)

 

 

 

As for the goal of expanding Russia’s share of Middle Eastern markets, it has also not been very successful. First, the Iraqi war scuppered all hopes of Russia receiving repayment of the $8 billion Iraqi Soviet-era debt. It also brought an end to the ten-year programme for the Development of Trade, Economic, Industrial and Scientific-Technical Cooperation that Russia had negotiated with Iraq, and was said to be worth $40 billion. Second, when the Libyan uprising began, Russia supported Security Council Resolution 1970 calling for an arms embargo on Tripoli – at an estimated economic cost of $4 billion in interrupted and lost contracts. Muammar Gaddafi’s fall from power inflicted a fatal blow to Russia’s commercial relations with Libya. The economic policy of the new Libyan government would almost certainly favour the countries that had facilitated its victory at the expense of existing and future contracts with Russian firms.

Russia’s economic ties with Syria are more valuable than those with Libya. Syria is an important customer for Russian arms. In 2010 alone, some US$15 billion of contracts were negotiated, and exports are expected to stay at a level of US$10 billion a year until at least 2014.  There are also valuable energy links: Gazprom, Tatneft and Stroytransgaz have significant energy exploration and pipeline projects in Syria. Moscow believes that these valuable economic links would be jeopardized if President Bashar al-Assad were to lose power. 

‘Russia could not prevent the attack on Iraq or the fall of Saddam Hussein, and this demonstrated how little influence Moscow really had in the Middle East.  It has been determined to avert President Bashar al-Assad succumbing to a similar fate, which would further undermine Russian influence in the area.’

In Moscow’s view, the ‘Arab spring’ undermined the stability of an area which was already potentially very volatile, given the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the danger that western animosity towards Iran would culminate in armed conflict. The attack by Syrian government forces on refugee camps across the Turkish border last month and sectarian clashes in Lebanon last week demonstrate just how important Syria is to regional stability. Syrian stability is, Moscow believes, vital to Middle East stability. But Russia is concerned not just about the stability of the region. Syrian security is important because Syria is essential to Moscow’s military strategy. Russia relies heavily on its naval base at the Mediterranean port of Tartus and associated assets at Latakia.

Although events in the Middle East have largely been responsible for the difficulties Russia has had in achieving these three goals, Moscow blames western policy for getting in its way. 

The different principles underlying Western and Russian foreign policy

Apart from the ways in which western policies have prevented Russia from achieving its specific Middle Eastern goals, Russian policy is frequently at odds with western policy simply because the ideas about international relations on which western countries and Russia base their policy are very different. Indeed, they are often incompatible. 

Ever since the end of the Cold War, western foreign policy (in particular American policy) has been based on the principles of liberal internationalism. This is a doctrine that argues that liberal states should intervene in other sovereign states in order to pursue liberal objectives. Such intervention can include both military invasion and humanitarian aid and it frequently implies regime change.

Since President Putin became president of Russia, by contrast, geopolitical realism has predominated in Russian foreign policy thinking.  This means that the highest value is accorded to the preservation of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence and the most important principle of international law is held to be the principle of non-intervention. Moscow objects most strongly to policies that are undertaken with a view to bringing about regime change. 

‘Russian policy is frequently at odds with western policy simply because theideas about international relations on which western countries and Russia base their policy are very different.  Indeed, they are often incompatible.’

President Putin, in particular, believes that when Russia abstained from voting on resolution 1973, thus tacitly agreeing to the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, it was conned by western countries into accepting regime change, since the coalition enforcing it (in effect, NATO) immediately began exceeding the terms of the resolution.  Not surprisingly, given that they explicitly called for Bashar al-Assad’s resignation, Moscow has twice vetoed UNSC resolutions on Syria. 

Putin_Asad_blood

A placard at an oppostion rally, depicting Vladimir Putin feeding Bashar Assad with their blood. As arguably the most influential foreign power in the region, Russia’s realpolitik approach has not been without its critics (photo: flickr.com/freedomhouse)

 

 

On the other hand, Moscow supported Kofi Annan’s peace plan because it called for political negotiation and demanded that both the government and the opposition should cease using armed violence.  Despite constant evidence that its terms were being breached, Russia has continued to support the plan and to resist any attempt to set, as Lavrov’s put it, ‘ultimatums and artificial deadlines’.

Conclusion

The shock of the massacre in Houla may well mean that Russia will attempt to put more pressure on the Syrian government.  But this is not the first time that Bashar al-Assad and his government forces have shocked and embarrassed the Russians and Russia has certainly made frequent strenuous efforts to persuade Assad to fulfill the obligations entailed by the Annan plan. The chances are that Assad has shown himself as impervious to Russian appeals as his father was to Soviet pressure in the 1970s and 1980s. And although Moscow has recently appeared to begin to seriously consider the possibility of Assad’s early departure, it will have to be a departure to which he himself agrees, because Russia will not support demands for him to relinquish power. Nor will Moscow assent to arming the opposition or agree to foreign military intervention in Syria.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/margot-light/lines-in-shifting-sands-russia%E2%80%99s-response-to-syrian-uprising

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

SYRIA’S ATAMANS

Atamanschina” is a Russian word that translates to “time of the atamans.” It refers to the period of the Russian Civil War when anti—Bolshevik Cossack bands — led by their “atamans” — dominated large swaths of Siberia with Japanese backing. These bands’ “anti—Bolshevik” campaigns were characterized mainly by pogroms against local populations and systematic extortion of refugees.

While Syria’s opposition — in larger part due to international (in)action — faces these pitfalls at present, it is Damascus’s forces that bear the greatest resemblance to these long—dead atamans. Despite the under—strength, under—armed and sometimes brutal actions of the anti—Assad armed opposition, the Assad regime already has its own Cossack hosts, in the form of its shabiha paramilitaries, and its most trusted atamans are the Syrian President’s relatives.

The dissent Yassin al—Haj Saleh notes that this relationship is termed “al—salbata” in Syrian Arabic, and “is a uniquely Syrian term for the way in which state authority is exercised in Assad’s Syria: It is an amalgamation of salab (looting or plundering), labat (the act of knocking someone down) and tasallut (the unfettered exercise of power).” Alongside it is the phrase “al—taballi … roughly equivalent to ‘informing,’” which “means falsely accusing a person of doing something for which they will pay a heavy price.” Such statements often mean a one—way trip to the torture chambers run by a counter—intelligence obsessed regime. The Syrian national security establishment is led by minority officers, and have long been dependent on brute force and extortion to maintain order. Their strongest supporters are those who’ve most benefitted from official largesse — from institutionalized discrimination and extraction, that is — and they must hope that those who haven’t benefitted remain cowed and distrustful of an armed opposition with Islamist and (other) foreign influences. It is, increasingly, a losing bet.

So far, it has worked within Syria. The Syrian Army, despite its setbacks and fear of defeat, continues to hold or contest the main population centers. Defections are reportedly limited, and the regime’s forces are (usually) better—armed and possess numerical superiority over their opponents. And the Ba’athist repressive machine still operates on a national scale. The fact that Syria has not collapsed entirely is, according to Peter Harling and Sarah Birke, is because overall, the opposition’s “efforts are what have kept society together, despite a growing and worrying pattern of confessional, criminal and revenge—inspired violence” — that is, most activists’ refusal to play ataman themselves along the lines Yassin al—Haj Saleh has documented.

And most importantly, no single unified force exists domestically to organize resistance to Assad. Some of the severely divided opposition groups that exist, inside or outside of Syria, armed and not, have so far failed to secure support for direct foreign military intervention as occurred in Libya last year despite their lobbying for it.

Unlike Assad, who aside from Iranian largesse (and Russo—Chinese diplomacy) depends mainly on foreign inaction to stay in power, the armed opposition grows desperate for direct foreign assistance from NATO and the GCC. In the West, for some observers it is only a matter of time until the Iranian elephant in the CENTCOM situation room is cited to massively increase assistance to anti—regime militias, with all parties seeking out their favored agents of influence. Tokyo threw money, advisors and arms at its favored Siberian proxies — so too will the US and Saudi Arabia.

A political solution cannot occur without a military one, but a military solution alone — one that does nothing to address the constant disruptions of ordinary life, at the very least — does not guarantee stability or security, even in the short term.

While armed Sunni companies kitted out with the latest MILAN anti—tank missiles and liaising with officers from, hypothetically, SOCOM or the Saudi National Guard, may be able to fight better against Assad, the temptation for such groups to increasingly rely on their foreign support to supplant the state’s forces as the powers—that—be will be great. People could be effectively trading one national dictatorship for local ones when such armed bands roll into town.

However, for many Syrians this is a purely academic consideration. Support for the armed opposition, or direct intervention from, say, the Turkish Army, would be more than acceptable. It could mean an end to the shelling, torture and sniping carried out by Assad’s forces in their towns. It could mean the possibility of averting another Houla massacre — the recent murder of almost 100 Syrian civilians, reportedly by Alawite shabiha, in villages near Homs — that are regularly occurring throughout the country. Worrying over the SNC and Muslim Brotherhood’s bickering, Kurdish separatism and the machinations of Iraqi opportunists in Al Anbar, comes far behind the urgency of not being shot at while crossing the street, or finding ways to get local life return to some semblance of normalcy: food deliveries, electricity access, restoration of sanitation services.

But if NATO and the GCC members really did desire to give Syrians the space in which to advance their own self—determination, their civilian leaders would have prioritized far sooner offering international aid to the Syrian populace where and when they can. Factionalism within the Syrian political opposition is exacerbated by wartime exigencies — opposition councils in Syrian cities must manage much with very little while groping towards a cohesive national resistance. With clearer non—military logistical and diplomatic support, presented as fait accomplis to Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Yang Jiechi — Assad’s two greatest international assets right now — as the last stop before providing military support to anti—regime militias, the “Friends of Syria” would had a stronger hand to push the Assad regime’s supporters to chose among desertion, defection or defiance. Now, the US is trying to push a “Yemeni” outcome as the UN Supervision Mission looks even more irrelevant. It could be possible to avert “ten years” of festering civil war by pushing that choice. By making it so that it is not only a choice between a President Bashar al Assad or a General Mustafa al—Sheikh. But as the Dubai School of Government’s Fadi Salem noted, “‘The world’ does not exist. Individual powers have conflicting interests on Syria. The humanitarian lens doesn’t apply.”

The Independent’s Musa Okwonga likewise noted this weekend, despite “widespread knowledge of atrocities,” “vested interests keep the slaughter going.” That is the primary risk of escalating Syria’s proxy battles along existing ethno—sectarian fault lines. And should foreign support dry up and the anti—regime militias lose support among Syrians, then initiative may return to the Assads. When you eliminate all the alternatives, you are left with only one victorious force. In Russia, that was the Bolsheviks. And it was the Bolsheviks who, in the years after the victory over the atamans, unleashed industrial—scale pogroms and extortions that far dwarfed the puppet atamans’ own depredations. That is the price of arming the opposition — and then casting them aside once they’ve served the purpose their armorers had in mind: foils to Tehran, Salafist agents of influence, “humanitarian” success story — all of which fall well short of the stated goal of effecting a political transition in Syria. The final stretch of the 20th century has seen so many stillborn policies birthed from such interventions in Bosnia, in Afghanistan, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Iraq, in Somalia. Conflicts left to fester when attention moved on, or when the world grew tired of dashed expectations for “peace.” Syria would not be an exception, so once again, it is necessary for commentators to ask proponents of these policies where the “responsibility to protect” begins and ends. As Jillian C. York has noted, many of those in the Syrian Army are hardly serving there by choice or out of any sense of loyalty to the regime — any political solution must bear this in mind.

While foreign military intervention remains an extremely destabilizing choice, yet more and more Syrians may be willing to accept it, to accept anything that ends with Assad’s departure from Syria, one way or another. As a result, there are fewer and fewer avenues leading away from an incipient “Atamanischina”, actions that avert “Lebanonization”. But looking down what avenues are left, how much of a price can Syrians be expected to pay waiting for the “right” policy to appear on the horizon, and how long can all this go on as those “vested interests” move to arm their favored parties in order to secure “influence” in the country?

DateMay 29, 2012 at 21:51 Comment1 Comment PermalinkPermalink
 
 
 

Reader Comments (1)

“… if NATO and the GCC members really did desire to give Syrians the space in which to advance their own self—determination,…”

A very big “If”: if NATO and GCC members had any desire to enhance the freedoms and rights of Arabs they could always begin at home, in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait or Oman, for example.

If they wanted to set Syria an example they might have done better than their interventions to prop up the Saleh style in Yemen (which included an election with only one candidate); they might have done other than to protect Mubarak and then to sabotage the revolutionary transition; they might have kept out of Libya the way they distanced themselves from the opponents of Ben Ali’s kleptocracy; they might have been as indulgent of Assad’s excesses as they were of the assaults on Gaza; they might have used their influence not just to subsidise the Hashemite protection racket in Amman but to put an end to it.

The sad truth is that the only state in the middle east that NATO cares for is Israel, because it is a European colony (and racism dies very hard in the imperial heartlands) and the GCC states because they will do anything for money, including the supply of the wherewithal to buy them.

 

 
 
 
 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

“The Salvador Option For Syria” US-NATO Sponsored Death Squads Integrate “Opposition Forces”

Information Clearing House” —  Modelled on US covert ops in Central America, the Pentagon’s “Salvador Option for Iraq” initiated in 2004 was carried out under the helm of the US Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte (2004-2005) together with Robert Stephen Ford, who was appointed US Ambassador to Syria in January 2011, less than two months before the beginning of the armed insurgency directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad. 

“The Salvador Option” is a “terrorist model” of mass killings by US sponsored death squads. It was first applied in El Salvador, in the heyday of resistance against the military dictatorship, resulting in an estimated 75,000 deaths.

John Negroponte had served as US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. As Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, he played a key role in supporting and supervising the Nicaraguan Contra mercenaries who were based in Honduras. The cross border Contra attacks into Nicaragua claimed some 50 000 civilian lives.

In 2004, John Negroponte was appointed US ambassador to Iraq, with a very specific mandate.

The Salvador Option for Syria”: The Central Role of  US Ambassador Robert S. Ford

The US Ambassador to Syria (appointed in January 2011), Robert Stephen Ford had been part of Negroponte’s team at the US Embassy in Baghdad (2004-2005). In this regard, “The Salvador Option” for Iraq laid the groundwork for the launching of the insurgency in Syria in March 2011, which commenced in the Southern border city of Daraa.  

In relation to recent events, the killings and atrocities committed in the border city of Houla on May 27 were, in all likelihood, carried out under what may be described as a “Salvador Option for Syria”. 
The Russian government has called for an investigation: 

“As information trickles out of Houla, Syria, near the city of Homs and the Lebanese-Syrian border, it is becoming clear that the Syrian government was not responsible for shelling to deaths some 32 children and their parents, as periodically claimed and denied by Western media and even the UN itself. It appears that instead, it was death squads at close quarters – accused by anti-government “activists” as being “pro-regime thugs” or “militias,” and by the Syrian government as the work of Al Qaeda terrorists linked to foreign meddlers.” (See Tony Cartalucci, Syrian Government Blamed for Atrocities Committed by US Sponsored Deaths Squads, Global Research, May 28, 2012)

US Ambassador Robert S. Ford was dispatched to Damascus in late January 2011 at the height of the protest movement in Egypt. (The author was in Damascus on January 27, 2011 when Washington’s Envoy presented his credentials to the Al Assad government).

At the outset of my visit to Syria in January 2011,  I reflected on the significance of this diplomatic appointment and the role it might play in a covert process of political destabilization. I did not, however, foresee that this destabilization agenda would be implemented within less than two months  following the instatement of Robert S. Ford as US Ambassador to Syria.

The reinstatement of a US ambassador in Damascus, but more specifically the choice of Robert S. Ford as US ambassador, bears a direct relationship to the onset of the insurgency integrated by death squads in mid-March 2011 against the government of Bashar al Assad.

Robert S. Ford was the man for the job. As “Number Two” at the US embassy in Baghdad (2004-2005) under the helm of Ambassador John D. Negroponte, he played a key role in implementing the Pentagon’s “Iraq Salvador Option”. The latter consisted in supporting Iraqi death squads and paramilitary forces modelled on the experience of  Central America. 

 

Ambassador Ford in Hama in July 2011

Since his arrival in Damascus in late January 2011 until he was recalled by Washington in October 2011, Ambassador Robert S. Ford played a central role in laying the groundwork within Syria as well as establishing contacts with opposition groups. The US embassy was subsequently closed down in February. Ford also played a role in the recruitment of Mujahideen mercenaries from neighboring Arab countries and their integration into Syrian “opposition forces”.  Since his departure from Damascus, Ford continues to oversee the Syria project out of the US State Department:

“As the United States’ Ambassador to Syria—a position that the Secretary of State and President are keeping me in —I will work with colleagues in Washington to support a peaceful transition for the Syrian people. We and our international partners hope to see a transition that reaches out and includes all of Syria’s communities and that gives all Syrians hope for a better future. My year in Syria tells me such a transition is possible, but not when one side constantly initiates attacks against people taking shelter in their homes”. (US Embassy in Syria Facebook page)

“Peaceful transition for the Syrian people”? Ambassador Robert S., Ford is no ordinary diplomat. He was U.S. representative in January 2004 to the Shiite city of Najaf in Iraq. Najaf was the stronghold of the Mahdi army. A few months later he was appointed “Number Two Man” (Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs), at the US embassy in Baghdad at the outset of John Negroponte’s tenure as US Ambassador to Iraq (June 2004- April 2005). Ford subsequently served under Negroponte’s successor Zalmay Khalilzad prior to his appointment as Ambassador to Algeria in 2006.

Robert S. Ford’s mandate as “Number Two” (Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs) under the helm of Ambassador John Negroponte was to coordinate out of the US embassy, the covert support to death squads and paramilitary groups in Iraq with a view to fomenting sectarian violence and weakening the resistance movement.

John Negroponte and Robert S. Ford at the US Embassy worked closely together on the Pentagon’s project. Two other embassy officials, namely Henry Ensher (Ford’s Deputy) and a younger official in the political section, Jeffrey Beals, played an important role in the team “talking to a range of Iraqis, including extremists”. (See The New Yorker, March 26, 2007). Another key individual in Negroponte’s team was James Franklin Jeffrey, America’s ambassador to Albania (2002-2004).

It is worth noting that Obama’s newly appointed CIA head, General David Petraeus played a key role the organization of covert support to Syria’s rebel forces, the infiltration of Syrian intelligence and armed forces, etc. 

Petraeus played a key role in Iraq’s Salvador Option. He led the Multi-National Security Transition Command (MNSTC)  “Counterinsurgency” program in Baghdad in 2004 in coordination with John Negroponte and Robert S Ford at the US Embassy in Baghdad.

The CIA is overseeing covert ops in Syria. In mid-March, General David Petraeus met with his intelligence counterparts in Ankara, to discuss Turkish support for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) ( CIA Chief Discusses Syria, Iraq With Turkish PM, RTT News, March 14, 2012)

David Petraeus, the CIA chief, held meetings with top Turkish officials both yesterday and on March 12, the Hürriyet Daily News learned. Petraeus met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday and his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the previous day.

An official from the U.S. Embassy said that Turkish and American officials discussed “more fruitful cooperation on the region’s most pressing issues in the coming months.” Turkish officials said Erdoğan and Petraeus exchanged views on the Syrian crisis and anti-terror fight. (CIA chief visits Turkey to discuss Syria and counter-terrorism | Atlantic Council, March 14, 2012)

This this article was first published at Global Research

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Uncategorized