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Truth and Falsehood in Syria

October 7, 2011 6 comments

By Jeremy Salt

October 06, 2011 Ankara – Information Clearing HouseAs insurrection in Syria lurches towards civil war, the brakes need to be put on the propaganda pouring through the western mainstream media and accepted uncritically by many who should know better. So here is a matrix of positions from which to argue about what is going on in this critical Middle Eastern country:

1. Syria has been a mukhabarat (intelligence) state since the redoubtable Abd al Hamid al Serraj ran the intelligence services as the deuxieme bureau in the 1950s. The authoritarian state which developed from the time Hafez al Assad took power in 1970 has crushed all dissent ruthlessly.  On occasion it has either been him or them. The ubiquitous presence of the mukhabarat is an unpleasant fact of Syrian life but as Syria is a central target for assassination and subversion by Israel and western intelligence agencies, as it has repeatedly come under military attack, as it has had a large chunk of its territories occupied and as its enemies are forever looking for opportunities to bring it down, it can hardly be said that the mukhabarat is not needed.

2. There is no doubt that the bulk of people demonstrating in Syria want peaceful transition to a democratic form of government. Neither is there any doubt that armed groups operating from behind the screen of the demonstrations have no interest in reform. They want to destroy the government.

3. There have been very big demonstrations of support for the government. There is anger at the violence of the armed gangs and anger at external interference and exploitation of the situation by outside governments and the media. In the eyes of many Syrians, their country is again the target of an international conspiracy.

4. Whatever the truth of the accusations made against the security forces, the armed groups have killed hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians, in total probably close to 1000 at this stage. The civilian dead include university professors, doctors and even, very recently, the son of the Grand Mufti of the Republic. The armed gangs have massacred, ambushed, assassinated, attacked government buildings and sabotaged railway lines.

5. Bashar al Assad has a strong base of personal popularity.  Although he sits on top of the system it is misleading to call him a dictator. The system itself is the true dictator. Deeply rooted power in Syria – entrenched over five decades – lies in the military and intelligence establishment, and to a lesser degree in the party structure.  These are the true sources of resistance to change.  The demonstrations were Bashar’s opportunity to pass on the message, which he did, that the system had to change.

6. In the face of large scale demonstrations earlier this year the government did finally come up with a reform program. This was rejected out of hand by the opposition. No attempt was even made to test the bona fides of the government.

7. The claim that armed opposition to the government has begun only recently is a complete lie.  The killings of soldiers, police and civilians, often in the most brutal circumstances, has been going on virtually since the beginning.

8. The armed groups are well armed and well organised. Large shipments of weapons have been smuggled into Syria from Lebanon and Turkey.  They include pump action shotguns, machine guns, Kalashnikovs,RPG launchers, Israeli-made hand grenades and numerous other explosives. It is not clear who is providing these weapons but someone is, and someone is paying for them. Interrogation of captured members of armed gangs points in the direction of Saad al Hariri’s Future Movement. Hariri is a front man for the US and Saudi Arabia, with influence spreading well beyond Lebanon.

9. Armed opposition to the regime largely seems to be sponsored by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. In 1982 the government ruthlessly crushed an uprising initiated by the Brotherhood in Hama. Many thousands died and part of the city was destroyed. The Brotherhood has two prime objectives: the destruction of the Baathist government and the destruction of the secular state in favor of an Islamic system. It is almost palpably thirsting for revenge.

10. The armed groups have strong support from outside apart from what is already known or indicated. Exiled former Syrian Vice President and Foreign Minister, Abd ul Halim Khaddam, who lives in Paris, has been campaigning for years to bring down the Assad government. He is funded by both the EU and the US. Other exiled activists include Burhan Ghalioun, backed by Qatar as the leader of the ‘national council’ set up in Istanbul. Ghalioun, like Abd ul Halim Khaddam, lives in Paris and like him also, lobbies against the Assad government in Europe and in Washington. Together with Muhammad Riyad al Shaqfa, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, he is receptive to outside ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Syria on the Libyan model (others are against it). The promotion of the exiles as an alternative government is reminiscent of the way the US used exiled Iraqis (the so-called Iraqi National Congress) ahead of the invasion of Iraq.

11. The reporting by the western media of the situations in Libya and Syria has been appalling.  NATO intervention in Libya has been the cause of massive destruction and thousands of deaths. The war, following the invasion of Iraq, is yet another major international crime committed by the governments of the US, Britain and France. The city of Sirte has been bombarded day and night for two weeks without the western media paying any attention to the heavy destruction and loss of life that must have followed. The western media has made no attempt to check reports coming out of Sirte of the bombing of civilian building and the killing of hundreds of people.  The only reason can be that the ugly truth could well derail the whole NATO operation.

12. In Syria the same media has followed the same pattern of misreporting and disinformation. It has ignored or skated over the evidence of widespread killings by armed gangs. It has invited its audience to disbelieve the claims of government and believe the claims of rebels, often made in the name of human rights organisations based in Europe or the US. Numerous outright lies have been told, as they were told in Libya and as they were told ahead of the attack on Iraq. Some at least have been exposed. People said to have been killed by state security forces have turned up alive. The brothers of Zainab al Husni claimed she has been kidnapped by security forces, murdered and her body dismembered. This lurid account, spread by Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyya amongst other outlets, was totally false. She is still alive although now, of course, the propaganda tack is to claim that this is not really her but a double. Al Jazeera, the Guardian and the BBC have distinguished themselves by their blind support of anything that discredits the Syrian government. The same line is being followed by the mainstream media in the US. Al Jazeera, in particular, having distinguished itself with its reporting of the Egyptian revolution, has lost all credibility as an independent Arab world news channel.

13. In seeking to destroy the Syrian government the Muslim Brotherhood has a goal in common with the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, whose paranoia about Shia Islam reached fever pitch with the uprising in Bahrain. Wikileaks revealed how impatient it was for the US to attack Iran. A substitute target is the destruction of the strategic relationship between Iran, Syria and Hizbullah. The US and the Saudis may want to destroy the Alawi-dominated Baathist regime in Damascus for slightly different reasons,  but the important thing is that  they do want to destroy it.

14. The US is doing its utmost to drive Syria into a corner. It is giving financial support to exiled leaders of the opposition. It has tried (and so far failed thanks to Russian and Chinese opposition) to introduce an extensive program of sanctions through the UN Security Council. No doubt it will try again and depending on how the situation develops, it may try, with British and French support, to bring on a no-fly zone resolution opening the door to foreign attack. The situation is fluid and no doubt all sorts of contingency plans are being developed. The White House and the State Department are issuing hectoring statements every other day. Openly provoking the Syrian government, the US ambassador, accompanied by the French ambassador, travelled to Hama before Friday prayers. Against everything that is known about their past record of interference in Middle Eastern countries,  it is inconceivable  that the US and  Israel, along with France and Britain, would not be involved in this uprising beyond what is already known.

15. While concentrating on the violence of the Syrian regime, the US, European governments (especially Britain) have totally ignored the violence directed against it. Their own infinitely greater violence, of course, in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, doesn’t even come into the picture. Turkey has joined their campaign against Syria with relish, going even further than they have in confronting the Syrian regime. In the space of a few months Turkey’s ‘zero problem’ regional policy has been upended in the most inchoate manner. Turkey eventually lent its support to the NATO attack on Libya, after initially holding back. It has antagonised Iran by its policy on Syria and by agreeing, despite strong domestic opposition, to host a US radar missile ‘defence’ installation clearly directed against Iran. The Americans say its data will be shared with Israel, which has refused to apologise for the attack on the Mavi Marmara,   plunging Israeli-Turkish relations into near crisis. So from ‘zero problems’, Turkey now has a regional policy full of problems with Israel, Syria and Iran.

16. While some members of the Syrian opposition have spoken against foreign intervention, the ‘Free Syrian Army’ has said that its aim is to have a no-fly zone declared over northern Syria. A no-fly zone would have to be enforced, and we have seen how this led in Libya to massive infrastructural destruction, the killing of thousands of people and the opening of the door to a new period of western domination.

17. If the Syrian government is brought down, every last Baathist and Alawi will be hunted down. In a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood the status of minorities and women would be driven backwards.

18. Through the Syria Accountability Act, and through sanctions which the EU has imposed, the US has been trying to destroy the Syrian government for twenty years. The dismantling of unified Arab states along ethno-religious lines has been an aim of Israel’s for decades. Where Israel goes, the US naturally follows. The fruits of this policy can be seen in Iraq, where an independent state in all but name has been created for the Kurds and where the constitution, written by the US,  separates Iraq’s people into Kurds, Sunni,  Shi and Christian,  destroying the binding logic of Arab nationalism. Iraq has not known a moment’s peace since the British entered Baghdad in 1917. In Syria ethno-religious divisions (Sunni Muslim Arab, Sunni Muslim Kurd, Druze, Alawi and various Christian sects) render it vulnerable in the same way to the promotion of sectarian discord and eventual disintegration as the unified Arab state the French tried to prevent coming into existence in the 1920s.

19. The destruction of the Baathist government would be a strategic victory of unsurpassed value to the US and Israel. The central arch in the strategic relationship between Iran, Syria and Hizbullah will have been destroyed, leaving Hizbullah geographically isolated, with a hostile Sunni Muslim government next door, and leaving Hizbullah and Iran more exposed to a military attack by the US and Israel. Fortuitously or otherwise, the ‘Arab spring’ as it has developed in Syria has placed in their hands a lever by which they may be able to achieve their goal.

20.  It is not necessarily the case that a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government in Egypt or Syria would be hostile to US interests. Wanting to be seen as a respectable member of the international community and another good example of ‘moderate’ Islam, it is likely and certainly possible that an Egyptian government dominated by the Brotherhood would agree to maintain the peace treaty with Israel for as long as it can  (i.e. until another large scale attack by Israel on Gaza or Lebanon makes it absolutely unsustainable).

21. A Syrian government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood would be close to Saudi Arabia and hostile to Iran, Hizbullah and the Shia of Iraq, especially those associated with Muqtada al Sadr.  It would pay lip service to the Palestine cause and the liberation of the Golan Heights but its practical policies would be unlikely to be any different from the government it is seeking to destroy.

22. The Syrian people are entitled to demand democracy and to be given it, but in this way and at this cost? Even now, an end to the killing and negotiations on political reform is surely the way forward, not violence which threatens to tear the country apart. Unfortunately, violence and not a negotiated settlement is what too many people inside Syria want and what too many governments watching and waiting for their opportunity also want. No Syrian can ultimately gain from this, whatever they presently think.  Their country is being driven towards a sectarian civil war, perhaps foreign intervention and certainly chaos on an even greater scale than we are now seeing. There will be no quick recovery if the state collapses or can be brought down.  Like Iraq, and probably like Libya, looking at the present situation, Syria would enter a period of bloody turmoil that could last for years. Like Iraq, again, it would be completely knocked out of the ring as a state capable of standing up for Arab interests, which means, of course, standing up to the US and Israel.

23. Ultimately, whose interests does anyone think this outcome would serve?

– Jeremy Salt is associate professor in Middle Eastern History and Politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Previously, he taught at Bosporus University in Istanbul and the University of Melbourne in the Departments of Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science. Professor Salt has written many articles on Middle East issues, particularly Palestine, and was a journalist for The Age newspaper when he lived in Melbourne. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

 

The Truth About Syria Unrest

August 15, 2011 2 comments

Truth unveiled! Axis of evil Saudis, Americans and Israelis thought they wanted to hijack Syria in the middle of Arab spring, but that’s not they want, they want a slap with the back of the right hand! Arab spring is naturally an anti Israel movement against puppet regimes or friends of Israel such as Mubarak, as the chief of Israel described him as Israel’s best friend. They go down, and Israel is left without friends. Is Assad anything like Mubarak? no, was he also Israel’s best friend? no, did he promise his people to free occupied Syrian lands from Israel? YES.
True Syrians’ demand for reforms in Syria is completely acceptable and legal just like Asad said, which is why he’s bringing reforms to Syria. But don’t get me wrong, do not mistake terrorists for protesters, this is what I’m going to explain for you.

Just yesterday, Lebanese army intelligence has intercepted a covert shipment of 1,000 assault rifles, reportedly destined for the city of Baniyas in Syria. Army investigators say they have uncovered ties between the smugglers and the political entourage of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The hardcore Sunni Wahhabi House of Saud – in yet another towering show of hypocrisy, and faithful to its hatred of secular Arab republics – has branded the Bashar al-Assad-controlled Ba’ath regime in Syria “a killing machine”. But who would of thought? Saudi Arabia is busy killing people in another country named Bahrain, which most of the news media don’t cover since the US media have been ordered not to cover news on the Saudi allies’ brutal crackdown on Bahraini people. Reports from the Center’s colleagues in the United States say “In the US some news agencies and TV stations were asked not to report on Bahrain and not to embarrass [President Barack Obama’s administration.” Kingdom Saudi Arabia the most brutal dictatorship of all time pretends to be worried about on-going unrest in a secular Arab state? why? because Assad’s regime is anti Israel and not a puppet, which goes against Saudi influence in Middle east.

March 14 seems to be nearly exposed. Hariri the son betrayed Hariri the father, even tho Hezbollah revealed Israel’s possible involvement in his father’s assassination, he insists on selling Lebanon to Israel and Saudi Arabia. March 14 people are bunch of soulless traitors who only care about their own wealth and money in their bank accounts all over the world, they do not care about Lebanon’s freedom being threatened by Israel, in fact, their hatred toward Hezbollah makes them rather Israeli occupation, where were they when Israel had southern Lebanon occupied for decades? wasn’t it Hezbollah attacks which forced IDF to pull out? 14 March sickos’ connection with arm smuggling to Syria must be investigated, and if proven, their party’s activities must be banned and their members must be arrested.

Lebanese intelligence also eavesdropped on discussions between the suspects and an arms dealer, in which the two sides agreed on a down payment of US$100,000 once buyers were shown high-quality Kalashnikov and M-16 rifle samples. The plan was to either ship the rifles in one batch by sea to Baniyas in Syria, or to divide it into smaller batches and smuggle it through Lebanon’s northern border. The suspects and the dealer were followed and arrested by army intelligence forces on July 30, after delivery of the arms in Ras Beirut.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television identified the smugglers as Wassam and Samir Tamim. They have reportedly confessed to running over 30 arms-smuggling operations from Marina to Baniyas with the assistance of Mohammad Kabbara, a member of the Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc tied to Saudi intelligence. Al-Manar stated that the center of operations was Kabbara’s farm in northern Lebanon, adding that this was also a transit point for Islamist (Salafi) fighters traveling to the Syrian city of Homs.

The Syrian army claimed last week that in recent fighting near Homs it has detained hundreds of Salafi fighters (reportedly including Afghans) with Lebanese documents, whose transfer to Syria was facilitated by Kabbara.

The majority of Syrians have been always behind their government, it is not hidden to anybody that Assad’s weak intelligence forces failed to protect his country from terrorists.

One of the terrorists captured by Syrian intelligence forces confessed and said several terrorist groups were operating in Hama where their members are instructed to attack police, security personnel and law-enforcement officials in order to cause mayhem in the city.

He also said the footage broadcast by Syrian television showing people throwing mutilated bodies into a river some ten days ago was very much true, confessing, “I was among the terrorists who threw one of the dead….”

He said they mutilated the bodies of the victims with knives and swords in order to scare away security personnel and prevent them from entering Hama. Al-Kattan said terrorist leaders pay each member SYP 5000 (almost USD106) per day.

By all means, the unrest in Syria differs from the Arab uprisings since it is a ‘conspiracy’ from foreign intervention attempting to ‘reshape’ the country’s political structure. In the latest attempts, Washington and Tel Aviv hatched plots to reignite the flames of unrest in Syria through smuggling weapons into the Arab country.

Informed sources in Lebanon blame Salafi extremists and elements associated with the country’s al-Mustaqbal party for direct involvement in the recent unrest in Syria.

The Lebanese sources say former Mustaqbal MP Mustafa Hashem has rented a large number of gas stations in the northern border region of Wadi Khaled, where the nomad residents on both the Lebanese and Syrian sides of the frontier are engaged in widespread smuggling.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28832.htm

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MH13Ak01.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/09/965231/-The-Hypocricy-in-Libya-and-the-Silence-in-Bahrain

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/193510.html

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/178965.html

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/182208.html

www.presstv.ir/detail/172567.html

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