The Paris Meeting of Conspirators in Support of Syria’s “Moderate Terrorists”: Talks Filled With Sinful Crime.

25 Jan

By Christopher BlackGlobal Research, January 24, 2016

New Eastern Outlook 24 January 2016
  

On January 20th a cabal of dependencies of the United States of America, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, France, and Italy, met in Paris to discuss war on Syria. One of a series of such meetings with a changing list of participants, it included the defence ministers of the countries supporting various proxy forces attacking Syria, either posing as “rebels” or allied with the American created and supported force ISIS. It was in fact a meeting of conspirators planning a war of aggression. There is no other way to put it. This was a criminal act under international law and another dramatic repudiation of the United Nations and everything the United Nations Charter stands for.
One nation that was not invited was Canada, a snub that has caused consternation among the war party in Canada, but is likely the result of the new prime minister’s pledge to withdraw Canadian forces from action in Syria and Iraq. The new Canadian government has not in fact withdrawn its small forces as promised but no doubt the Americans are doubtful of the new government’s reliability as a partner in crime and wanted to slap down the new government for daring to make even a mild move towards peace in our time.
The Canadian government’s pledge to withdraw its forces was a result of campaign promises made during the October elections in Canada where these military adventures are unpopular with large sections of the population which sees them as wasting their tax money fighting wars for American interests and domination of the world. The fact that such operations are not only illegal under international law but also under Canadian law as set out in the National Defence Act, and, therefore, should never have been conducted in the first place, is, inexplicably, never mentioned by any Canadian government figure, major political party or any of the tightly controlled and coordinated media, because, of course, law means nothing to criminals.
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The Paris meeting was a criminal act, a war crime in fact, since the only international body that has the right to determine if, when and how military forces is to be applied in any situation is the United Nations Security Council. Any military action taken outside the mandate of the Security Council is prohibited and the Rome Statute, the statute that governs the International Criminal Court, defines such a meeting as a conspiracy to commit aggression, the worst of all war crimes, because it leads to all other war crimes that necessarily follow an act of aggression.
But the Paris meeting is not the first step in furthering this conspiracy to commit acts of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria. The first act was the attack made on Syria by the United States in 2011 after it and its co-conspirators attacked and destroyed Libya using the same proxy forces, the same techniques, and the same propaganda to mislead the public. Many of the same mercenaries, and thugs that they used against Libya were quickly reassigned and sent into Syria through Turkey, and Jordan where they soon linked up with armed groups from Iraq now known as ISIS. The United States, Turkey, Britain, France, and Saudi Arabia, brag about their open support for these groups, and have confessed that they have sent in their own special forces to “train” them. This act of aggression against Syria continues to escalate and came close to succeeding until Russia, at the request of the besieged government of Syria, decided to deploy its air forces in Syria in order to crush these American and allied proxy forces.
The reaction here in the west since September when the Russians began their very effective air operations has been a seething anger from Washington, to London, from Paris to Berlin, from Riyadh to Istanbul. The failure of the American attempt to conquer Syria will mean the failure of the American plan to kick Russia out of the Mediterranean, a failure to control the land routes from there to Iran for an eventual attack on Iran itself, an operation that cannot be mounted from the Persian Gulf, and a failure to place its forces on the southern flank of Russia in preparation for a pincer thrust into Russia from the south and the western plains of Poland and Ukraine. Others cite gas pipelines and war profits as reasons, but these are secondary to the principal strategy of the domination of Eurasia by the United States and those hoping to be thrown some scraps from the spoils, like the jackals they are.
None of these countries have any legal or moral right to attack Syria under the guise of going after ISIS, or Islamic State as they now call it. To obtain that right they would first have to be asked by the Syrian government for their assistance. The Syrian government does not want their “assistance”. They do not want their war. But these criminal nations refuse to talk to the Syrian government and insist on its overthrow and they refuse to take their case before the Security Council because they know they have no case and Russia and China will oppose their criminal plans. So they evade the United Nations and once again, create ad hoc “coalitions” of the criminal minded, who have no respect for international law, their own laws, the sovereign rights of the Syrian nation, or their own platitudes about peace and “human rights.”
The criminal nature and intent of the meeting was openly declared in the press conference after the meeting by the US Defense Secretary Carter who called for more forces to be gathered to “eject jihadist fighters from their headquarters in Raqqa, Syria and Mosul, Iraq and to maintain that planned defeat.” The latter phrase must be interpreted as meaning a permanent occupation of the region by American and allied forces. To back this up the America Army’s 101st Airborne Division has been assigned the role of re-entering Iraq. It seems Iraq will have no choice in the matter as the Americans continue their drive to establish a new protectorate out of western Iraq and eastern Syria which they can then use to control the region and attack Iran. Further meetings are to be held in Brussels in a few weeks.
In the meantime Russia continues to try to achieve a negotiated resolution of the war in compliance with international law and a further meeting of the Russian and American foreign ministers will be held in Geneva to discuss it but there is little hope of those talks going anywhere since the two countries approach the problem from completely opposite positions; the Russians on the basis of the national sovereignty of Syria and the recognition of the existing government as the only legitimate government, the Americans on the basis that might makes right and Syria must submit to its will. For them, international law and national sovereignty are phrases empty of all meaning.
And once again, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court remains in her office in The Hague, completely inert as nations that are within her jurisdiction plan these crimes. She has charged several African leaders for much less but then those prosecutions serve the interests of the same powers she should be prosecuting. She doesn’t even hold a press conference condemning these meetings, actions and plans for more war and insisting that these criminals adhere to international law. Nothing is said. Nothing is done. The ICC is shown to be as useless as the Security Council.
It is the Americans and their allies who are responsible for all the dead and dying in Syria, and it is they who “brought forth the monstrous mass of earthly slime, puft up with empty wind and filled with sinful crime” that is ISIS and it is clear that they will continue to use this monster of their creation as a device to escalate the war against Syria and increase their crimes but who, aside from the Syrian people, Russia and Iran can stop them? And so, the war will continue, the misery it brings will continue, and those responsible will continue to meet in beautiful settings, enjoying the fine things their crimes bring, bragging that they are saving the people from the very “terrorists” they created and control.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
The original source of this article is New Eastern Outlook

Syria is the Middle Eastern Stalingrad

17 Jan

New Eatern Outlook.cpm

02.01.2016 Author: Andre Vltchek

  

Day and night, for years, an overwhelming force has been battering this quiet nation, one of the cradles of human civilization.
Hundreds of thousands have died, and millions have been forced to flee abroad or have been internally displaced. In many cities and villages, not one house is left intact.
But Syria is, against all odds, still standing.
During the last 3 years I worked in almost all of Syria’s perimeters, exposing the birth of ISIS in the NATO-run camps built in Turkey and Jordan. I worked in the occupied Golan Heights, and in Iraq. I also worked in Lebanon, a country now forced to host over 2 million (mostly Syrian) refugees.
The only reason why the West began its horrible destabilization campaign, was because it “could not tolerate” Syria’s disobedience and the socialist nature of its state. In short, the way the Syrian establishment was putting the welfare of its people above the interests of multi-national corporations.
*
More than two years ago, my former Indonesian film editor demanded an answer in a somewhat angry tone:
“So many people are dying in Syria! Is it really worth it? Wouldn’t it be easier and better for Syrians to just give up and let the US have what it is demanding?”
Chronically petrified, this young woman was always searching for easy solutions that would keep her safe, and safe with significant personal advantages. As so many others in this time and age, in order to survive and advance, she developed a complex system resting on betrayals, self-defenses and deceptions.
How to reply to such a question?
It was a legitimate one, after all.
Eduardo Galeano told me: “People know when it’s time to fight. We have no right to tell them … but when they decide, it is our obligation to support them, even to lead them if they approach us.”
In this case, the Syrian people decided. No government, no political force could move an entire nation to such tremendous heroism and sacrifice. Russians did it during World War Two, and the Syrians are doing it now.
Two years ago I replied like this: “I have witnessed the total collapse of the Middle East. There was nothing standing there anymore. Countries that opted for their own paths were literally leveled to the ground. Countries that succumbed to the dictates of the West lost their soul, culture and essence and were turned into some of the most miserable places on earth. And the Syrians knew it: were they to surrender, they would be converted into another Iraq, Yemen or Libya, even Afghanistan.”
And so Syria rose. It decided to fight, for itself and for its part of the world.
Again and again, it retained itself through the elections of its government. It leaned on its army. Whatever the West says, whatever the treasonous NGOs write, the simple logic just proves it all.
This modest nation does not have its own powerful media to share the extent of its courage and agony with the world. It is always the others who are commenting on its struggle, often in a totally malicious way.
But it is undeniable that whilst the Soviet forces stopped the advance of the German Nazis at Stalingrad, the Syrians have managed to stop the fascist forces of Western allies in its part of the world.
Of course Russia got directly involved. Of course China stood by, although often in the shadow. And Iran provided support. And Lebanon-based Hezbollah put up, what I often describe as, an epic fight on behalf of Damascus against the extremist monsters invented and armed by the West, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
But the main credit has to go to the Syrian people.
Yes, now there is nothing left of the Middle East. Now there are more tears than raindrops descending on this ancient land.
But Syria is standing. Burned, wounded, but standing.
And as is being widely reported, after the Russian armed forces came to the rescue of the Syrian nation, more than 1 million Syrian people were able to return home … often to encounter only ashes and devastation, but home.
Like people returned to Stalingrad, some 70 years ago.
*
So what would my answer be to that question now: “whether it would be easier the other way”, to surrender to the Empire?
I guess something like this:
“Life has meaning, it is worth living, only if some basic conditions can be fulfilled. One does not betray great love, be it love for another person or love for one’s country, humanity or ideals. If one does, it would be better not to be born at all. Then I say: the survival of humankind is the most sacred goal. Not some short-time personal gain or ‘safety’, but the survival of all of us, of people, as well as the safety of all of us, humans.”
When life itself is threatened, people tend to rise and fight, instinctively. During such moments, some of the most monumental chapters in human history are written.
Unfortunately, during these moments, millions tend to die.
But the devastation is not because of those who are defending our human race.
It is because of the imperialist monsters and their servants.
Most of us are dreaming about a world without wars, without violence. We want true kindness to prevail on earth. Many of us are working relentlessly for such a society.
But until it is constructed, until all extreme selfishness, greed and brutality are defeated, we have to fight for something much more “modest” – for the survival of people and of humanism.
The price is often horrible. But the alternative is one enormous gaping void. It is simply nothing – the end, full stop!
In Stalingrad, millions died so we could live. Nothing was left of the city, except some melted steel, scattered bricks and an ocean of corpses. Nazism was stopped. Western expansionism began its retreat, that time towards Berlin.
Now Syria, quietly but stoically and heroically, stands against Western, Qatari, Saudi, Israeli and Turkish plans to finish the Middle East.
And the Syrian people have won. For how long, I don’t know. But it has proven that an Arab country can still defeat the mightiest murderous hordes.
Andre Vltchek is philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist, he’s a creator of Vltchek’s World an a dedicated Twitter user, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Weapons Delivery from Turkey to ISIS Terrorists in Syria: “Behind Closed Doors” Discussion at UN Security Council, Russia’s Request.

6 Jan

  By ITAR-TASSGlobal Research, January 06, 2016ITAR-TASS 5 January 2016
  
The United Nations Security Council will discuss delivery of weapons from Turkey to Syria on Tuesday at Russia’s request, Uruguay’s Permanent Representative to UN Elbio Rosselli, who is presiding over the UN Security Council in January, told journalists on Monday. He added that the meeting would take place behind the closed doors.
“Yes. The question of delivery of (weapons) across the Turkish-Syrian border will be raised tomorrow (Tuesday) as part of the general discussion. The consultations will take place at Russia’s request,” the diplomat told TASS.
According to Rosselli, Jeffrey Feltman, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, is to deliver a report.
In December 2015, Vladimir Safronkov, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said that Moscow was extremely concerned with the ongoing arms supplies to Syria and the penetration of terrorists into the country via the U.N.-monitored checkpoints at which U.N. observers are supposed to check the relief cargoes.
Safronkov said that Russia had suggested applying the U.N. monitoring mechanisms to all the cargoes bound for Syria, including those declared as relief cargoes. However, the United Nations Security Council ignored the Russian initiative as it was preparing Resolution 2258, which authorizes the delivery of relief cargoes to the conflict-stricken areas in Syria directly from the territories of neighbouring countries until January 10, 2017.

  

The original source of this article is ITAR-TASS

Fake “Left” “Anti-War” Movement Calls for “Regime Change” in SyriaIn Syria Petition, an Odd “Left’ Abandoned Concrete Analysis for Demagogy

6 Jan

By Stephen GowansGlobal Research, January 06, 2016

what’s left 5 January 2015
  

It’s difficult enough for the Left to make any headway against the formidable forces arrayed against it without some of its members abandoning concrete analysis and coherent argument in favor of fantasy and appeal to emotions.
In May 2013, a group calling itself the Global Campaign for Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution promoted a petition which called for “Solidarity with the Syrian Struggle for Dignity and Freedom.”
The petition listed Gilbert Achcar, Richard Seymour, Tariq Ali, Vijay Prashad, Norman Finklestein and Ilan Pape among its supporters.
Appearing to equate Islamists seeking a harsh theocratic rule in Damascus to “revolutionaries” linked to the struggles of Palestinians and opponents of neo-liberalism in the West, the petition called on the Syrian president to leave immediately and submit to a peaceful transition. One problem. The petition’s drafters failed to mention that this could only mean surrender to the rule of murderous sectarian fanatics in Damascus, with regrettable consequences for anyone who didn’t share the fanatics’ religious views. Or that the bulk of Syrians didn’t favor this outcome.
Nowhere did the petition mention:
Takfirism or Wahabbism;

Political Islam, backed by imperialist powers and their regional allies, as the driving force of the rebellion;

Washington’s efforts to “build” a US partner who would govern in Damascus;

The material support Washington provided to anti-Assad forces even in advance of the Arab Spring;

Constitutional changes the Syrian government made in 2012 in response to the March 2011 uprising to open political space in the country;

The reality that the largest Sunni fighting force in Syria was, then as now, the Syrian Arab Army;

The fact that Assad had commanded sufficient popular support to continue in power despite, at that point, two years of war and the concerted opposition of the world’s most formidable powers and their regional allies— hardly a feat to be expected of a government that was oppressing its people.

In place of concrete realities to engage our minds, the petitioners offered honeyed, nebulous, words to play on our emotions. We were to sign up to a romantic vision of heroic revolutionaries struggling for freedom and dignity against an evil dictator in a fairy book world where imperialism; sectarian intolerance; Saudi, Turk, Qatari and US agendas; the Syrian government’s concessions; al Qaeda; and a decades-long struggle within Syria between political Islam and secularism, didn’t exist.
Instead, they asked us to “defend the gains of the Syrian revolutionaries,” but didn’t say who the revolutionaries were or what gains they had won.
They called for “a peaceful transition of power,” but didn’t say to what.
They asked us to “support the people and organizations on the ground that still uphold the ideals for a free and democratic Syria,” but didn’t say who they were or where we could find them, or what a democratic and free Syria would look like (free from what and to do what?)
They said that the rebellion in Syria was linked to “the Zapatista revolt in Mexico, the landless movement in Brazil, the European and North American revolts against neoliberal exploitation,” and “the Palestinians’ struggle for freedom, dignity and equality,” yet they didn’t say how. Was it also linked to the revolt of the southern states against the Union?
And yet while they demanded that “Bashar al-Assad leave immediately,” the Syrian government was the only organization on the ground of any significance, then as now, that (a) (with the constitutional changes of 2012), offered Syria a democratic future of multi-party parliamentary and contested presidential elections and (b) offered freedom from domination by the political agendas of outsiders, both those of the Western powers who seek a US “partner” to govern in Syria and the sectarianism of the West’s retrograde anti-democratic regional allies.
It’s as if in the middle of Operation Barbarossa—Nazi Germany’s 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union—that a call had been made for Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to leave immediately and arrange “a peaceful transition” so that Russia could “begin a speedy recovery toward a democratic future.” Of course, a call for a peaceful transition would have meant nothing but surrender to the Nazis and their multinational coalition of Italy, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Finland and Spain, with the consequent enslavement of the Slavs. (The United States isn’t the only country that could put together a multinational coalition.)
Likewise, it’s clear that, then as now, Assad leaving immediately would bring al Qaeda-linked organizations to power in Damascus, with carry-on massacres of populations the “revolutiCall for onaries” deemed heretics and apostates. Demanding Assad leave immediately and peacefully was a call for surrender to sectarians backed by retrograde despotisms allied to Washington—an odd way to show solidarity with the Syrian people and hardly likely to promote their freedom and dignity.
Of course, much has happened since the petition was drafted in May 2013, and some of petition’s supporters may have changed their views since, but others, including Gilbert Achcar, continue to use demagogic methods, appealing to emotion rather than reason, to authority rather than evidence, taking cover in ambiguities and romantic fantasies, while shunning concrete social, political, military and economic realities.
To anyone who insists on evidence and critical analysis, Achcar and company are a good part of the reason it’s still possible to refer to a “loony left.” For the cautious, they’re suspected of advancing a sinister political agenda under cover of promoting leftist and humanitarian concerns. Neither possibility is pleasant to contemplate.
The original source of this article is what’s left

Coming to the Rescue of “Our Terrorists”: US Evacuated Islamic State (ISIS/Daesh) Fighters from Ramadi

3 Jan

By Stephen LendmanGlobal Research, January 03, 2016

  

Before Iraqi forces retook Ramadi last week, Washington was accused of evacuating around 2,000 ISIS terrorists from the city.
Iraqi People’s Mobilization Shiite militia umbrella group commander Hashd al-Shaabi said America delayed the liberation of Ramadi and Fallujah to enable “evacuat(ion) of (ISIS) ringleaders (and fighters) secretly to unknown places” by helicopter.
Fort Russ reported an unnamed high-ranking Iraqi official, saying “(o)ur signals and human intelligence informed the Americans…about ISIS movement(s).”
“We were not allowed to engage against these, and no one in the government can contradict the Americans…The US ordered Baghdad to (permit) free passage (for) ISIS and to reduce the Iranian influence…”
Washington ordered Baghdad to replace heads of antiterrorism, intelligence, military security services and the interior ministry. It wants a US-friendly team serving its interests on the ground.
So far, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hasn’t requested Russian air support, caving to US demands, even though he knows it’s supporting ISIS and wants Iraq balkanized into a Kurdish north, Shia south and Sunni center.
Washington supports the illegal presence of Turkish forces in northern Iraq. A French intelligence official said “(t)he Middle East will never be the same as before.”
“What is becoming more clear now is that ISIS is a (tool) used by (powerful) players for their agenda and plans to” redraw the regional map.
Death, destruction and human misery haunt millions of Iraqis. Washington’s imperial agenda bears full responsibility.
A UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) reported 7,500 Iraqis killed and another 15,000 injured in 2015 – a likely gross undercount given raging conflict in much of the country.
Casualties are likely multiples greater than special UN representative for the Secretary-General (SRSG) Jan kubis indicated, saying:
“The year 2015 has seen thousands of Iraqis killed and injured as a result of conflict and terrorism. This is unacceptable. The Iraqi people have every right to live in peace and tranquility. The United Nations continues to deplore this continuing loss of life.”
Ban Ki-moon is a US-appointed imperial tool, failing his sworn mandate “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” oppose force and uphold fundamental human rights.
He’s an instrument of US foreign policy, notably its endless imperial wars. The long-suffering people of Iraq and other troubled countries have no ally in the Secretary-General. He’s done nothing to serve their interests.
Scores die or suffer severe injuries daily in Iraq from violence alone, at times hundreds, civilians mostly affected.
UNAMI admits it’s impossible to verify the precise casualty count, much higher than official reports. No count is kept on numbers perishing from lack of food, water, necessary medical care or overall deprivation.
Nothing in prospect suggests relief, not as long as Washington continues pursuing its imperial agenda, ruthlessly disregarding human lives and welfare.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2016

Bashar al Assad is Protecting Christians in Syria: According to Obama, The Secular Government “Which Guarantees Religious Freedom Has to Go”

21 Dec

By Alessandra NucciGlobal Research, December 21, 2015

Catholic World Report 15 December 2014

  
Bashar al Assad is Protecting Christians in Syria: According to Obama, The Secular Government “Which Guarantees Religious Freedom Has to Go”
GR Editor’s Note
This incisive article by Catholic Reporter confirms that the government of Bashar al Assad by combating the ISIS/Al Nusrah terrorists is committed to protecting Syria’s Christian community. It also reveals the unspoken truth: the Obama administration by bombing Syria is supporting the Islamic insurgency.
Even the mainstream media (Daily Telegraph, quoted by Catholic Reporter below) has acknowledged that:
“We should not be blind to the fact that there is a project out there to destroy [Syria’s] rich, pluralist, and unbelievably intricate culture and replace it with a monochrome version of Wahhabi Islam”.
What the Telegraph article fails to mention is that the “version of Wahhabism” has nothing to with Islam, it’s made in America, its a diabolical tool of US foreign policy. Wahhabi Islam is being used by Washington in liaison with America’s indefectible allies including Turkey and Saudi Arabia to wage an undeclared war on Syria.
US foreign policy has nurtured Al Qaeda, a creation of the CIA for almost half a century, with the support of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s infamous General Intelligence Presidency (GIP).

  
And now the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose military and GIP intelligence services are routinely supporting the training, recruitment and financing of the Islamic State (ISIS) — has configured a coalition of 34 countries “to go after the Islamic state”.
Theater of the absurd: those who support terrorism have initiated –with the blessing of the self proclaimed “international community”– a campaign against the terrorist organizations which they themselves have created.
Michel Chossudovsky, December 21, 2015
* * *
Syria, once home to a unique, multireligious society, is being destroyed. The West is turning a blind eye to the real cause of the tragedy.
Last year Pope Francis called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and the whole world, setting the date for September 7 and himself presiding over a prayer vigil in Rome. In a recent piece for the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan reports that in September of 2013,
“the American people spontaneously rose up and told Washington they would not back a bombing foray in Syria that would help the insurgents opposed to Bashar Assad. That public backlash was a surprise not only to the White House but to Republicans in Congress, who were—and I saw them—ashen-faced after the calls flooded their offices. It was such a shock to Washington that officials there still don’t talk about it and make believe it didn’t happen.”
That, of course, was before ISIS, the Islamic State, appeared on the scene, cutting through a third of Syria and Iraq and advancing rapidly, tragically, into the area with the strongest Christian presence in Iraq. A shocked world witnessed the ghastly beheadings of innocent Westerners, along with the displacement, raping, and murdering of Iraqi Christians and Yazidis, the looting and burning down of churches, and the marking out of Christian homes. The leaders of the Western world all vowed to take immediate action. The president of the United States solemnly committed to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. Yet in a matter of months, even the beheadings seem to have receded into the background. It would seem that if you dither long enough, even the most acute world-wide indignation will fade away, as observers become increasingly inured to outrages. Only days after President Obama’s solemn denunciaton, the anti-government Syrian “rebels” announced a deal with ISIS. What for? To join forces against their common enemy: Bashar al-Assad.
Despite a stunning one-time-only admission by President Obama to a delegation of patriarchs in Washington last September—in which he reportedly said, “We know Assad has been protecting the Christians”—the bipartisan attitude towards the Syrian government has continued to hover between aloof and openly hostile.
The depiction of Assad by credible witnesses is quite different. Speaking at a private meeting held at the Veritatis Splendor Diocesan Center in Bologna, Italy last October, Msgr. Giuseppe Nazzaro, former apostolic visitor to Aleppo and former Custodian of the Holy Land, had this to say:
[Assad] opened the country up to foreign trade, to tourism within the country and from abroad, to freedom of movement and of education for both men and women. Before the protests started, the number of women in the professional world had been constantly increasing, the university was open to all, and there was no discrimination on the basis of sex. The country was at peace, prosperity was on the rise, and human rights were respected. A common home and fatherland to many ethnicities and 23 different religious groups, Syria has always been a place where all were free to believe and live out their creed, all relationships were characterized by mutual respect. The freedom that is purportedly being brought to us by the rebels is precisely what this rebellion has taken away from us.
Msgr. Nazzaro was also among the heads of the Churches of the Middle East who were invited to speak at the UN headquarters in Geneva on September 16, where he denounced the “massacres and the atrocities, together with the crimes against humanity” committed by the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq. The Syrians pinned great hopes on this meeting, but were bitterly disappointed.
Syrian Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, in Rome for the recent synod on the family, told about the time the host of a French prime-time news program asked him about Syria’s “awful president,” saying, “He’s a monster. He’s killing innocent people, children and women.” To which Patriarch Younan replied with the story of a Capuchin priest from a Syrian town on the Euphrates River which is 98 percent Sunni Muslim. The Capuchin told Younan that as the town was being attacked by anti-government rebels, he sheltered four Missionaries of Charity sisters and 12 elderly women in their care within his parish center. When the situation was no longer sustainable, the Capuchin said, the nuns called Damascus. “And Damascus sent military vehicles to evacuate [them] from the parish compound—there were the nuns, 12 elderly people, and [the Capuchin], and they took all to safety, in Damascus.”
“Now,” Patriarch Younan had said to the French news-show host, “you can judge for yourself if this person, Assad, is a monster or not.”
The West’s dogged insistence on doing away with Mr. Assad first—considering this a priority even with respect to stopping the ISIS cutthroats—is predicated on the existence of “moderate Muslims” among the machine-gun toting rebels. But if they will not listen to the Christians, then why don’t they look for moderates among the Muslims who don’t sack and pillage and are in fact against the war? In Syria, the tradition of peaceful, brotherly coexistence among religions is a national trait of which all Syrian groups have always been proud, including Syrian Muslims, for whom the differences between Sunnis and Shiia are not cause to rend the fabric of the nation. “Although Syria is a Muslim-majority country, Syrians reject radicalism and the Islam they practice is a moderate form of Islam,” confirmed Msgr. Mario Zenari, current apostolic nuncio to Syria, in a recent interview with Vatican Radio.
A good example is the Grand Mufti of Syria. An intriguing figure, Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun is a staunch supporter of the need for a dialogue among religions, a cause to which he has dedicated more than just words. Faced with personal tribulation when his 22-year-old son was killed two years ago in retaliation for his father’s recognition of the Assad government, he has never spoken of revenge. “I’ve always explained,” he said in an interview with Italian daily Il Giornale, “that if Mohammed had asked us to kill, he would not have been a Prophet of the Lord. This is why I have forgiven my son’s murderer and I ask all those who undergo a tragedy of this kind to do likewise.”
In a press conference on the plane home from Turkey on November 28, Pope Francis called on Muslim leaders worldwide to speak out and condemn all violence committed in the name of their faith, asking them to declare that “this is not Islam.” “We all need a world condemnation,” said the Pontiff, “including by the Muslims, who have that identity and who should say: ‘That is not who we are. The Qu’ran is not this thing here.’”
This is precisely what Dr. Hassoun has been doing. He tells the young Muslims swarming in from everywhere to fight against the Syrian government “not to sell out your brains.”
“Our religion teaches peace, not war,” he said in his Il Giornale interview. “To these young people, I ask that they study the Qu’ran well and not believe those who exort them to go fight abroad. A good Muslim travels to build peace, not to fight.”
With regard to Christians, when Msgr. Giovanni Battista Morandini—the apostolic nuncio—left Syria and retired to Italy, the Grand Mufti sent word to then-Pope Benedict XVI that “Christians are full-fledged Syrians, Syria is their home, they shouldn’t abandon it; wherever they go they will always be foreigners, which they aren’t in Syria, because here they are in their own home.”
For their part, the Christian clerics of Syria return the compliment. Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham never tires of reminding the faithful that Christian Arabs have a specific mission. “The ‘Church of the Arabs,’” he said in an interview with AsiaNews, “means the Church of Jesus Christ, which lives in an Arabian setting and in a profound and intimate relationship with the Arab world, with its pain and its hopes, its joys and its sorrows, its problems and its crisis. The Church is Emmanuel, a Church with, for and in this Arab society, without forgetting its Arab roots and nature, thanks to our history and our geography.”
This is the civilization that Western world is helping tear down by dragging its feet in going after the Islamic State.
In the Middle East, apart from the Kurdish peshmerga, the only army with any clout that has taken on ISIS is Assad’s. But Assad must go.
A secular administration, with widely popular multireligious support, which has guaranteed religious freedom in what remains to this day a Muslim-majority country, has to go.
Scores of authoritative figures, as well as the thousands who voted in the elections, are ready to attest that Assad has not committed genocide, and indeed has been protecting his people. Yet at all costs, he must go.
In the meantime, ISIS has entrenched itself further into the territory carved out of Iraq and Syria, and has so far advanced in building itself a nation that it is reported to be working on a national currency. ISIS’s tentacles have reached Libya, where it has taken over the town of Darnah, now an outpost of the Caliphate. Darnah used to be home to poets, merchants, ministers, and the religious; today it a place where they behead young people for posting unapproved words on Facebook. The graffiti on the walls of Darnah’s main square say “No to al-Qaeda” because ISIS considers the al-Qaedists to be a bunch of unacceptably moderate sissies. Eight hundred miles from Rome, Darnah will be ISIS’s starting place if they carry out their repeated intentions to attack the capital of Christianity.
Consider that the fighting on the ground has been delegated to the Kurdish people, including many brave women soldiers, but NATO-member Turkey—wary lest Kurds gain in strength and advance their historical demand for an independent Kurdistan—lets reinforcements and truckloads of supplies flow freely across its border into the hands of ISIS.
As it was observed in Britain’s Daily Telegraph,
If the insurgents win the war, there will be no Christian churches in Syria any more (just as there aren’t in Saudi Arabia at the moment). Life will be similarly terrible for many of the ordinary Muslims who make up the great majority of the population.
There are no “good guys” in Syria’s civil war. But we should not be blind to the fact that there is a project out there to destroy its rich, pluralist, and unbelievably intricate culture and replace it with a monochrome version of Wahhabi Islam, of the kind favoured by Saudi mullahs. And for reasons that history may come to judge very severely, Britain, the United States, and the West have been aiding and abetting this project. (emphasis added by GR)
This, in so many words, is the message that so many Christian religious figures—nuns, priests, and patriarchs of various different traditions—have been trying to convey to the West, through anyone willing to listen.
Alessandra Nucci is an Italian author and journalist.
The original source of this article is Catholic World Report

David Cameron’s Contradictory Narrative: “Fighting ISIS” as a Means to Destroying the Syrian State…

16 Dec

By Dan GlazebrookGlobal Research, December 16, 2015

telesur 15 December 2015

  

David Cameron’s Contradictory Narrative: “Fighting ISIS” as a Means to Destroying the Syrian State…
The strategy is to unite all anti-government death squads, including the Islamic State group, in an all-out war of destruction against the Syrian state.
On Dec. 2 the British House of Commons voted to launch airstrikes on Syria; within an hour of the vote being taken, British fighter jets were on the way to Syria. According to the government’s motion, the strikes were to be “exclusively against” the Islamic State group, the leading force within the anti-government insurgency in Syria.
And yet, in August 2013, David Cameron had proposed sending the Royal Air Force to Syria to support that insurgency. The proposal was defeated when it became clear that Syria’s key allies, Russia and Iran, were not going to back down; but the British government has been one of the most vocal and belligerent supporters of the insurgency since it began in 2011. Indeed, Cameron has arguably become its leading international spokesman and lobbyist. So is it really credible that he has suddenly switched sides, and is now committed to wiping out the vanguard of the struggle he has done so much to promote?
Amena sent me this picture of her home in Syria, destroyed by secular, moderate airstrikes: https://t.co/PyO6tAiqPp pic.twitter.com/5BJP8Q5vgb
— Charles Davis (@charliearchy) November 5, 2015
Well, no. And to be fair to Cameron, he made it clear within minutes of his opening speech to that it is the destruction of the Syrian state, not the Islamic State group, that remains the ultimate goal of British policy in Syria. Of course, he didn’t put it quite like that. But after what is now 16 years of British government dedication to the creation of one failed state after another – from Kosovo to Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya – the euphemisms have become all too familiar. “The real plan,” Cameron noted, is to “get a transitional Government in Syria.” We have seen “transitional governments” before: they are generally comprised of people who have spent more time in London, Paris or Washington than in the countries they are supposed to be governing, with no real support base in the country, airlifted in by NATO in order to sign contracts with the West, and in no position whatsoever to actually govern. The “transition” in question, then, is from independent regional power, to dysfunctional failed state. “The first step,” he concludes, “is going after these terrorists today.”
Exactly how bombing the Islamic State group is supposed to be the “first step” toward overthrowing the Syrian government was left to the chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Sir Crispin Blunt, to explain. “The crucial issue,” he said, is “how would we, the United Kingdom, exercise the greatest influence? Everything that I have heard in the last month of taking evidence on this issue suggests that our role as a compromised and limited member of the coalition against ISIL, operating only in Iraq, weakens that influence.”
This is very revealing. The “crucial issue” is nothing to do with the Islamic State group, national security, or terrorism; but rather how to gain “greatest influence” in order to push the “real plan” of destroying the Syrian state. Blunt is arguing that Britain should bomb Syria in order to ensure that the coalition maintains its focus on regime change. The airstrikes have, it seems, been conceived primarily as a means of degrading not the Islamic State group, but Russian influence on the U.S. and France, lest the focus shifts to actually defeating terrorism. Militarily, the latest phase of the British involvement in Syria has one key aim: to co-ordinate the various death squads – including the Islamic State group – into a more effective fighting force for the destruction of the Syrian state. One group is to be given overt support – to be funded, trained, equipped and given air cover by the Royal Air Force. This is the 70,000 so-called “moderates” that Cameron argued in Parliament are to be the “ground force” of Britain’s campaign.
The definition of a moderate, here, was outlined by the government as anyone fulfilling two criteria: not being a member of al-Qaida or the Islamic State group and be “committed to a pluralistic Syria” – that is, willing to sign up to any old guff that guarantees Western support. Presumably (and no one in the government was willing to deny this), this group includes extremist groups such as Ahrar al-Sham, along with all the other groups participating in the al-Qaida-led Army of Conquest, and thus effectively acting as extensions of al-Qaida without officially being al-Qaida themselves.
These forces cannot possibly serve as effective ground troops against ISIS; firstly because, whenever they have taken on the Islamic State group in the past, they have lost (handing over all their Western-supplied weapons in the process); secondly, because, as U.K. Member of Parliament Imran Hussein pointed out, they are now concentrated mainly “in the south-west of Syria while Daesh (Islamic State group) is in the northeast.” And as Scottish National Party parliamentary leader Angus Robertson noted, “There is no evidence whatsoever that they would definitely deploy from other parts of the country to counter Daesh.” Michael Stephens of the Royal United Services Institute has also argued that they “are not powerful enough to take on al-Qaida or IS (Islamic State group) by themselves, or in many cases break their current alliances/cease-fires with them.”
The raison d’etre of Cameron’s 70,000 fighters is to overthrow the Syrian government, not the Islamic State group, and in many cases they are in formal alliances with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group to achieve this. Clearly, then, if they are indeed to be the ground forces of Britain’s air war, this can only be a war against the Syrian government, not against the Islamic State group.
The second group is the Nusra Front, the official al-Qaida affiliate in Syria (out of which the Islamic State group emerged in January 2014). According to Cameron’s definition, they are not going to be provided with open and direct support from the British government. But the terms of the government’s motion, which vows airstrikes “exclusively against” the Islamic State group means they will not actually be targeted either. They will be given a free hand, while their allies in the Army of Conquest will be openly supplied and supported.
Finally, how do airstrikes against the Islamic State group help facilitate regime change? Labour Member of Parliament Frank Field shed some light on this when he asked Cameron: “Is the prime minister aware of press reports that in the recent past 60,000 Syrian troops have been murdered by ISIL and our allies have waited until after those murderous acts have taken place to attack? … If ISIL is involved in attacking Syrian Government troops, will we be bombing ISIL in defense of those troops, or will we wait idly by, as our allies have done up to now, for ISIL to kill those troops, and then bomb?”
Cameron’s answer – which was no answer at all – suggested that Britain will indeed continue the existing coalition policy of allowing the Islamic State group to slaughter Syrian government troops at will.
Putting all this together, the strategy becomes clear: increase support and air cover to non-Islamic State group (and increasingly al-Qaida led) anti-government fighters, while employing a carrot-and-stick policy toward the Islamic State group itself: bombing them if they threaten other anti-government forces, but giving them a free hand when it comes to massacring Syrian soldiers – and in so doing, encouraging them to turn all their fire on the Syrian government.
In this sense, the strategy is to unite all the anti-government death squads, including the Islamic State group and al-Qaida, in an all-out war of destruction against the Syrian state. Despite appearances, this is the same war Cameron wanted in 2013; but it is now being conducted under the name of fighting the very terrorism it aims to facilitate.
Dan Glazebrook is a political writer who has written for RT, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, among others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published in October 2013. He is currently researching a book on U.S.-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
The original source of this article is telesur

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